War of the Rebellion: Serial 028 Page 0723 Chapter XXXI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., ENGINEER BUREAY,

Richmond, Va., November 17, 1862.

Major JASPER S. WHITING,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

An engineer officer, with a working of negroes, will be sent with the least possible delay to put the wagon road from Gordonsville to Richmond in a state of good repair. An engineer office can be assigned to direct the breaking up of the Fredericksburg Railroad form Fredericksburg to Hanover Junction when this is decided upon; but the working force should be supplied by details of troops.

I return herewith General Lee's letter to Secretary of War of 14th instant.

J. F. GILMER,

Colonel and Chief of Engineers.

ADJUTANT AND INSPECTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE,

Richmond, November 17, 1862.

General R. E. LEE,

Commanding Department of Northern Virginia:

GENERAL: Your letter of 14th instant, received this morning, was at once submitted to the President, who returned answer:

General LEE:

Better to make the needful preparation to expedite the destruction of railroads when necessary. Concur in reluctance stated. See Colonel Gilmer for answer abut wagon road.

Colonel Gilmer will have an engineer officer, with a working force of negroes, sent, with the least possible delay, to repair the wagon road from Gordonsville to Richmond. He also reports that he can supply an engineer officer to direct breaking up the railroad form Fredericksburg to Hanover Junction when this course is decided upon, but that the working force should be supplied by detail of troops.

I take this occasion to mention to you that General Randolph has resigned his position of Secretary of War, and that Major-General Smith has assumed the position temporarily.

I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General.