In Fauquier I am informed that intelligent militia officers estimate the number as exceeding 400, who can all readily be obtained now. I respectfully suggest that measures be taken at once to get these conscripts and those in the adjoining counties, as also in the valley, and would advise that they be taken to Richmond for future distribution, under the law. There are also in all these counties men who have left the service and gone home within the late lines of the enemy. These also, I respectfully suggest, should be apprehended as soon as possible. It can now readily be done by obtaining the assistance of the State authorities.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
Above complied with, September 9.
Inclosed copies of this letter to Lieutenant Colonel J. C. Shields and Governor Letcher. Inform Colonel Shields that I will have immediate and active exertions made to get the conscripts and deserters out of the counties evacuated by the enemy. Request Governor Letcher to call on the State officers to give us all the assistance in their power. A proclamation to that effect would produce a good effect.
G. W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS ALEXANDRIA AND LEESBURG ROAD,
Near Dranesville, September 3, 1862.
His Excellency President DAVIS,
MR. PRESIDENT: The present seems to be the most propitious time since the commencement of the war of the Confederate Army to enter Maryland. The two grand armies of the United States that have been operating in Virginia, though now united, are much weakened and demoralized. Their new levies, of which I understand 60,000 men have already been posted in Washington, are not yet organized, and will take some time to prepare for the field. If it is ever desired to give material aid to Maryland and afford her an opportunity of throwing off the oppression to which she is now subject, this would seem the most favorable.
After the enemy had disappeared from the vicinity of Fairfax Court-House, and taken the road to Alexandria, and Washington, I did not think it would be advantageous to follow him farther. I had no intention of attacking him in his fortifications, and am not prepared to invest them. If I possessed the necessary munitions, I should be unable to supply provisions for the troops. I therefore determined, while threatening the approaches to Washington, to draw the troops into Loudoun, where forage and some provisions can be obtained, menace their possession of the Shenandoah Valley, and, if found practicable to cross into Maryland. The purpose, if discovered will have the effect of carrying the enemy north of the Potomac, and, if prevented, will not result in much evil.
The army is not properly for an invasion of an enemy's territory. It lacks much of the material of war, is feeble in transportation, the animals being much reduced, and the men are poorly provided with clothes, and in thousands of instances are destitute of shoes. Still, we