• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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, July 7, 1864


His Excellency Jefferson Davis,

President Confederate States:


Mr. President: Lieutenant Albergetts, commanding scouts at Rowland’s Mill, on river road, and north of Harrison’s Point, reports that during forepart of yesterday six transports passed down James River, carrying troops with arms. During the day a number of transports with a few troops and stores passed up the river loaded with troops. At dark three transports were at Jordan’s Point taking on troops, and the wharf was apparently crowded with troops awaiting transportation. As the troops passed Harrison’s Landing they cheered heartily. Coupling this report with the statement of the New York Herald of the 4th, that at daybreak on the 3d it was reported at Martinsburg that a body of our troops were approaching that place, and that after some fighting at Bunker Hill General S[igel] evacuated M. and fell back to Harper’s Ferry, I fear the troops reported to have descended the James River are on the way to Washington. I have inquired whether Lieutenant A. saw himself what he reported, how near he was to the river, and whether he was certain that the troops were armed.

It is not known yet whether any troops have been withdrawn from the front of Petersburg, but a corps on their left, especially if held in reserve, might have been taken during the night of the 4th without being discovered. The Herald also states that Hunter with Crook and Averell are in the vicinity of Charleston, on the Kanawha, which is confirmed by a dispatch from General Morgan. It is so repugnant to Grant’s principles and practice to send troops from him that I had hoped before resorting to it he would have preferred attacking me. It is possible that some of these men may belong to the regiments to be discharged, of which sixty-eight regiments go out this month. I do not know how many belong to Grant’s army, but I believe all from Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, and Maryland, and several from Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. I learn, too, that  Sheridan’s and Wilson’s cavalry are encamped on Bland’s farm, just south of Jordan’s Point, and many of the men seen about the wharf might have belonged to them. The probabilities are that they are troops bound for Washington , and if Hunter is brought up the Ohio and around by railroad Early may be opposed by a force too large for him to manage. As soon as I ascertain more definitely I will send to apprise E[arly] that he may be on his guard. The troops referred to will have passed the mouth of the Potomac to-day. There are letters from nearly all the corps of Grant’s army published in the Herald of the 4th, showing they were here as late as the 2d.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

R E Lee




Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 40, Part 3

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 November 17

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