STAUNTON, April 29, 1862.
Honorable GEORGE W. RANDOLPH:
DEAR SIR: In a postscript to a letter which I addressed to you some days ago I adverted to the propriety of retaining possession of the upper part of the Valley. I hope you will pardon me for presenting somewhat more fully my views on that subject. In looking to our future military operations and the probability that the Federal forces will, as the sickly season advances, be withdrawn from the Gulf States and concentrated in Virginia (which will involve the necessity of our doing the same), the question present itself, how are our armies to be fed? The supply of beef and pork from Texas and West will be cut off, and we will be compelled to rely on our home supplies. The countiockingham, and Rockbridge now abound with supplies of wheat, flour, corn, pork, bacon, cattle and sheep. Last year's crop of corn and wheat were the largest ever raised in those counties, and the growing crops are remarkably promising. The invasion of the western counties compelled the inhabitants to drive their stock to the Valley, and thus we have on hand a double supply of cattle, hogs and sheep. An intelligent man, well acquainted with the subject, told me this morning that not less than 100,000 sheep had been brought into Augusta produces near 500,000 bushels of what, and as much corn. Last year's crop was estimated to be 33 1/3 per cent. over an average crop. The stopPAGE of all the distilleries has left large supplies of corn in our cribs, and the difficulty of procuring transportation has compelled the farmers to retain most of their wheat and flour. These facts will show that we have in our country a vast surplus of provisions, which will be greatly augmented when the growing crop matures, sixty days hence. Should the enemy get posession of the upper Valley they will gain supplies sufficient to maintain a large army for twelve months to come. If, on the other hand, we can drive them out, these supplies can be applied to the sustenance of our own troops. A very intelligent gentlemen who was employed to purchase flour for the Government, and who in his official capacity traversed Jefferson, Barkeley, clarke and Loudoun, told me he thought there were 1,000,000 bushels of wheat in those four counties. The pople have almost two entire crops on hand. All this had fallen into the hands of the enemy, who are now rapidly removing it to Maryland. The surrender of Frederick, Warren, Shenandoah, Hardy, PAGE, and Rockingham involves the loss of as much more. If, now, we lose the remaining grain counties of the Valley I do not see where our supplies are to come from. The commissariat department has, I think, been injudiciously managed, as large supplies of flour, corn, &c., have been brought here from, while our own granaries have been teeming with abundance. It seems to me that an effort ought to be made, if possible, to regain possession of Rockingham and Shenandoah before the enemy can remove the provisions from thoe counties. High waters and bad roads have prevented them from accomplishing much in the way of removal thus far. If you could not throw 10,000 or 15,000 troops, in addition to the commands of Jackson and Ewell into the Valley about Luray, it would be practicable to cut off and possibly capture the army of Banks. The stores of provisions would thus be secured, and if we are obliged to abandon the valley, it should be postponed, if possible, until the next harvest is secured. The abandonment of the upper Valley also involves the loss of our most valuable iron-works, many woolen factories, and the shoe factory here that supplies 100 pairs of boots and shoes per day. The corn-planting season