them, as supplies of all kinds are, as I am informed by all deserters and refugees, getting very scarce in Richmond.
I shall report the results of the first movement.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. FOSTER,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
November 2, 1863-noon.
(Received 1 a. m, 3rd.)
The railroad to Warrenton Junction, though announced as completed on the 30th ultimo, was not in working order till last night. This has caused a delay in the receipt of supplies.
No material change in the position of the enemy has been reported since my last dispatch, excepting that the forces opposite Freeman's Ford are reported as decreased, and the pickets on my extreme right strengthened. A contraband, who came into our lines yesterday, avers leaving Richmond on the 23rd ultimo, and that on the train with him to Culpeper Court-House there came 4,000 troops. The fact, if true, that Lee is receiving re-enforcements, together with other indications already reported, such as moving of camps, strengthening of pickets, &c., would induce the supposition that perhaps he may again advance. From the best judgment I can form, his army is massed between the Rappahannock and Culpeper, prepared to dispute the passage of the river, either at the railroad crossing, or on his immediate right flank by Kelly's Ford, or his left by Sulphur Springs, or any of the intermediate crossings.
I therefore do not think I could, with any probability of success, advance against him in either of the above directions. There remains, then, a flank movement by a decided detour either to his left, by way of Amissville and Sperryville, threatening his communications by Culpeper or beyond, or a similar movement to his right, attempting to seize in advance the heights of Fredericksburg and opening communication with Aquia Creek. To the movement on his left there is the objection that I must either abandon my own communications or else weaken myself by the necessary force to protect them; also that the country over which I would have to operate is broken and rought, deficient in roads, and those existing of such a character that a storm of rain or snow, likely to occur at this season, would paralyze all movements. After maturely weighment by his right, throwing the whole army rapidly and secretly across the Rappahannock at Banks' Ford and Fredericksburg, and taking position on the heights beyond the town.
The success of this movement will depend on its celerity, and its being kept from the enemy. From my latest information, he had no force below the junction of the two rivers. My present position, and repairing the railroad, has doubtless induced him to believe I shall adhere to this line, and if my movement can be started before he is apprised of it, I have every reason to believe it will be successful, so far as effecting a lodgment on the heights in advance of him; and if he follows and gives me battle, my object will be accomplished. I