[Inclosure No. 2]
Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia
October 10, 1864.
His Excellency William Smith,
Governor of Virginia, Richmond, Va.:
Governor: I have just read your letter of the 6th instant. I regret to see such grave charges made against General Early. As far as I have been able to judge at this distance, he has conducted the military operations in the Valley well. Of the care that he takes of his men and the examination in which he is held by them, I have no means of judging, except from what I witnessed when he was serving with me. Of the particular acts charged against him in the letter I can obtain no information unless you will give me the name of the officer who wrote the letter of the 2d instant from which you quote. Justice to General Early requires that I should inform him of the accusations made against him and of the name of his accuser. The matter can then be officially investigated.
I have the honor [to] be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. Lee,
Source: The War of the Rebellion: The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Vol. 43, Part 2, p. 895.
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 March 25