Headquarters, July 18, 1862
Brig. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, Commanding Cavalry:
General: A letter just received from General Jackson states that from information received he inclines to the belief that the enemy is withdrawing from Fredericksburg, and his destination in Gordonsville and that quarter. He is therefore moving nearer that point, and has been obliged to withdraw his cavalry from Hanover Junction and the protection of the railroad. Former accounts indicate a large force of the enemy concentrated at Fredericksburg, but whether it was his intention to move by water to re-enforce McClellan or to march by land upon Richmond was not so clear. I wish you to send some cavalry at least as far north as Hanover Junction or the North Anna, to watch the movements of the enemy and give protection to the railroad and country, and endeavor to get information of the enemy at Fredericksburg, if possible, his intention, strength, &c. It is also an object to encourage our people to bring up from the Rappahannock Valley corn and grain of all kinds. Endeavor to spare your horses as much as possible, and charge your officers to look to their comfort and that of the men.
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. 12, Part 3, p. 916
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 July 14