he met Pope [Sigel] and took from him 1,200 prisoners. He is now in Maryland with 15,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry. The plan is that he shall seize Baltimore and hold it with his infantry while his cavalry proceeds to Point Lookout to liberate our prisoners there concentrated to the extent of near 30,000. In the meanwhile Captain Wood, of the Navy, proceeds from Wilmington with five gun-boats and 20,000 stand of arms for the same point by water. If successful in thus liberating and arming our imprisoned soldiers Washington will be assaulted and no doubt carried. This I regard as decidedly the most brilliant idea of the war. Grant has lost in front of Petersburg in killed and wounded not less than 15,000, and now the malarious diseases of the climate begin to tell upon him fearfully.
One hundred thousand is not an exaggerated estimate of the numbers we have killed and wounded and captured from him since he moved on the Rapidan. Twenty thousand will very nearly, if not quite, cover our losses in the same particulars. But the North is putting forth every effort to keep up his army to the highest maximum. Even the Nineteenth Army Corps from Louisiana arrived only a few days ago and 100-days' men pour in to make up all deficiencies. We cannot afford the loss just now necessary to drive him from his position, and therefore it is impossible to say how long he will remain. All things taken together, our mere military status is good, but how my heart sinks within me at the inevitable suffering of our people through actual want and starvation, and from which the army itself cannot altogether escape. This I fear more than the muskets and cannon of the enemy. Our situation in Georgia under Johnston is similar to that here, but he is nearer provisions and is in less danger from starvation. Flour here is now commanding in market &400 per barrel and everything else in proportion. Many in and out of Richmond must starve to death this coming winter. On the other hand, a crushing financial crash is coming upon the North which may lead there to counter-revolution.
I had hoped before now to have heard from you direct, but have received nothing but your kind messages by Colonel Snead. I propose to return to you, however, if I can people now are very poor, as none of them are speculators or dealers in small wares, and all their estates have been devastated, and not a soul among them has any longer a home. I am particularly anxious to be with you, as I learn you are about to proceed to Missouri, and as I do not form my friendships and attachments save in judgment and then they are perpetual,
So I am, truly, yours,
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond, Va., July 10, 1864.
General R. E. LEE:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge your letter of the 9th instant, accompanying the transmission of the flags recently taken by General Mahone's command, and his report of the engagement and of the gallant captors of the flags. The whole affair was brilliant, reflecting the highest credit on the skill and judgment of the general and the dash and valor of his troops. The trophies are received with pride and satisfaction by the Department, and the names of the brave captors