Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,
June 23, 1863—5 p.m.
Maj. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart,
General: Your notes of 9 and 10.30 a.m. to-day have just been received. As regards the purchase of tobacco for your men, supposing that Confederate money will not be taken, I am willing for your commissaries or quartermasters to purchase this tobacco and let the men get it from them, but I can have nothing seized by the men.
If General Hooker’s army remains inactive, you can leave two brigades to watch him, and withdraw with the three others, but should he not appear to be moving northward, I think you had better withdraw this side of the mountain to-morrow night, cross at Shepherdstown next day, and move over to Fredericktown.
You will, however, be able to judge whether you can pass around their army without hinderance, doing them all the damage you can, and cross the river east of the mountains. In either case, after crossing the river, you must move on and feel the right of Ewell’s troops, collecting information, provisions, &c.
Give instructions to the commander of the brigades left behind, to watch the flank and rear of the army, and (in the event of the enemy leaving their front) retire from the mountains west of the Shenandoah, leaving sufficient pickets to guard the passes, and bringing everything clean along the Valley, closing upon the rear of the army.
As regards the movements of the two brigades of the enemy moving toward Warrenton, the commander of the brigades to be left in the mountains must do what he can to counteract them, but I think the sooner you cross into Maryland, after to-morrow, the better.
The movements of Ewell’s corps are as stated in my former letter. Hill’s first divisions will reach the Potomac to-day, and Longstreet will follow to-morrow.
Be watchful and circumspect in all your movements.
I am, very respectfully and truly, yours,
R. E. Lee,
Source: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Vol. 27, Part 3, p. 923
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 June 23