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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



Lost River, January 1, 1863 [1864]


Major-General Early, Commanding, &c.:

General: Arrived here last night. Found mountain covered with snow some 2 inches deep. The ascent and descent were very steep, and road very slippery and bad. Have heard nothing from my artillery. Ordered it to get as far up mountain as possible last night and encamp and try and cross today. I hardly think they will succeed. Can hear nothing of wagons, either. They will be obliged to come through Brock’s Gap, I expect, and it is a question when they will catch me. The road I traversed is almost impracticable for vehicles, so steep and slippery. I am afraid General Lee has had erroneous information about the supplies of this country. My investigations so far show only some cattle on Patterson’s Creek. My force is only now about 1,150 or 1,200 men; the force at Petersburg is between 800 and 900 infantry and four pieces of artillery. I will have to wait so long for my artillery it will be doubtful whether I can do anything toward capturing or defeating them. In the mean time information will be given, teams will be doubled, and I will have to leave. If you could spare more force and send it to me something might be achieved. The severe weather and recent hard trip is telling on my men and horses, and their number is diminishing daily.

Very respectfully,

Fitz Lee,

Major-General, Commanding


P.S.—The great expedition to supply the army I am very much afraid will be a failure. First, because there is nothing in the country, and secondly, not enough people to capture them from enemy.


F. L.





Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 33, p. 1059

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 December 28  


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