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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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




Petersburg, September 26, 1864


General Braxton Bragg,

Commanding Confederate Armies:


General: I cannot impress upon you too strongly the imperious necessity of getting all our men subject to military duty to the field. We should have them with the armies now. The duties of the Enrolling Bureau are the most important in the service, and every facility should be given to it to increase our forces. I think the officers should be entirely relieved from the consideration of exempting, detailing, or recommending for light service. Let their sole object and purpose be to put men into the field and fill up our depleted regiments. Let others undertake their relief and exemption. The enemy are increasing their forces in Virginia, and I presume in other States. I get no additions. The men coming in do not supply the vacancies caused by sickness, desertions, and other casualties. If things thus continue the most serious consequences must result. We shall have no use for the men detailed in other branches of the service, for agriculture, &c., if we are driven from the field. To show the steady increase to General Grant’s army, I inclose reports from scouts between the 13th and 23d instant. I do not think the transports carry on an average as large a number of troops as the observers state—between 250 and 300 in my opinion is nearer the truth. According to this diminished estimate you will perceive that within the times specified about 10,000 men over those he has sent away have been added to General Grant here. If I had negroes to replace the teamsters, cooks, and hospital attendants I could increase each division many hundred men. Unless they are sent to me rapidly it may be too late. General Whiting is also in need of negroes. Will you have orders given in his case also?

I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

R E Lee





Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 42, Part 2, pp. 1292-1293

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 September 25  

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