HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
July 11, 1863.
Major General J. E. B. STUART,
Commanding, & c.:
GENERAL: General Lee desires me to acknowledge your letter of this evening. He desires you to keep in Longstreet`s front as long as possible, awaiting the developments of the enemy, and, if forced back, to take position on the left of the army.
Uniting with you in earnest hopes of a great victory, and new luster to our arms, I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. S. VENABLE,
Major, and Aide-de-Camp.
SALT SUPLHUR SPRINGS, VA.,
July 11, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: On the 9th instant, I received a dispatch from Colonel McCausland, commanding near Raleigh Court-House, informing me that the enemy at Fayetteville had been re-enforced; that the had captured their mail, and he apprehended that he would soon be attacked and asked for re-enforcements. The only troops I could have sent him were those I had ordered, under instructions from you, to go to the Valley, and I did not think the extent of the re-enforcements he then mentioned the enemy had received sufficient to excite serious apprehension for the safety of the position held by McCausland. About 5 o`clock this morning, however, I received another dispatch from him informing me that the enemy`s troops in the kanawha Valley had been concentrated at Fayetteville to attack and drive him off; that they had seven regiments of infantry, two regiments of cavalry, and two batteries of artillery, while he had but two regiments of infantry, four companies of cavalry, and two batteries, and he urges me to send him re-enforcements. I have, therefore, reluctantly stopped the movement of the 2, 000 infantry from Lewisburg to Winchester, that I might be able to re-enforce Colonel McCausland.
The position he holds i regard as very important, and if my force there were driven away and overwhelmed the way to the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad would be entirely open to the enemy, and this section of country would have to be temporarily abandoned.
Under all the circumstances, therefore, I thought it my duty to delay, at least, the movement to Winchester, and telegraphed you this morning that I had done so. I felt the less hesitation i doing so, because, before your ordered away any portion of my troops, the President asked me if any could be spared, and I presume it was on my reply that the order was given, circumstances having so materially changed since I wrote to the President that I could not doubt the propriety of acting according to the dictates of my own judgment, under the altered condition of affairs.
Colonel Wharton was to have started, and I presume did start, from Dublin yesterday evening, with 1, 100 infantry by railroad per Lynchburg to Staunton. From thence he will move without unneces-