Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia
January 27, 1863
Brig. Gen. W. E. Jones,
Commanding Valley District:
General: The question of provisioning this army is becoming one of much difficulty. I have thought that the present might be a favorable time for you to send into the counties of Hampshire, Tucker, Randolph, Pendleton, and Highland, and any others that you may find convenient or useful, with a view of collecting cattle or salt meat for our use. I have heard that in the counties named cattle may be procured by judicious and energetic men acquainted with the country and the inhabitants; and a necessity exists for employing every means to supply our wants. It is not my intention that you should interfere with or interrupt any agent of the Government engaged in collecting supplies, but request, on the contrary, that you give them any aid in your power. Should there be any region unoccupied in which provisions can be secured, I hope you will lose no time in endeavoring to collect them.
I am glad to learn, by your recent report, that you have a body of cavalry in the lower part of the Valley, to restrain the operations of General Milroy. By having movable camps, and relieving the men engaged, from time to time, you will be able to protect our citizens and curtail the operations of predatory parties.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R E Lee
Source: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Volume 25, Part 2, p. 598
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 September 27