Headqrs, Richmond, VA
29th April 1862
Maj Genl T. J. Jackson
Swift Run Gap VA
I have had the honor to receive your letter of yesterday’s date. From the reports which reach me that are entitled to credit, the force of the enemy opposite Fredericksburg is represented as too large, to admit of any dimunition whatever of our army in that vicinity at present, as it might not only invite an attack in Richmond but jeopardize the safety of the army in the Peninsula. I regret therefore that your request to have 5000 men sent from that army to reinforce you cannot be complied with. Can you draw enough from the command of Genl Ed. Johnson to warrant you in attacking Banks? The last Return received from that army shews a present force of upwards of 3500, which it is hoped has been since increased by recruits and returned furloughs. As he does not appear to be pressed, it is suggested that a portion of his force might be temporarily removed from its present position, & made available for the movement in question. A decisive & successful blow at Banks column, wd be fraught with the happiest results, and I deeply regret my inability to send you the reinforcements you ask. If however you think the combined forces of Genls Ewell and Johnson with your own inadequate for the move, Genl Ewell might with the assistance of Genl Andersons army near Fredericksburg, strike at McDowells army between that city and Aquia with much promise of success provided you feel sufficiently strong alone to hold Banks in check.
Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 8, M2009. 283
Transcribed by Caitlin Connelly, 2016 July 21