can effect by operating against the communications of the enemy. He has as yet given no indications of his further movement or direction southward. Whether he will cross the Rapahannock or proceed to Fredericksburg I cannot tell. It is easier for you to determine what damage you can inflict upon him where you are. If you can accomplish nothing but to retain occupation of the valley, in the apparent and probable need of all our forces southward, the force under you is too far from the scene of action. If an advance toward Fredericksburg is discovered, it is plain that you cannot delay longer, and you must be prepared to move at any time. Make your arrangements accordingly, and be prepared to move at any moment. General Stuart has been directed to watch the enemy closely, but you know the difficulty of determining the first movements. You may learn more from the rear than we can in front. It would be grievous for the valley and its supplies to fall into the hands of the enemy unnecessarily, but we can only act upon probabilities and endeavor to avoid greater evils.
Colonel Davidson, at Staunton, telegraphs that the enemy is within 35 miles of that place - one column at McDowell and one at Rawley Springs; the two columns estimated at from 4,000 to 6,000 men. He asks for re-enforcement. I have none to send him. Have you a disposable force? The Marylanders, if unable to remain at Winchester, might be stationed there.
I am, &c.,
R. E. LEE,
Richmond, Va., November 12, 1862.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding Army, Culpeper Court-House, Va.:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 10th is received. The two Mississippi regiments have arrived. The North Carolina regiments were started upon such short notice that there was not time to relieved the two detached companies, and directions were given to retain them until details to relieve them on detaches service could be furnished from the Mississippi regiments. In the mean time small-pox has broken out in one of the companies, and I think it best not to send it until the medical officers consider it safe to do so. The order company will be forwarded.
In my letter of the 9th instant I stated:
His (General French's) instructions are to protect Weldon, Petersburg, and the railroad. I think he can do this at present with the force he has; but as a portion of this force must be sent to Wilmington in a few days ---.
I have now to inform you that the Secretary of War has directed me to send four regiments to Wilmington at once. I gave the order yesterday by telegraph.
I wrote to the Secretary this morning, at your request, in regard to the importance of filling up the regiments of Evans' brigade with conscripts from South Carolina and increasing the North Carolina regiments. He told me that it should be attended to at once.
Brigadier-General Pryor reported to me for duty this morning. The Secretary of War requests that the First and Sixty-first Virginia Regiments be ordered here as soon as practicable, with a view to sending them to Petersburg and placing them under command of General Pryor as a nucleus of a new brigade. I told him of your reply to me in regard to