• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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.




Near Fredericktown, Md., September 9, 1862


His Excellency President Davis:


Mr. President: I have just received your letter of the 7th instant, from Rapidan, informing me of your intention to come on to Leesburg. While I should feel the greatest satisfaction in having an interview with you, and consulting upon all subjects of interest, I cannot but feel great uneasiness for your safety should you undertake to reach me. You will not only encounter the hardships and fatigues of a very disagreeable journey, but also run the risk of capture by the enemy. I send my aide-de-camp, Major [W. H.] Taylor, back to explain to you the difficulties and dangers of the journey, which I cannot recommend you to undertake.

I am endeavoring to break up the line through Leesburg, which is no longer safe, and turn everything off from Culpeper Court-House toward Winchester. I shall move in the direction I originally intended, toward Hagerstown and Chambersburg, for the purpose of opening our line of communication through the valley, in order to procure sufficient supplies of flour. I shall not move until to-morrow or, perhaps, next day, but when I do move the line of communication in this direction will be entirely broken up. I must, therefore, advise that you do not make an attempt that I cannot but regard as hazardous.

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. 602-603


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 September 12




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