Colonel Corley on the subject of the artillery horses. As to the stragglers, you cannot do better than to carry out your proposition, sending out armed detachments to rid the country of this annoyance of stragglers, using the most stringent measures, punishing them as severely as you choose, handing them over to your men, to do your pleasure on them. I would prefer the four Parrott guns which you have here, provided with horses and ammunition, before sending for any more.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,
Charleston, W. Va., September 24, 1862.
Honorable GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: I had the honor to write you a letter on the 22nd instant, in relation to the remarks of the Governor of Virginia in his message in regard to my course toward the militia, which explained my whole action on that subject, and I trust is a complete answer to yours of the 17th instant, received to-day, and inclosing a letter of A. F. Robertson, inspector-general of Virginia State Line, to you, dated Wytheville, September 3. Having never departed from the action published in my two orders, copied in mine to you of the 22d, you will observe that the letter of Mr. Robertson is a tissue of misstatements throughout, and that my action has been based upon your authority.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. W. LORING,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
Camp on the Opequon, near Smoketown, September 24, 1862.
Major General GUSTAVUS W. SMITH,
Commanding, &c., Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: I have received your letter of the 19th instant,* and am much gratified with the arrangements you have instituted in and around Richmond. I hope there is an error in the report you received as to the number of arms and the other property scattered on the battle-field of Manassas. Detachments were set to work the day after the battle to collect and transport them to the rear, and a regiment of cavalry, under Colonel Flournoy, was left on the ground to guard and aid in the operations. He only joined his brigade yesterday near Charlestown. I have had no report from him, but, unless driven back, I hardly think he would have left his work undone; but if he has, I trust the arrangement you have made and the orders given to Colonel Chambliss will accomplish it.
I hope Colonel Davidson will be able to return to us our stragglers that are wandering up the valley, and if congress will take immediate measures by which they can be converted into soldiers our enemies may be kept at bay. I know that the President and Secretary of War will do all in their power to institute a better system, and I beg you to say to them there never was a more urgent necessity. I fear, for want of sufficient force to oppose the large army being collected by General McClellan, the benefits derived from the operations of the campaign will