the command of the cavalry. General Butler, he thinks, is best qualified to command his division; as he does so now by right of seniority I have recommended no change. The forces opposed to General Early consist of the Sixth and Eighth, two divisions of the Nineteenth, and the Thirteenth Corps; the alter recently arrived from New Orleans. General Early was at Newtown on the 11th, and the enemy, who, for the two previous days had been endeavoring to approach his rear, was apparently moving toward Front Royal. I have directed General Anderson to move toward Thornton's Gap and be governed by circumstances. General Early reports that General Bradley Johnson's brigade has been surprised in camp near Moorefield and routed, losing four guns. I have directed that if General J[ohnson] is to blame he must be relieved from command.
I went up to Howlett's Thursday morning, having heard that the enemy who thrown a body of troops on the neck at Dutch Gap, with a view of endeavoring to drive them off. Their position was about two miles and a half from the battery, and Major Smith reported, from his experience on former occasions, owing to inferior powder, he could not be certain of throwing his shot more than 1,200 yards. I signaled to General Ewell to attack them from his side and to arrange with Captain Mitchell to shell them from his gun-boats. This I hoped would have been done that afternoon, and then had to suspend the attack for an exchange of prisoners, previously arranged. The force, I understand,is composed partly of negroes, and that they will make of it I do not see, unless their object is to turn Pickett's left. I have posted Lieutenant-Colonel Poague's battalion of artillery on the heights of Proctor's Creek, west of Howlett's farm, and will commence a heavy battery on the river in that vicinity as soon as possible. Perhaps it is thought the James River can be so reduced as to prevent the navigation of our naval boats.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
P. S.- General Grant is reported to have returned from Harper's Ferry. He was at Old Point on the 8th, and a deserter states he and Butler were at Dutch Gap yesterday.
R. E. L.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
August 12, 1864.
General R. H. ANDERSON,
Culpeper Court-House, Va.:
General Early, at Newtown, States the enemy to be moving up the Shenandoah with a view of reaching his rear, apparently toward Front Royal. It may be his purpose to move up Luray Valley. You had better move up to Sperryville and be governed by circumstances. Hampton should reached you the 15th. Keep him apprised and keep in communication with Early.
R. E. LEE.