• The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia

The Lee Family Digital Archive is the largest online source for primary source materials concerning the Lee family of Virginia. It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online. We are always looking for new letters, diaries, and books to add to our website. Do you have a rare item that you would like to donate or share with us? If so, please contact our editor, Colin Woodward, at  (804) 493-1940, about how you can contribute to this historic project.


 

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Headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia

Near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

July 4, 1863

 

Mr. President:

After the rear of the army had crossed the Potomac, the leading corps under General Ewell pushed on to Carlisle & York, passing through Chambersburg. The other two corps closed up at the latter place, and soon afterward intelligence was received that the army of Genl Hooker was advancing. Our whole force was directed to concentrate at Gettysburg, and the corps of Generals Ewell & A. P. Hill reached that place on the 1st July, the former advancing from Carlisle and the latter from Chambersburg. The two leading divisions of these corps, upon reaching the vicinity of Gettysburg, found the enemy and attacked him, driving him from the town, which was occupied by our troops. The enemy’s loss was heavy, including more than four thousand prisoners. He took up a strong position in rear of the town which he immediately began to fortify, and where his reinforcements joined him.

On the 2nd July, Longstreet’s corps with the exception of one division having arrived, we attempted to dislodge the enemy, and though we gained some ground, we were unable to get possession of his position. The next day, the third division of Genl Longstreet having come up, a more extensive attack was made. The works on the enemy’s extreme right & left were taken, but his numbers were so great and his position so commanding, that our troops were compelled to relinquish their advantage and retire.

It is believed that the enemy suffered severely in these operations, but our own loss has not been light.

Genl [William] Barksdale is killed. Genls [Richard B.] Garnett & [Lewis A.] Armistead are missing, & it is feared that the former is killed and the latter wounded and a prisoner. Generals [W. Dorsey] Pender & [Isaac R.] Trimble are wounded in the leg, Genl [John B.] Hood in the arm, and Genl [Henry] Heth slightly in the head. Genl [James L.] Kemper it is feared is mortally wounded. Our losses embrace many other valuable officers and men.

Genl Wade Hampton was severely wounded in a different action in which the cavalry was engaged yesterday.

Very respectfully, your obt servt

R. E. Lee

Genl

 

 

 

Source: The Wartime Papers of R. E. Lee, edited by Clifford Dowdey and Lewis Manarin, pp. 538-539.

 

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 July 4

 

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