EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., January 22, 1863.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding, &c., Fredericksburg, Va.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of yours of the 19th, covering correspondence with General Halleck,* and am pleased at the manner in which you presented the matter which had been submitted to you in connection with the atrocities of milroy. If General Halleck should fulfill his promise, information recently received here doest not permit me to doubt that he will have no opportunity to escape on the ground that Milroy has not executed his barbarous threats.
Yours of the 21st has also been received, and, after reading it my opinion is that you would not be justified at this time in making further detachments from your command. Should the enemy succeed in crossing the river, either above or below the long line occupied by yon, at the same time holding a strong reserve opposite to Fredericksburg, it would make your retrograde movement, for the purpose of attacking the force he had thrown over, hazardous, by all the difficulties which would attend the exposure both of your flank and rear. The rain which is now falling must render the roads in that region impracticable for heavy artillery, and it may be that the movements which are observed are only changes of position for the establishment of winter cantonments.
We have nothing from North Carolina to develop the purpose the enemy there, and it may well be that late storms have interfered with his programma, if it all tended to an attack upon Wilmington.
Intelligence from Tennessee is still successful against the enemy's shipping.
As ever, your friend,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
January 22, 1863.
Colonel H. B. DAVIDSON,
Commanding at Staunton, Va.:
COLONEL: From present appearances, I inclined to believe that General Burnside is concentrating all the forces within his reach within his reach, with a view of advancing south of the Rappahannock. The troops in the vicinity of Alexandria, presumed to be General Slocum's command, with long train of wagons, are all reported to be marching in the direction of Dumfries or Fredericksburg. General Milroy is reported to have abandoned Moorefield, and to have advanced a portion of his troops to Front Royal. It name be his intention to cross the Blue Ridge, and unite with General Burnside. In that event, I have directed General W. E. Jones to throw his force east of the mountains, and unite with this army. Should there be nothing to detain the troops under your command, and those under Colonel Imboden, at Staunton, I desire that you will join General Jones with all your available forces, should you be called on. In the mean time make all preparations for your march, should it be come necessary. Please let me know your available strength.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. Lee,
* See Lee Halleck, January 10, and halleck's reply, January 14, 1863, Series III.