• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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 editor, Colin Woodward, at  (804) 493-1940, about how you can contribute to this historic project.




Richmond, Va., March 25, 1862


General B. Huger,

Commanding at Norfolk:

General: It seems certain from the reports received that the enemy is assembling in great force at Old Point Comfort. Whether he will move against Norfolk or Richmond nothing is yet disclosed. Should the former be his point of attack, re-enforcements from the Army of the Peninsula and from troops concentrating here will be dispatched to your support. You must therefore prepare to receive them and determine the points to which they will be directed. Watch vigilantly the movements of the enemy and endeavor to discover his plans. On the contrary, should Richmond be the object of his attack and his route be by the Peninsula, you must throw across James River at a point to reach his front as large a force as can be safely withdrawn from the defense of Norfolk. It is probable a feint will be made against one city, while the attack will be against the other, and great care and judgment must be exercised not to be deceived. You must therefore immediately look to all your defenses, organize the troops to hold them, mobilize the remainder to move at a moment’s warning, should they not be required to oppose the enemy in the lines around Norfolk. You will have also to arrange means of transportation should it be necessary to cross your troops over James River.

The infantry, it is suggested, might be sent by railroad to City Point and ferried over by streamers. Artillery could be crossed lower down, from Carter’s Wharf to Grove’s Wharf, unless the enemy’s gunboats prevent it; but as to the best points and means you must judge, and make such preparations under both contingencies as are necessary.

Keep me advised of the preparations and movements of the enemy as far as you can discover, and also of your opinion as to the object he has in view.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

R E Lee

General, Commanding




Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 11, Part 3, pp. 396-397

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 February 15

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