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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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

July 11, 1864

His Excellency Jefferson Davis,

President of the Confederate States:

Mr. President: As far as can be ascertained from information received from deserters, prisoners, scouts, and citizens the force that I mentioned in my letter of the 7th instant as having left General Grant’s army, consisted of Ricketts’ division, of the Sixth Corps. The same night about a brigade of cavalry, as I think, without their horses also went down the James. No other troops left Grant’s army as far as I can learn until yesterday, when it is reported by scouts on James River, sixteen transports loaded with troops, their arms, and knapsacks, in many instances plainly visible, descended the river. The reports received render it probable that the remainder of the Sixth Corps has gone. I send a special messenger to General Early with this information, and such suggestions as to his future movements as seem to be proper. I inclose a letter received from him to-day by the messenger first sent, from which you will learn his progress and purpose. I had hoped that General Grant, rather than weaken his army, would have attempted to drive us from our position. I fear I shall not be able to attack him to advantage, and if cannot I think it would be well to re-enforce General Early. In that way it would oblige him further to diminish his force.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

R E Lee,





Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 40, part 3, pp. 762-763

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 January

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