• The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia

The Lee Family Digital Archive is the largest online source for primary source materials concerning the Lee family of Virginia. It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online. We are always looking for new letters, diaries, and books to add to our website. Do you have a rare item that you would like to donate or share with us? If so, please contact our curator, Colin Woodward, about how you can contribute to this historic project.



New Orleans La

Apl 20th 1875

My Dear Colonel

            Upon reading an address by Mr. Pendleton, published in the December number of the Southern Magazine, I saw for the first time that Gen Lee had ordered me to attack the left of the Federal Army at “sunrise” on the 2nd day of the battle of Gettysburg. It occurs to me that if Gen Lee had any such idea as an attack sunrise you must surely be advised of it. Right sure am I that such an order was never delivered to me, and it is not possible for me to believe that he ever entertained an idea that I was to attack at that hour. My two Divisions; nor myself; did not reach Gen Lee until 8 o’clock a.m., on the 2nd, and if he had intended an attack at sunrise he surely would now, expressed, some surprise, or made some allusion to his orders.

            Please do me the favor to let me know what you know of his sunrise attack.

            Instead of dwelling upon our unfortunate war, and its results I have sought to turn my thoughts to other matters, and to the care especially of my immediate family. I have not therefore kept pace with those who write and criticize the events of the past.

            I remain my respectfully &

Truly yours

James Longstreet


Col. W. H. Taylor



Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 8, M2009.415

Transcribed by Caitlin Connelly, 2016 July 18

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