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[324] portion of Early's and Anderson's divisions, and arrested the further progress of the enemy. I have just returned from an examination of the enemy's cavalry on the Rapidan. It seems to consist of their entire force, three divisions, with horse-artillery, and, as far as I can judge, is the advance of General Meade's army. All the cavalry have been withdrawn from the lower Rappahannock, except some reduced pickets from Richard's ford, to Fredericksburg. Our scouts report that their whole army is under marching orders, and that two corps have already crossed the Rappahannock. The Eleventh corps, which has been guarding the line of the railroad, marched through Manassas on the 12th instant for the Rappahannock. Three steamers, heavily loaded with troops, reached Alexandria on the 9th, and the troops were forwarded in trains on the 10th to the same destination. Everything looks like a concentration of their forces, and it is stated by our scouts that they have learned of the large reduction of this army. I begin to fear that we have lost the use of troops here, where they are much needed, and that they have gone where they will do no good. I learn by the papers of to-day that General Rosecrans' army entered Chattanooga on the 9th, and that General Bragg has retired still further into the interior. It also appears that General Burnside did not move to make a junction with Rosecrans, but marched upon Knoxville. General Bragg must, therefore, either have been misinformed of his movements or he subsequently changed them. Had I been aware that Knoxville was the destination of General Burnside, I should have recommended that General Longstreet should be sent to oppose him, instead of to Atlanta.

If General Bragg is unable to bring General Rosecrans to battle, I think it would be better to return General Longstreet to this army to enable me to oppose the advance of General Meade with a greater prospect of success. And it is a matter worthy of consideration whether General Longstreet's corps will reach General Bragg in time and condition to be of any advantage to him. If the report sent to me by General Cooper since my return from Richmond is correct, General Bragg had, on the 20th August last, 51,101 effective men; General Buckner, 20th August last, 16, 118 effective men. He was to receive from General Johnston 9,000 effective men. His total force will, therefore, be 76,219, as large a number as I presume he can operate with. This is independent of the local troops which, you may recollect, he reported as exceeding his expectations. Should General Longstreet reach General Bragg in time

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