Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,
March 25, 1863
Hon. James A. Seddon, Secretary of War:
Sir: I have received a letter from Mr. [H. D.] Whitcomb, superintendent of the Virginia Central Railroad, with reference to the supplies of wood on the road, and its present condition, with a communication from Mr. [E.] Fontaine, president of the road, upon the same subject. I am convinced that a portion of the levy of negroes called for to work on the fortifications can be much more beneficially employed on this road, to prevent it from failing us at a time when we shall most need it. I therefore earnestly recommend that 100 of the levy about to be called for from Albemarle and the adjacent counties be allowed, with the consent of their masters, to work sixty days on the railroad instead of on the fortifications. The necessities of the road are immediate, and I see no other way of supplying them.
I am, 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, Volume 25, Part 2, pp. 683-684
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 September 27