of General Ramseur`s brigade (the name of which, by the way, was converted by the telegraph operator, not by me, into Ransom`s), and have transmitted it to the Governor, with one from myself, commending your wishes to his favorable consideration.
I have also directed an order from the conscript bureau to the commandant of the conscript post at Raleigh, directing the assignment of conscripts to that gallant brigade until its numbers were brought, at least, to an average with the other North Carolina brigades. These steps will, I hope, enable you, while retaining your tried veterans of that brigade, so to recruit its numbers as to give it a respectable average, and bring new recruits under the inspiring influence of its valor and discipline.
You will have heard of the disastrous raids of the enemy in Middlesex, King and Queen, and King William. Parties of their cavalry have passed through those counties, burning mills and barns, plundering and destroying, especially provisions and agricultural implements, and stealing slaves, horses, mules, and cattle. They avow, unblushingly, I am credibly informed, the infamous purpose to destroy means of production and subsistence, and either destroy or drive out the whole faithful population, including women, children, and the men, helpless, aged, and infirm. Such an atrocious system of warfare has never been practiced by any people professing civilization and Christianity, and must awaken the abhorrence of Christendom, as it has aroused among our people glowing indignation and thirst for vengeance.
The enemy, it seems, have quitted West Point altogether, it having been visited by several of our officers and found deserted, and have probably withdrawn most of their forces from Yorktown and Gloucester Point, but have left at the latter places small detachments, including Kilpatrick`s regiment of cavalry, and these are engaged in making destructive forays on the defenseless counties around. We have no adequate force, especially of cavalry, to afford them defense. In this last raid into King William, General Pickett`s division was on one side (north of the Mattapony) and General Wise south and east, and I had sanguine hope the enemy would be entrapped and dealt with as they deserved, but, owing to some misapprehension or mistaken orders, they eluded the latter general and escaped. It is much to be feared that, emboldened by impunity in these raids, they may extend them, with a view to cutting off your communication, by destroying the bridges or railroad track at the Annas or between the Junction and Fredericksburg. I was much pleased to hear that General Pickett had left at least a small brigade at the Junction, for some force there, with at least small detachments at the Mattapony and Pole Cat Bridges, seems to be indispensable to render your communications tolerably secure. All the regiments of General Cooke`s brigade, excepting one, have arrived here, and I have requested General Elzey to direct at least one to the vicinity of Hanover Town, and the residue along the Meadow Bridge road, some miles from the city, so as to be ready to intercept any force coming up King William, or to lend a helping hand either to General Wise or the Forces at the Junction. General Wise will keep ward on the Peninsula and at White House, prepared to throw his force and some light guns across the Pamunkey. Still, the enemy may pass up on the north side of the Mattapony almost with impunity, and in that way reach the railroad and the bridges over the Mattapony and Pole Cat.