HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,
Dublin, May 15 1863.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding, &c., Fredericksburg, Va.:
GENERAL: I received yesterday your letter of the 9th instant. One received at the same time from Brigadier-General Jenkins informed me that you had ordered him to collect his bridge at Staunton, or some other suitable point in the Valley, and that it was your intention to put him in command in the Valley, and send W. E. Jones' command east. Eight or ten [companies] of Jenkins' cavalry ought to be at Staunton now or farther to the east, as they had moved from Rockbridge and August several days since to join General Stuart, as ordered. Two companies of the Sixteenth Virginia Cavalry arrived here to-day, and will proceed on toward Staunton to-morrow. The remainder of that regiment was to have started from Jeffersonville, Tazewell County, yesterday for Staunton. The other part of his command will be some days later in reaching Staunton, as their horses wee sent to North and South Carolina to winter, and the grass has been so backward that I could not bring them to this part of the country sooner, having no forage for them.
One of his battalions (Dunn's) went with Imdoden, and, I hear, has been increased to a regiment in Northwestern Virginia. It shall go to the Valley as soon as Imboden has carried out the orders I have given him, and sooner, if you so desire. I telegraphed you yesterday on the subject.
Brigadier-General Jenkins is a bold and gallant soldier, but I do not think him a good administrative officer. I believe he is capable of becoming a fine officer in that respect, but unfortunately many of his men are has constituents, and he has been a politician, and, I believe, still has aspirations that way. I do not know enough of Brigadier General W. E. Jones to venture a comparison between him and Jenkins. The latter will, I think, prove quite as daring as you can desire, and that, I think, is a very desirable quality, especially in a cavalry officer.
You ask when you can get cavalry re-enforcements. I really do not know, general. I sent a battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Witcher's, to the Valley in the winter, and it is now with W. E. Jones, and when Jenkins goes with his brigade, I am afraid I will have sent you all I can. I shall be able to answer your question more correctly when I have full reports from Imboden. Colonel William L. Jackson has recently organized a regiment of cavalry, the Nineteenth Virginia, in my department. I sent him with Imboden. Before starting, he informed me he had three other cavalry companies, and hoped soon to fill up another regiment. I hope he has done so on this expedition. imboden informed me on the 3rd instant that he expected to bring out 1,500 horses. If he meant that many in addition to what Jones would probably bring out, it would contribute largely toward remounting a part of your cavalry. I am organizing another cavalry regiment at Saltville, and hope to have it ready for service soon. I head to-day that there is a cavalry company, 160 strong, now in Russell County, without orders, and doing nothing, and wants to come under my command. But that part of Virginia is, since January last, in the Department of East Tennessee, and I presume the company I mention is a part of Brigadier-General Marshall's late command, which is represented to me as very much scattered and disorganized. An active and energetic officer could do much good service in that section of country in re-collecting and organizing troops.
I have written too long a letter to be red by one so busy as you are.