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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



Headquarters, December 23, 1862

General J. E. B. Stuart,

Commanding Cavalry:


General: You are desired to proceed with a portion of the cavalry across the Rappahannock, penetrate the enemy’s rear, ascertain, if possible, his position and movements, and inflict upon him such damage as circumstances will permit. I recommend that you cross the river as low down as you can without disclosing your purpose, leaving the upper fords for your return. At this inclement season, I need not suggest to you the propriety of selecting such men and horses only as can undergo the expedition, and of taking every other precaution for their comfort and safety.

I have directed 5,000 bushels of corn and 5,000 rations of hard bread to be placed at Culpeper Court-House, to your order.

Commending you, under Heaven, the guidance of your good judgment and discretion, I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

R E Lee,



Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 21, pp. 1075-76

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 February 21

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