Brigadier-General Whiting informs me that Brigadier-General French and Captain Chatard think it impracticable to make the desired movement by water. I submit General French's letter on the subject. The land transportation would, it seems to me, require too much time and labor, even were the roads tolerable. They are not now practicable for our field artillery with their teams of four horses. The army is crippled, and its discipline greatly impaired, by the want of general officers. The four regiments observing the fords of the lower Occoquan are commanded by a lieutenant-colonel, and a division and five brigades besides are without generals, and at least half the field-officers are absent-generally sick. The accumulation of subsistence stores at Manassas is now a great evil. The Commissary-General was requested, more than once, to suspend those supplies. A very extensive meat-packing establishment at Thoroughfare is also a great incumbrance. The great quantities of personal property in our camps is a still greater one. Much of both kinds of property must be sacrificed in the contemplated movement.
Most respectfully, Your obedient servant, J. E. Johnston, General.
Major-General Jackson, and one from Brigadier-General Hill, for the information they contain of the enemy. Your orders for moving cannot be executed now, on account of the condition of the roads and streams. The removal of public property goes on with painful slowness, because, as the officers employed in it report, a sufficient number of cars and engines cannot be had. It is evident that a large quantity of it must be sacrificed, or your instructions