companies on duty with the divisions will draw forage and rations from their divisions respectively.
* * *
By command of Major General S. G. French:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
April 17, 1863.
Lieutenant General JAMES LONGSTREET,
GENERAL: Your letter of the 13th has been received. I am glad that you are steadily progressing in your operations. I wish I could give you any aid, but I feel every confidence that you will do all that can be done.
I wrote to Richmond to ask assistance for you, from the Navy, if possible. I have had no reply. Should you know of any assistance which could be given you had better write direct to Richmond for it, and state that it is at my request.
The enemy's cavalry are again on our left. They presented themselves Tuesday evening at Kelly's Ford, Rappahannock Bridge, and Beverly's Ford in large force. Their attempts to cross the river have been so far repulsed. Stuart thinks the movement is intended to cover a change of base or some other operation of the grand army. Nothing, however, has been ascertained.
Yesterday three gunboats appeared in the Rappahannock below Port Royal, and are reported to be ascending the river. Their character, description, and intentions are not yet known.
I am, very respectfully, and truly yours,
R. E. LEE,
New Suffolk, Va., April 17, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 13th. I regret the necessity of sending troops from this department to South Carolina, and still think that we should have abundance of time for such re-enforcement after the enemy had really begun his attack. Wilmington is without a garrison, yet I think there is less need of one there than at any other point in the command. I think that it will not be attacked at all unless we shut up the troops there so that the enemy cannot get at us anywhere else. One regiment I think enough for its garrison, but have suggested to General Hill the propriety of sending two there.
From the reports in newspapers I fear that some anxiety may be felt for us at Suffolk. We have not fired again at the enemy's stronghold nor do I expect to do so. I am very well convinced that we could reduce it in two or three days, but doubt if we can afford to expend the powder and ball. To take it by assault would cost us 3,000 men. This would be less excusable than the other mode. There is but one other means-that of turning it. This cannot be done by the river in consequence of the gunboats in the river. On our right it could be done by