• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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, November 14, 1864

Hon. James A. Seddon,

Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:


Sir: Brig. Gen. J. G. Martin, who has been on duty at Salisbury for some days, informs me from the inquiries he made he thinks 2,000 or 3,000 foreigners, now held there as prisoners of war could be enlisted in our service. He also states that authority for this purpose has been given to several persons by the War Department, and that the company officers are to be elected by the members of the company. If they are taken from among themselves I fear they may be neither effective nor reliable. How would it answer to organize these men into the Regular Army, with officers appointed by the President, and the whole under one good officer? The men could then be placed in camp, instructed, and disciplined. By the spring they would make a valuable addition to the Army. General Martin thinks that by proper management this force could be increased to 7,000 to 8,000. The subject is respectfully referred to you for consideration.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

R E Lee




Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 4, Volume 3, pp. 822-823

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 May 15

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