a message, delivered by a staff officer, not alluding to a deficiency of transportation, which was the main difficulty.
General Lee has written a letter to the Inspector-General, dated November 18, for the information of the Commissary-General of Subsistence, in order that prompt measures might be taken to secure the supplies in the district herein referred to. This letter was refereed to me, and appropriately indorsed. It showed that General Lee had forgotten the information given tho him by an officer of this Bureau many months before, respecting those counties, and the application for aid in making them available. His information was conveyed as above, and meager and of no benefit, having been long before anticipated; but it showed his sense of the importance of getting all the supplies we could.
The careless destruction of horse-flesh since this war began, and the inevitable deficiency of transportation by wagons when active operation should be undertaken, had long been foreseen and commented on by this Bureau; therefore, the efforts to get teams and use every means to accumulate supplies at Richmond, for the necessity which is impending, were unintermitting. He teams been procurable in any other way, General Lee would not have been applied to. This Bureau will continue its efforts, but will accomplish but little, it is feared.
The Commissary-General hereby absolves himself from all responsibility attending this deficiency.
L. B. NORTHROP,
Commissary-General of Subsistence.
HEADQUARTERS, Camp near Fredericksburg, January 13, 1863.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President of the Confederate States, Richmond, Va.:
MR. PRESIDENT: I have had the honor to receive your dispatch of yesterday.
For several days past there have been general indications of some movement by the army of Burnside, but nothing sufficiently definite to designated true. Rumors are abundant, but whether it is intended to retire, advance, or transfer it elsewhere I cannot ascertain. I am pretty sure that the whole army is between Rappahannock and the Potomac. No considerable portion ought to have been able to leave without my knowing it. Re-enforcements of infantry and artillery have reached it from Washington. Wharves are still being constructed at Potomac Creek. The army has recently been more concentrated, its land communication with Alexandria more strongly guarded, and its right flank more extended toward the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. Cattle are being driven down on the Maryland side and crossed over on steamers to Aquia. No winter quarters are being erected, but the men are covering themselves, constructing chimneys to tents,&c.
There are a great many vessels of all sorts in the Potomac, but not more than enough to supply so large a force. It is said by their army than their transports were sent off with General Banks, and that there are not enough now to move it.
Citizens in Stafford and King George Counties are not allowed to leave their dwellings. Persons even going to mill are guarded.
You may have remarked that recent Northern papers are silent as to