Assembled here, the regiments can be supplied with forage, and in every way refitted and put in serviceable condition for future service, and thus have advantages which have already been extended to the other commands of the Cavalry Corps.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
D. McM. GREGG,
Brigadier General Vols., Commanding Third Division Cavalry Corps.
HDQRS. DEFENSES SOUTH OF POTOMAC,
Numbers 1. Arlington, May 25, 1863.
In compliance with others received from headquarters Department of Washington, the undersigned hereby assumes command of the Defenses of Washington South of the Potomac.
G. A. DE RUSSY,
WINCHESTER, VA., May 26, 1863.
Honorable E. M. STANTON.
SIR: Allow me to present you with my views of the state of affairs in the Valley of Virginia.
This Valley cannot be held unless General Milroy is re-enforced by 20,000 men. He ought to have 15,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry. With that force he could advance up the Valley to New Market, where he should make his headquarters. From New Market he could throw part of his force into Page Valley, and occupy Luray.
The Valley at New Market from mountain to mountain is a narrow passage, and easily guarded against surprise. Luray, the county seat of Page County, is a point which ought by all means to be held, because the Valley is narrow and easily defended.
By holding New Market, you hold Brock's Gap, the passage though the mountains to Moorefield. By holding Luray, you hold the passage through Thornton's Gap. If attacked at New Market by the rebels, you can easily fall back by a good road to Luray. I forced to leave Luray, you could retreat down to Front Royal, and from Front Royal to Berryville, and from Berryville to Harper's Ferry, or else you could retreat from Luray to Sperryville, from Sperryville to Little Washington, from Washington to Sandy Hook, from Sandy Hook to Piedmont, from Piedmont to Thoroughfare Gap, from Thoroghfare Gap to Balckburn's Ford, from Blackburn's Ford to Fairfax Court-House, or else you could retreat from Luray to Sperryville, from Sperryville to Warenton Springs, from Warrenton follow the Warrenton and Alexandria Railroad.
By giving General Milroy 20,000 men, infantry, cavalry, and artillery, he will hold the Valley against the enemy, protect the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and deprive the rebels of the coming crop. Your cavalry force will need no hay' they can get pasturage and hay in the Valley. All they will need will be oats and corn, and that can easily be hauled from Martinsburg. By having this force stationed at New Market and Luray, under General Milroy, his cavalry force can scour the Valley from New Market to Staunton, break up the post at that place, and penetrate as far as Lexington, in Rockbirdge County. The same cavalry will prevent the rebs from getting their supplies from Greenbrier, Monroe, Highland, and Bath Counties. In one week your cavalry can scout the country from New Market to Stauton and Lex-