Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,
June 5, 1864.
Lieut. Gen. U. S. Grant,
Commanding U.S. Armies:
General: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this date proposing that hereafter, except in time of action, either party be at liberty to remove the dead and wounded from between the lines. I fear that such an arrangement will lead to misunderstanding and difficulty. I propose, therefore, instead, that when either party desires to remove the dead or wounded, a flag of truce be sent, as is customary. It will always afford me pleasure to comply with such a request as far as circumstances will permit.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. Lee,
Source: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Vol. 36, Part 3, p. 600.
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 June 7