and report in person to you for orders. I do this with the understanding that your expedition embraces that of Captain McNeill. If I am in error in this, I wish you would so inform me immediately.
I have heard nothing from General Lee in regard to the two regiments of his army which you had asked for, or in reply to my suggestion as to how he could replace those regiments by two others.
I hope you will get the troops you asked for, and that your expedition may be as successful as you anticipate.
Please inform me when you expect to start.
Very respectfully, &c.,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,
Dublin, March 20, 1863.
Brigadier General JOHN S. WILLIAMS,
Commanding, &c., Salt Sulphur Springs:
GENERAL: I have received your letter of yesterday, and am glad to hear the cheering news it conveys of affairs in Kentucky and the Kanawha Valley.
You say "if I will move you at once to Saltville," &c. I cannot just now withdraw any troops from Monroe and Greenbrier, but hope to be able to do so soon. In the meantime the Sixty-third Virginia Regiment has returned and is en route to Saltville, and I have directed Captain [W. W.] Baldwin to move his squadron near the same place as soon as his horses are shod.
I do not understand from your expression whether you suggest the movement of your brigade with you to Saltville. I do not like, without urgent necessity, to detach a brigadier-general temporarily from his brigade without his consent. If, however, you mean just what you say, that is, "if you [I] will move me [you] at once to Saltville, I will take Baldwin's squadron, go through Wise County, look after Major [James M.] French, then on to Piketon, to confer with [A. J.] May, and see what can be done in the way of raising recruits, if practicable, push the reconnaissance as far as the Ohio River," your proposition meets my entire approval, and you may make your arrangements accordingly, without further delay.
I shall be extremely glad to give you an opportunity of making a "demonstration on your native heath" as soon as it can be done.
Answer by return of courier. In haste.
I need not advise you that you should keep your proposed move secret.
Yours, very truly, &c.,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
March 21, 1863.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President of the Confederate States:
Mr. PRESIDENT: You will, I know, be gratified to learn by the inclosed dispatch* that the appointment you conferred a few days since
*See Mosby's report of affair at Herndon Station, Va., Part I, p. 66.