Two Miles from Fredericktown, Md., September 7, 1862
His Excellency President Davis,
Mr. President: I have the honor to inform you that all the divisions of the army have crossed the Potomac, unless it may be General Walker’s, from whom I have had no respect since his arrival at Leesburg, on the evening of the 5th instant. They occupy the line of the Monocacy.
I find there is plenty of provisions and forage in this country, and the community have received us with kindness. There may be some embarrassment in paying for necessaries for the army, as it is probable that many individuals will hesitate to receive Confederate currency. I shall endeavor in all cases to purchase what is wanted, and, if unable to pay upon the spot, will give certificates of indebtedness of the Confederate States for future adjustment. It is very desirable that the chief quartermaster and commissary should be provided with funds, and that some general arrangement should be made for liquidating the debts that may be incurred to the satisfaction of the people of Maryland, in order that they may willingly furnish us what is wanted. I shall endeavor to purchase horses, clothing, shoes, and medical stores for our present use, and you will see the facility that would arise from being provided with the means of paying for them. I hope it may be convenient for ex-Governor Lowe, or some prominent citizen of Maryland, to join me, with a view of expediting these and other arrangements necessary to the success of our army in this State. Notwithstanding individual expressions of kindness that have been given, and the general sympathy in the success of the Confederate States, situated as Maryland is, I do not anticipate any general rising of the people in our behalf. Some additions to our ranks will no doubt be received, and I hope to procure subsistence for our troops.
As yet we have had no encounter with the enemy on this side of the river; except a detachment of cavalry at Poolesville, which resulted in slight loss on both sides, 31 of the enemy being captured. As far as I can learn, the enemy are in their intrenchments around Washington. General Banks, with his division, has advanced to Darnestown. The Shenandoah Valley has been evacuated, and their stores, &c., at Winchester are stated to have been destroyed.
By the inclosed unfinished note from an officer of the Federal Army, dated at Poolesville, you will perceive that the enemy are withdrawing troops from Hilton Head.
I have the honor to be, with high respect, 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. 19, Part 2, pp. 596-597
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 September 2