Headquarters, Orange, January 5, 1864

General Samuel Jones,

Commanding Department of Western Virginia:

General: It is with difficulty that I can procure meat for this army, even by issuing half rations. Mr. William Eggleston, Eggleston’s Springs, Giles County, is the commissary agent for District No. 4, and has been sending some cattle to us, from whom a lot is now due. I have thought you might facilitate his operations and assist him in getting out cattle. If you can I think you would do so and procure all the provisions for this army you can.

I have sent two brigades of infantry and two of cavalry into Hardy and Hampshire, with a view of obtaining some cattle that and said to be there ad within the enemy’s lines; but the weather has been so unfavorable for their operations that I fear the expedition will not meet with much success. In addition, the enemy will hear of the movement.

Are there any cattle in the western counties that could be procured? Please inform me when the railroad will be repaired or when I could expect communications with Longstreet will be opened, and whether any provisions can be obtained in that quarter more than he is likely to require.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. Lee,



Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 33, pp. 1065-1066

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2021 November 8