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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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

March 15, 1865


Hon. J. C. Breckinridge,

Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:

Sir: I have received a copy of the act to authorize the consolidation of companies, battalions, and regiments, approved 23d of February, 1865, referred to me for my opinion as to the propriety of issuing the necessary orders for carrying it into effect at the present time. The period is very unfavorable for executing the law. The principal army at the South, under General Johnston, is now in the field operating against the enemy, and it will be very difficult, if not impracticable, to recognize it. This army is in close proximity to the enemy, and active operations may commence any day. It would be extremely hazardous at this time, in my opinion, to begin a general consolidation of the regiments. As the Department under the law is authorized to issue general regulations on the subject, I think the law might be ordered to be carried into effect, provided the time be left discretionary with the commanders of the several armies. Occasion might be taken to unite certain companies, and advantageously, and some benefit be thus derived during the campaign.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

R E Lee,




Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 4, Volume 3, pp. 1143-1144

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 April 12    

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