morning, with two regiments (1,200 strong in all) and a battery of artillery, which will make his force in addition to his infantry, six companies of cavalry and nine pieces of artillery, among hem four Napoleons.
The first report from Colonel Hinton was that there were 10,000 men. The next was in the same spirit, calling for re-enforcements; now it appears that the does not think it so formidable. The infantry under his command-State troops-it seems were scatterer over the country upon the appearance of the enemy, and were not collected; fact is, they are not to be depended on, and I will send some competent officers there.
In meantime I keep Barton's brigade at this point, ready to re-enforce if necessary, or to be brought back to Petersburg, should this only be a feint.
The expedition under General Ransom will return within a week, and if successful in driving off the gunboats, I very much desire that torpedoes may be furnished atonce, so as to obstruct the river below Winton. Otherwise, shold they make it a base of operations, it will lose us a very valuable country for supplies, and will compel us to keep constantly a strong force at this point. We cannot occupy it with our present limited numbers. It will be necessary, of course, to keep some good cavalry and artillery in that neighborhood.
I return to Petersburg to-day if no more important developments are made.
I sent down to Ivor, to Colonel Herbert, before coming here, to move a body of cavalry, infantry, and battery of artillery toward Suffolk, to-night or as soon as possible. I could not uncover the line of the Blackwater by sending troops to the right, and I deemed it best to make a small demonstration myself to the front in that direction.
I forward this letter by Captain Baird, assistant quartermaster.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. E. PICKETT,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
November 10, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: I beg leave to urge upon your attention the fact that many of our men in this army are still barefooted, and the wheather has become very cold. The shoes received a short time since relieved much hardship and added much to the efficiency of the army, but it is a matter of great importance to the comfort and health of the men that they should all be well shod and clothed in such weather as we may expect now for some months. Another subject gives me great anxiety also. Corn for our animals comes in very slowly, and I fear that unless the amount can be very much increased, we shall lose many horses and mules this winter. I would beg you, therefore, to urge on the officers who have charge of this matter to use great diligence and activity in bringing forward the corn from the south and elsewhere.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,