Headquarters Forces of Virginia
April 24, 1861
General Daniel Ruggles:
General: Your dispatch, of the 24th instant, requesting to know the policy and orders by which you are to be governed, is at hand. You will act on the defensive. Station your troops at suitable points to command the railroad; write and give assurance of protection to the inhabitants on the rivers; cause your troops to be instructed in the use of their several arms, and take immediate steps for provisioning them. If bacon cannot be procured, fresh meat must compose that part of your ration.
Two 8-inch howitzers have been sent you to-day; also ammunition for the same. I regret I cannot furnish you with carriages for these pieces, but I hope you will be able to have them constructed or made available for your purpose in Fredericksburg. You will endeavor to allay the popular excitement as far as possible. As soon as you can, send in a return of your troops, and where stationed.
I am, general, very repectfully,
R. E. Lee
Source: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Vol. 2, pp. 777-778.
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 March 9