it will be best to do it, for the present at least. Although our loss has been so heavy, which is a source of constant grief to me, I believe the damage to the enemy has been as great in proportion. This is shown by the feeble operations since. Their army is now massed in the vicinity of Warrenton, along the Orange and Alexandria railroad, collecting reinforcements. Unfortunately, their means are greater than ours, and I fear when they move again they will much outnumber us. Their future plans I cannot discover, and think it doubtful, with their experience of last year, whether they will assume the Fredericksburg line again or not, though it is very probable. Should they do so, I doubt the policy of our resuming our former position in rear of Fredericksburg, as any battle fought there, except to resist a front attack, would be on disadvantageous terms, and I therefore think it better to take a position farther back. I should like your views upon this point. The enemy now seems to be content to remain quiescent, prepared to oppose any offensive movement on our part. General Meade's headquarters are at Warrenton. I learn by our scouts that the seven corps are between that point and the Orange and Alexandria railroad. They are all much reduced in numbers. From the observation of some corps, the report of citizens and their prisoners, the reduction is general, and the corps do not exceed from 6,000 to 8,000 men. I have halted Ewell's corps on Robinson's River, about three miles in front of Madison Courthouse, where grazing is represented to be very fine, and in the vicinity of which sufficient flour can be obtained. We have experienced no trouble from the enemy in crossing the Blue Ridge. Except the attempt at Manassas Gap upon Ewell, and of a cavalry force on the Gourd Vine road on A. P. Hill, our march has been nearly unmolested. Our cavalry is in our front along the Rappahannock. I am endeavoring to collect all the provisions I can in this part of the country, which was also done in the Valley. While there, in order to obtain sufficient flour, we were obliged to send men and horses, thresh the wheat, carry it to the mills and have it ground. There is little or no grain in that vicinity, and I cannot learn of more in Madison than sufficient for Ewell's corps. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. Lee, General.