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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



Office North Carolina Railroad Company,

Greensborough, N. C., December 25, 1864

General R. E. Lee,

                        Petersburg, Va.,

General: The delays on the Piedmont Railroad from this place to Danville are such as will cause much suffering in the Army of Northern Virginia for supplies this winter, and unless a change is at once made cars cannot pass at all. Hagood’s brigade arrived at Danville Thursday morning at 7 o’clock, since which time I have made every effort to get them on, but all have not yet reached this point, making three days in transporting one brigade a distance of forty-eight miles. I have ordered Colquitt and Clingman to march here, where ample provisions are made for their immediate transportation. It is urged and recommended that possession be taken of this road and place it in charge of the North Carolina Central Railroad Company, who has sufficient and suitable machinery for operations. Should this be done, cars loaded at Charlotte with freight woul not be unloaded until they reach Danville and hence avoid the delay at Greensborough, where the accumulation of supplies is immense. The president and directors who now control the road have power over no rolling-stock save that which belongs to the road itself, and in cases of emergency the Central Company are called upon to do the work. I have seen T. J. Sumner, superintendent and engineer of the Central Company, who says, that with proper management and much work the road can be put in good condition. The character of Mr. Sumner as an engineer is fully established and well known to the Quartermaster-General. If necessary, military possession should be taken of the road, otherwise the accumulation of supplies in Richmond will be impossible, and in future might force us to do that which we would not desire. From what I could see I think efforts will be made on the part of the president and directors who now manage it to hold the road, which should not be for a moment considered, as its present condition is sufficient to prove their incapacity or want of attention. My troops are now wanted in Wilmington, where they should have been two days ago. No one but yourself can make the above and much wanted change.

                        Very respectfully,

R. F. Hoke



P.S. – Mr. Sumner will at any time you wish go into Petersburg to communicate with you fully on the matter, as he feels the importance of the change, which I hope will be done. He can give you any and all the information you want about the delays.


R. F. Hoke



[First indorsement.]



January 9, 1865

            Respectfully submitted for the consideration of the Secretary of War.

RE Lee,



[Second indorsement.]

January 12, 1865

            This has received attention already.

J. A. Seddon,

Secretary of War.







Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 46, Part 2, pp. 1026-1027

Transcribed by Daniel Shevalier, 2018 June 19

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