his troops; and as our sharpshooters would not be wanted in action until he began to cross his troops,they could keep the shelter close under the traverses. I did not observe the field with view when I was on it, and may be mistaken in my idea the enemy where he attempts to cross would also be under the shells of his battery that he might place on the right flank of your line of rifle trenches.
General Chilton has just sent me a note in reference to the movement of the brigades. Up to the time the general for Richmond, nothing satisfactory was received from North Carolina. Since he left I have not heard a word, except such as I pick up from the newspapers.
I am almost convinced that the enemy will not make another efforts against our line before spring. The relative condition of the two armies would not warrant any such effort on his part. Our line is stronger now than it was when he advanced before. Even with the two brigades that I have sent off and your two gone, we shall be much stronger, in position, than we were before. He cannot be as strong in numbers, and he must be exceedingly weak in morale. I shall send a brigade to the United States Ford to-morrow. With that, strengthened by earthworks, I think that we will be secure against attack. Entertaining these views, I feel that I should have the brigades put in march to meet any demand that may for their series. I desire, therefore, that you put them in march early
to-morrow morning for Hanover Junction, where they will take railroad transportation. In drawing them off, please endeavor to have it done in such a way as to avoid discovery, and, if practicable, extend your other troops so as to cover the same ground that you now do. If any other important demonstration should, be made, the operation of this order will be postponed.
I will write the general now, and tell him of the orders, and ask him to telegraph me if the service of the troops are of in demand immediately.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, January 19, 1863.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
Mr. PRESIDENT: I go down this morning to examine the preparations which the enemy seem to be making on the banks of the Rappahannock. I understand that a redoubt has been built on the hill overlooking the river, where their causeway has been constructed. Since my arrival, I have learned nothing more of the designs of the enemy than what had been previously received, except the inclosed notes from two of our scouts, on their right and left flank. Everything combined seems to indicate a movement, and I believe that their army, instead of being diminished by detachments to North Carolina, has been re-enforced since the battle of the 13th December. I therefore have suspended the march of the brigades ordered to North Carolina, until I can ascertained something more difficulty. If, in your opinion, the necessity there is more urgent than here, I will dispatch them immediately; they are ready for the march. I have directed the chief quartermaster of this army to take 50 wagons belonging to its transportation, and apply them exclusively to convey the wheat that may be purchased by the agents of the