command, and Colonels [Thomas] Poage's and McMahon's regiments, of
General Echol's brigade, to proceed to Richmond as soon as transportation can be provided. Trigg's regiment is at Wytheville, and transportation for it passed up this morning. I telegraphed you this morning, suggesting that you designate a brigadier-general to command the four regiments and battalion temporarily detached from this department. If the senior colonel is allowed to command the whole, it will, I believe, produce much dissatisfaction.
My information as to the strength and position of the enemy in the Kanawha Valley and Northwestern Virginia is not sufficiently definite and reliable to enable me to judge with any degree of certainty of their probable plan of operations for the winter. If the information I have is correct, I do not anticipate a movement in force in this direction. Under that impression, and fully appreciating the importance of the object for which you wish
re-enforcements, I have not hesitated to send forward the troops I have mentioned. I understand from your letter that I am an to regard them as only temporarily detached. The withdrawal of these troops, the condition of General Jenkin's cavalry, and the impracticable of providing forage in Greenbrier for the horses, will probably compel me to withdraw all troops from that country. I have directed General Jenkins to send his horses to the rear, where they can be foraged during the winter, sending a sufficient detail to guard and take care of the horses, and to instruct and discipline the men on foot. I propose to put one of his regiments in Roanoke County, near Salem, where I am informed forage can be procured, and the position is a suitable one from which to repel any raid that may be attempted on Buchanan.
The presence in this department of the troops of the State Line, as and independent command, is embarrassing, and, I think, injurious. The agents of the State Line are paying much higher prices for supplies than the Confederate agents are permitted to pay for the same articles. To procure corn at the prices now allowed, I shall probably be obliged to impress it, which is very objectionable if it can be avoided. The Confederate and State officers both complain that their men desert from one service to the other, and I have no doubt their complaints are equally true. These are only a few of the minor evils of the presence of two distinct commands within the same department. I will, however, studiously avoid any difficulty with the Stat Line. It is to be hoped that the State Legislature will, at its next session, make some arrangement by which the State troops my transferred to the Confederate service.
I am much obliged for your kindness in telegraphing me the new from General Lee's army.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS, December 16, 1862.
Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON:
As far as can be ascertained this stormy morning, the enemy had disappeared in our immediate front, and has recrossed the Rappahannock. I presume he is mediating a passage at some other point.
R. E. LEE.