HEADQUARTERS SECOND CAVALRY BRIGADE,
Hartwood Church, August 13, 1863.
(Received 11 a. m.)
Commanding Cavalry Corps:
I send you a copy of the Richmond Examiner of yesterday. By the editorial and official orders, you will readily perceive the hopelessness with which they regard their prospects. This feeling pervades their entire army. I learn this from two deserters who have just come in. They belong to the First Texas Infantry, Hood's division, Longstreet's corps. Their division is on picket from United States Ford to Fredericksburg. Pickett's division is on the left of Hood's division, and A. P. Hill's corps is on the left of Pickett. One week ago one of the deserters saw a portion if not all of Ewell's ammunition train crossing the Rapidan at the railroad bridge (from Culpeper), going south.
The rebel army is being re-enforced considerably by convalescents, but no conscripts have arrived. Desertions are frequent. Many more than do would desert was our army closer to them. Four more belonging to the company with those taken to-day wished to come over, but were afraid they could not "make the trip. " They can tell nothing of their cavalry, except that they were told that 500 cavalry and a battery had crossed near Falmouth, and gone to a point on the Potomac about 20 miles below the mouth of the Potomac. Creek, where they intended establishing a battery to annoy our boats on the Potomac. If this report proves to be true, I would like to go down the Neck with my command and drive them out or capture them.
The deserters report the rebel army as very much dispirited, and that it is the belief among the privates that Lee's army will fight us on the Peninsula (not news).
My patrols intercepted and captured the carrier of some letters from the South Branch of the Rappahannock. One of the letters was from the adjutant-general of General Garnett's command, which is now stationed at Orange Court House. The letter was to a young lady on this side the river. Among other things the writer said he could not see her until after the next grand battle was fought, which would be soon, and which battle would be the last of the war and would produce peace. He also informed his correspondent that the war would soon close, "or, to use the words of the privates, it is about played out. " This is his own language. Comparing the intelligence which I have received from three sources (Richmond paper, deserters, and this officer's letter), I find it is of one character, which fact adds to its reliability.
All quiet along my line to-day. Citizens whom I arrested several days ago and forwarded to the headquarters Cavalry Corps, have been paroled and returned to their homes. They regard their paroles no more than they do so much blank paper, and are as able to injure us by bushwhacking, &c., as they were before if, not more so. They are bolder and more defiant. They come into my camp among the men and boast of their paroles, and say they are for the Confederate Government, but will wait and see who comes off victor. Complaints have been made to me, and in some cases arrests have been made, but I am powerless to act in consequence of their paroles from the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac. I can suppress