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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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

August 14, 1864


Lieutenant-General Ewell,

Commanding, &c.:


General: On my visit to Howlett’s house yesterday I had a full view of the ground at Dutch Gap and could see distinctly their tents and lines of intrenchments in front and rear of their position, with rifle pits in advance. The men were concealed from view, probably driven under cover by our fire, which, from the gun-boats, was very accurate. No working parties were, of course, in sight, but I could see nothing to indicate the construction of a canal as is reported by prisoners and deserters from the enemy. Colonel Mayo, Third Virginia Regiment, who is stationed on the point at Howlett’s farm, says that owing to the height of the bluffs at Dutch Gap and their being thickly covered with tall trees it is impossible to get a view of their operations from the highest point on his side. Small parties of the enemy, however, could be seen moving along the bank yesterday, and did not seem much embarrassed by the fire of our batteries or gun-boats. Officer commanding pickets on the margin of the river reported the enemy at work all night before last. Wagons were heard going and coming, unloading plank; also sounds of digging, driving stakes, &c. The details at work are estimated to be about 600 men. Can you not from some point on your side of the river discover what the enemy is doing? If we cannot arrest his work we must in other ways counteract his operations. Perhaps the navy might accomplish both objects. I desire you to see Captain Mitchell and see what can be done.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R E Lee





Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 42, Part 2, p. 1176

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 August 14      

Reference Shelf

Data Collections

About the Project

Website by Fresh Look Web Design
Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved