you may better judge of his operations. It is impossible entirely to prevent very predatory expedition. I will write again to General Jones, and inclose the letter of Mr. Boteler.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS VALLEY DISTRICT, New Market, Va., January 26, 1863.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding Army of the Northern Virginia:
GENERAL: In reply to yours of the 21st instant, I feel I can compel General Milroy to quit Winchester, or bring a cavalry force superior to mine to his assistance. It can be done by cutting off his communications with Martinsburg, his base of operations.
Colonel [A. W.] Harman, with 800 men, was sent down the Page Valley on the 14th instant, and only missed meeting the enemy at Front Royal about twenty-four hours. He was delayed in starting two days by the weather, and it is believed the object of the enemy was only to meet him. He passed below Winchester to the Berryville pike, and it was hoped he would encounter detachments or destroy trains of wagons.
Scarcely anything was done. It was my intention to have sent a like force again, but a heavy fall of wet snow has delayed movement. There is no hay in the Lower Valley, and if our horses are worked hard on such forage as can be found there, I fear they will be exhausted before spring.
When the weather will permit, I promise to be active, and if the forces of the enemy now in the Valley indicate a movement across the Blue Ridge, your orders will be promptly executed.
News reached me to-day, through citizens, that all the Reserve Corps near Fairfax Court-House, excepting a mere guard for property, had moved toward the Lower Rappahannock.
A scout arrived here yesterday directly from Berlin, reporting that trains pass every half hour on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
My volunteer aide-de-camp arrived yesterday, reporting all quiet in Fauquier.
The scout brought the Baltimore American of the 21st instant. No news of importance, except a repulse of the gunboats from Port Hudson.
Nearly 2,000 men have gone from Winchester to Romney, according to information gained by my scouts from citizens. If this be true, and taken with the quiet along the east of the Blue Ridge, indications are against a move on the part of Milroy to your immediate front. If it still be your desire that Milroy should leave Winchester at even considerable sacrifice, it shall be so; but the town won cannot be held with cavalry, on account of forage. An attacking force capable of reaching the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad would inflict serious loss on the enemy.
From the best information I can get, there are 15,000 men from Cumberland to Harper's Ferry, including those at Romney and Winchester.
A lieutenant who deserted from the One hundred and tenth Ohio represents much dissatisfaction among the troops on account of the emancipation proclamation. He represents many would follow his example if