such wanton acts of barbarity, in violation alike of the usages of civilized warfare and the ordinary dictates of humanity. I communicate this information to you in order that you may institute such investigation as you may think proper, and visit upon the offenders the punishment they deserve. If, however, I am mistaken, and these acts were committed by your authority, I have to ask that you will so inform me, that I may know whether the existing war is to be carried on in this section of country in accordance with, or in disregard of, the usages of civilized warfare.
I respectfully ask an early answer to this communication.
LOWER FAUQUIER, January 16, 1863.
Colonel WILLIAM C. WICKHAM,
Commanding Fourth Virginia Cavalry,&c.:
COLONEL: There is nothing that leads me to believe that the Yankee Army of the Potomac has been materially diminished. Some troops have been going off, but others have been coming in. Indeed, prisoners &c., report that the army has been increased, and I know of some troops, myself, coming down to this army. The enemy's picket lines have not been changed. He has built a railroad from about Brooke's Station down toward Port Royal, which does not look as if he intended leaving that section.
Sigel's corps has moved farther back, toward Dumfries. It is almost an impossibility to get into the Yankee lines now, his pickets are so close. They are very particular in not permitting citizens to go in or to come out, and for this reason I cannot find out as much as I did when I first came over, for then I went into their lines, and they permitted citizens to pass in and out.
We captured yesterday two Yankee cavalrymen (First Rhode Island). They said they had orders out whether we were using this Orange and Alexandria Railroad. They did not find out. They reported their army as being heavily re-enforced. I don't put much reliance in their say so; through, from many reasons, I don't believe the enemy is abandoning the line of the Rappahannock.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. S.-Please send at once to General Stuart. He has written to me on enemy's position.
HDQRS. ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
January 16, 1863.
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VIII. Brigadier General F. T. Nicholls is assigned to the command of the Louisiana Brigade, at present commanded by Colonel Pendleton. He will report for duty to Lieutenant General T. J. Jackson.
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By command of General R. E. Lee:
[W. H. TAYLOR,]