Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,
June—, 1864—12.30 p. m.
[Lieut. Gen. A. P. Hill:?]
General: I have received your note of 11 a.m. I am glad that you are able to make the disposition of the troops you propose, as it meets my views, as expressed in a former note to you. Now that you have your troops in a line, I hope you will strengthen it as much as possible and hold it. I have little fear of your ability to maintain your position if our men do as they generally do. The time has arrived, in my opinion, when something more is necessary than adhering to lines and defensive positions. We shall be obliged to go out and prevent the enemy from selecting such positions as he chooses. If he is allowed to continue that course we shall at last be obliged to take refuge behind the works of Richmond and stand a siege, which would be but a work of time. You must be prepared to fight him in the field, to prevent him taking positions such as he desires, and I expect the co-operation of all the corps commanders in the course which necessity now will oblige us to pursue. It is for this purpose that I desire the corps to be kept together and as strong as possible, and that our absentees will be brought forward and every attention given to refreshing and preparing the men for battle. Their arms and ammunition should be looked to and cooked provisions provided ahead.
R. E. Lee,
P. S.—I am anxious to get recommendations to fill the vacancies in the different commands in your corps.
R. E. L.
Source: Source: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Vol. 40, Part 2, pp. 702-703
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 August 17