Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,

January 21, 1863

Brig. Gen. W. E. Jones,

Commanding Valley District:

General: I have the honor to acknowledge your letter of the 14th instant, and the report of Captain Richardson with regard to supplies in the upper part of the valley. The evacuation of Moorefield and the presence of the enemy at Front Royal would look as if he was merely changing his position, and drawing nearer his army east of the Blue Ridge. It will be very desirable if you can, by concentrating your forces, drive him out of the valley altogether. It was with this view that I desired to know what supply of provisions you could rely upon, that, if circumstances permitted, I could throw other troops into the valley. If his force at Front Royal is not too large, endeavor to cut it off. If superior to yours, see if you cannot break up its line of communication with your cavalry, or even drive them out of Winchester. General Burnside’s army is apparently now making some movements toward the Upper Rappahannock. Possibly Milroy may attempt to join him. If he does, precipitate yourself upon his rear, and follow him east of the mountains, and place yourself in communication with General Hampton and this army.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R E Lee,




Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 21, p. 1104

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 March 12