upon them, cut them up, and captured 200 prisoners, with their arms, equipments, &c.
General Hooker's army has received large re-enforcements. I understand that all able-bodied men on detached service have been returned to it, and a great many convalescents, absentees, &c. With the $900,000,000 and the 3,000,000 of men placed by the Federal Congress at the command of President Lincoln, it will require every exertion on our part to keep the field.
I am, your most obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA, Dublin, February 28, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: Your letter of the 13th instant was received at my headquarters during my absence in Richmond.
In a personal interview with you, we conferred fully on the subject-matter of the letter, but I think it better to reply in writing to the suggestions you make and on which you have done me the honor to ask my opinion.
The cavalry in the department is under the immediate command of Brigadier-General Jenkins; that in the Department of East Tennessee, to which I understand you to refer, is commanded by Brigadier-General Marshall; Brigadier-General Williams, who is suggested as the commander of the whole, is junior to Marshall and senior to Jenkins. The personal relations between Marshall and Williams are not friendly. What effect it would have on Marshall's men to take them from him and give them to Williams I do not know, but think it more than probable it would produce dissatisfaction and discord. Jenkins would naturally feel greatly mortified if his brigade were placed under Williams, now commanding an infantry brigade, and his men would share the feeling. These considerations cannot, I think, be overlooked with safety in the organization of a mixed command of troops, composed and organized as ours are. The command, organized and commanded as has been suggested to you, would start on the expedition containing within itself elements of discontent and discord, which would, I think, greatly impair its usefulness, and perhaps render it abortive.
If the suggested expedition into Kentucky is designed simply as a raid to procure supplies, I think that object may be attained without combining the forces, provided the people of Kentucky, or any large portion of them, are disposed to aid us-not in arms, but simply by assisting us to collect subsistence stores and driving beef and stock cattle and hogs into East Tennessee and Southwestern Virginia.
I am informed that Brigadier-General [John] Pegram is in position to enter Kentucky at some point west of Cumberland Gap, at the head of about 2,000 cavalry. Brigadier-General Marshall has, I am told, about the same number of cavalry. He could enter Kentucky by Pound Gap, and operate north of the Kentucky River, down the valley of the Licking. Two thousand cavalry I think quite as many as it would be judicious to send under one commander on a raid into a mountainous country, where no arrangements had previously been made for collecting forage and rations at suitable points.
If I can procure corn enough to take my cavalry to the lower valley