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Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,

December 29, 1862

Brig. Gen. W. E. Jones,

Commanding Valley District:

General: Your letter of the 26th has been received. By the enclosed order you will see that you are assigned to the command of the Valley District. I wish you to take all measures for its protection, and to endeavor to rally around you the citizens of the west for their defense. I hope Colonel Imboden will soon have his command increased to a brigade, and will be able to render you valuable assistance.

The enemy, if possible, must not be allowed to remain on the South Branch of the Potomac, but must be driven across the Potomac River. You must take every exertion to keep your troops supplied with provisions and your animals with forage, so as to move promptly wherever and whenever circumstances require it.

As regards the price paid for corn, you must regulate it upon principles of fairness to the farmer and to the Government. It will be better to establish a uniform price throughout the valley for flour and forage; and you must consult the instructions given in the matter by the Quartermaster and Commissary General at Richmond.

Please send me a report of all the troops in the valley as soon as possible, and also an approximate statement of the provisions and forage to be obtained there. If by any means you could cut off the enemy’s communication with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, it seems to me he could not retain his position where he now is.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R E Lee,

General

 

 

Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 21, p. 1080

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 February 21