without the means of so doing, the less of the two evils will probably be to incorporate them with the regiments in the field.
The arrangements you have made, and orders given in reference to the troops on the Rappahannock, will insure, I think, information of the movements of the enemy in that quarter. From our cavalry secret scouts, everything is quiet in that region, nor is there any indication of the embarkation of troops from Alexandria. The enemy's pickets are limited to Cub Run, and ours extend along Bull run. General Walker's division is posted near Upperville, east of the Blue Ridge, and will tend, I think, to repress the incursions of the enemy in that direction. Everything is quiet in our front.
Is General French certain of the information he receives in reference to the force of the enemy at Suffolk and in North Carolina? If not, cannot means be devised to ascertain the truth? I think it very probable that the enemy is sending his recruits to camps of instruction at the South, taking the benefit of their moral weight, and preparing for future operations. General McClellan does not seem disposed, as yet, to move any portion of his army from this frontier, and, so long as this army retains its present position, I doubt whether he will materially diminish it. I think, though, that when he opens the campaign, it will be south of James River, and we ought to be prepared.
I will make arrangements for the reception of the paroled prisoners and their distribution among their respective regiments.
I was very much pleased to see the effect produced by General Rains with his two guns upon the enemy's vessels near Fort Caswell. The two Whitworth guns now here would be very advantageous on the river in certain emergencies, and I think for the present must remain.
If I send the First Virginia Regiment to Richmond, where it was originally raised (but now has very few for duty in the field), could you fill it up with conscripts?
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, October 24, 1862.
Hon. GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War:
SIR: Brigadier General W. H. C. Whiting has returned from leave of absence. In the present organization of the troops, his brigade forms part of the division under General Hood. The brigade formerly commanded by General Hood has always been united to Whiting's brigade, who, as senior, commanded the two, and I think it would be impolitic to separate them. In fact, on many accounts, I think it better that General Whiting's sphere of action should now be changed. I consider him an officer of great ability, an engineer of experience, and conversant with the power of artillery. His services in the defense of Charleston, Savannah, or Mobile in the coming winter will be of far more value, in my opinion, than with troops in the field. I recommend, therefore, that he be relieved from the command of his brigade, in this army, and assigned to one under General Beauregard at Charleston or Savannah, or at Mobile.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,