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[478] troops and mixed with them in companies, would be valuable at once, and soon equal to the old soldiers.

Very respectfully, Your obedient servant, J. E. Johnston, General.

Headquarters Department of Northern Virginia, Centreville, February 7, 1862.
To the Hon. J. P. Benjamin, Secretary of War. Sir:
I had the honor to receive your letter of the 3d instant by the last mail.

On the 2d instant, I sent Lieutenant-Colonel Harrison, Virginia cavalry, with a proposition to Major-General McClellan for an exchange of prisoners of war. That officer was stopped by the enemy's pickets near Falls Church, and his dispatches carried to Brigadier-General Wadsworth at Arlington. That officer informed Lieutenant-Colonel Harrison that they were promptly forwarded to General McClellan. He waited for the answer until yesterday, when, being informed by Brigadier-General Wadsworth that he could form no opinion as to the time when it might be expected, he returned.

On receiving your letter in reply to mine, in relation to reenlistments, I directed your orders on that subject to be carried into immediate effect; furloughs to be given at the rate of twenty per cent. of the men present for duty.

The order directing recruiting for the war regiments is also in course of execution.

In my opinion, the position of the “Valley army” ought, if possible, to enable it to cooperate with that of the Potomac, but it must also depend upon that of the enemy and his strength. General Jackson occupied Romney strongly, because the enemy was reported to be concentrating his troops, including those supposed to be near Harper's Ferry, at New Creek. I regret very much that you did not refer this matter to me before ordering General Loring to Winchester, instead of now. I think that orders from me,

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