HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, Via Winchester, Va., October 15, 1862.
Hon. GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War:
Loring must protect Kanawha Valley. He must take position as he may think best to operate for this purpose.
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, Near Winchester, Va., October 15, 1862.
Major General W. W. LORING,
Department of Western Virginia:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 8th instant has just been received. Your letter of the 6th, to which you refer, has not come to hand. I am, therefore, ignorant of the plan you propose to pursue, and can give no advice. I do not think the enemy is able to send strong re-enforcements into Western Virginia. From what I learn, I am inclined to believe that Major-General Box, with four brigades, has been detached from General McClellan's army to Western Virginia, but no more. If you can retain possession of the salt works at Charleston, and keep the enemy out that country, I think it probable the best service your army can perform; but I shall have to leave the matter to your better judgment. The season is now so far advanced that I doubt whether an expedition into Western Pennsylvania, which I once proposed to you, can be now advantageously undertaken; but this I must also defer to your judgment.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
RICHMOND, VA., October 15, 1862.
Dublin Depot, W. Va.:
You will turn over your command, together with the orders and instructions heretofore communicated to you, to General Echols, after which you will, with the least delay practicable, report in person to this office.
Adjutant and Inspector General.
WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, Va., October 15, 1862.
Brigadier General JOHN ECHOLS,
Via Dublin Depot, W. Va.:
You will assume the command of the forces lately commanded by General Loring, who has been directed to turn over to you his command and his orders and instructions. You will march the forces back into the Kanawha Valley, and make its defense your first object. Should circumstances allow you to carry out the instructions sent from the Department to General Loring, and to season be not too far advanced for the operations therein indicated, you will execute those instructions.