Hdqrs. Army of the Potomac, April 17, 1864
General Robert E. Lee, Comdg. Army of Northern Virginia
General: I received on the 15th instant, per flag of truce, your communication of the 1st instant, transmitting photographic copies of two documents alleged to have been found upon the body of Col. U. Dahlgren, and inquiring whether “the designs and instructions of Colonel Dahlgren, as set forth in these papers, particularly those contained in the above extracts, were authorized by the United States Government or by his superior officers, and also whether they have the sanction and approval of these authorities.” In reply I have to state that neither the United States Government, myself, nor General Kilpatrick authorized, sanctioned, or approved the burning of the city of Richmond and the killing of Mr. Davis and cabinet, nor any other act not required by military necessity and in accordance with the usages of war.
In confirmation of this statement I inclose a letter from General Kilpatrick, and have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Geo. G. Meade,
Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 33, p. 180
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 March 14