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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



War Department, C. S. A.

Richmond, Va., June 25, 1864


General R. E. Lee,

Commanding, &c.:


General: We are suffering here very serious inconveniences from the retention in the defenses of the local forces. Their absence greatly impairs the vigor of administration in almost every department of the Government, and the heads of all the administrative branches are urgent for their recall or numerous details. There is likewise a necessary demand for adequate guards in the city, especially in view of the augmenting number of prisoners being received, who cannot, under present circumstances, be sent away. In looking about to find substitutes for the local defense men and the supply of such guards it has seemed to me that many of the dismounted cavalrymen, or of those who have been sent back with their horses to recruit, might be temporarily detached and used in our defenses. A comparatively small number might be left in charge of the horses, and would be, if attentive, amply sufficient to their care. I am informed there are several camps in the neighborhood of the city and in the surrounding country where there are considerable numbers of such dismounted cavalry, literally doing nothing, whom on every account it would be desirable to employ. I have not been willing to make any order or even suggestion on the subject without first bringing the matter to your notice; but with your approval, I think considerable relief could be afforded here by the use of these unemployed cavalrymen.

Very respectfully, yours,

James A. Seddon

Secretary of War  




Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 40, Part 2, p. 686

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 July 19

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