of would on the road, and its present condition, with a communication from Mr. [E.] Fontaine, president of the road, upon the same subject. I am convinced that a portion of the levy of negroes called for to work on the fortifications can be much more beneficially employed on this road, to prevent it from falling us at a time when we shall most ed it. I therefore earnestly recommend that 100 of the levy about to be called for from Albemarle and the adjacent counties be allowed, with the consent of their masters, to work sixty days on the railroad instead of on the fortifications. The necessities of the road are immediate, and I see no other way of supplying them.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
March 26, 1863.
Brigadier General N. G. EVANS,
GENERAL: I have received your letter of the 23rd instant, asking that your brigade may be transferred to South Carolina. I cannot tell whether your brigade can be spared from the department in which it is now, nor are there any remarks of the officer commanding it, on your letter, to enlighten me. While the enemy withholds his attack, the troops are, I presume, held at points convenient for concentration at the point they may attempt. Should your troops be needed at Charleston or Savannah, they will no doubt be ordered there at the proper moment. Meantime I had hoped that your proximity to South Carolina had enable you to fill up your regiments.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
Fredericksburg, March 26, 1863.
General W. E. JONES,
Commanding Valley District, Lacey Spring:
GENERAL: I have received your letter of the 20th. I regret the necessity of dividing your command. I hope you will urge constant watchfulness on the part of your officers and men, to prevent surprises. Forage for your horses, however, must be obtained, and everything done to maintain their condition. I know this will elicit your earnest attention.
The continuous bad weather, swollen streams, &c., has prevented the proposed expedition into the Valley from the east. This I very much regret, as I desired it to be preliminary to that weset of the Alleghany. It is nearly time for the latter to be executed, and as soon as the roads and mountain streams permit, it should move.
No period has occurred since the commencement of the war so favorable, in my opinion, for dealing a blow against the enemy's possession of the northwest as now. The paucity of their numbers and the disaffection of our citizens combine in our favor, and if the movement can be made unexpectedly and simultaneously, it must be successful, if rapidly and boldly executed. Their active force, as far as I can learn, distributed from New Creek to the Kanawha, except the garrisons at