<br /> Lee Letter: g012

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Jefferson Davis

Mr. President

I have just returned from examining the ground at Westover occupied by the enemy. I enclose a rough sketch – The enemy is strongly posted in the neck formed by Herring creek & James river – The creek is not fordable, below where the road crosses it, except for a few hundred years; the rest is marshy & deep – Above it is fordable for infantry for about the same distance – The enemy’s batteries occupy the ridge along which the Charles City road runs, north of the creek, and his gunboats lying below the mouth of the creek sweep the ground in front of his batteries – Above his encampments which lie on the river, his gunboats also extend; where the ground is more favorable to be searched by their cannon. As far as I can now see, there is no way to attack him to advantage; nor do I wish to expose the men to the destructive missiles of his gunboats – Our troops are posted in line in his front & closer examinations of the ground are being made.

I fear he is too secure under cover of his boats to be driven from his position – I discover no intention of either ascending or crossing the river at present – Reinforcements have joined him 4 & his sick, wounded and demoralized troops have been sent down the river. I am most respecty

Your obt servt

R. E. Lee General.


W. J. De Renne CollectionWormsloe, Chatham County, Georgia (1914)

Printed in Douglas Southall Freeman, Lee’s Dispatches, Dispatch No. 12.