To William S. Rosecrans

                                                             Executive Mansion, Washington,
Major General Rosecrans.           February 17, 1863.

My dear Sir: In no other way does the enemy give us so much trouble, at so little expence to himself, as by the raids of rapidly moving small bodies of troops (largely, if not wholly, mounted) harrassing, and discouraging loyal residents, supplying themselves with provisions, clothing, horses, and the like, surprising and capturing small detachments of our forces, and breaking our communications. And this will increase just in proportion as his larger armies shall weaken, and wane.  Nor can these raids be successfully met by even larger forces of our own, of the same kind, acting merely on thedefensive. I think we should organize proper forces, and make counter-raids. We should not capture so much of supplies from them, as they have done from us; but it would trouble them more to repair railroads and bridges than it does us. What think you of trying to get up such a corps in your army? Could you do it without any, or many additional troops (which we have not to give you) provided we furnish horses, suitable arms, and other appointments? Please consider this, not as an order, but as a suggestion. Yours truly A. LINCOLN

[Endorsement]

While I wish the required arms to be furnished to Gen. Rosecrans, I have made no promise on the subject, except what you can find in the within copy of letter A. LINCOLN

March 27, 1863.

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