Rappahannock River, Va., August 23, 1862.
General W. W. Loring,
Commanding Kanawha Valley, W. Va.:
General: From an intercepted letter of General Pope’s to General McClellan he places the whole of General Cox’s force at 12,000, and that he had ordered him to break up his small posts, cut loose from his base at Point Pleasant, and so maneuver as to get you and General Marshall between himself and Lynchburg, drive you both in that direction, and unite with him on the James River. He states that this plan has been interrupted by the critical position in which General McClellan’s army is placed since the battles around Richmond, and asks for consultation for a new programme. This letter was dated July 4. General Stuart reports that General Pope’s chief quartermaster—[Charles N.] Goulding—who was captured last night, positively asserts that Cox’s troops are being withdrawn by the way of Wheeling. This may be stated to deceive, but I give you the information that you may look to its truth and take advantage of it. Should that be the case, your command could be usefully employed to the north, and if you destroy several links in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad it would be of great advantage to us.
R. E. Lee,
Source: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Vol. 12, Part 3, p. 940
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 August 18