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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,

June 26, 1864


Hon. Secretary of War,


Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge your letter of the 24th instant in reference to my ability to maintain the Petersburg and Weldon Railroad. There is no doubt in my mind as to the practicability of continuing that road in operation. The enemy‚Äôs left wing is within a few miles of it. His cavalry can be thrown against it at any time and at any point, and although the road has as yet sustained little damage, it is impossible, under present circumstances, to operate it. The safe passage of the trains could not be relied on. If the Danville road cannot be made to supply our wants we shall inevitably suffer. That road is also subject to the inroads of the enemy, and no doubt will be injured as at present by the expeditions organized against it. Still it is not more liable to injury than other roads upon which we have had to depend, and can be in a measure protected. If arrangements are made at once to repair the injuries it has received, and preparations made to replace bridges, &c., which may hereafter be destroyed, and the road equipped and worked to its full capacity, I do not see why we cannot be as well supplied as heretofore. But if this cannot be done I see no way of averting the terrible disaster that will ensue.  

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R E Lee





Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 40, Part 2, pp. 689-690

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 July 18





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