<br /> Lee Letter: g023

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Jefferson Davis

Mr President

I think it certain that Genls Burnsides & King with their troops from Fredg have joined Genl Pope at Culpeper Ct House. Their numbers are variously estimated, reaching as high as 40,000. Putting them at 20,000, Popes force according to Genl. Jacksons estimate will be between 65,000 & 70,000 – This corresponds with accounts of intelligent men from Culpeper. Two citizens who had been taken prisoners made their escape from Culpeper Ct House yesterday & say from overheard conversations the federals estimate themselves at 92,000. They report nothing but provisions coming by R.R. from Alexa which is constantly arriving No troops unless they are drawing men from McClellan. I do not see where they will get them at present. I hope to hear every day of Imbodens success in his attempt on the B&O R.R. He started from Stanton sometime since with about 600 men & by his own calculations would have reached the trestle work four or five days since. We must make allowance for delays & difficulties. I hope he will be in time to arrest troops from the West – Report from Genl. French to-day McClellan is still sending off troops, s & I see a letter published in the Phila Enquirer of the 13th from its Fort Monroe correspondent, stating that the mail boat from Harrisons landing had reached Old Point 11 Aug. & that the indications were that a movement of the whole or a large part of the army was about taking place. If it was going up the river, I suppose it would have been discovered before this. If down, they must again be about to change their base of operations It may be that this part of the country is to be the scene of operations. In that event the war will for a season at least be removed from Richmond & I would recommend that the troops be removed too. The Garrisons can be kept up & the defences in every particular perfected. The completion of the Richmond should be pushed forward with all vigour & in a short time she would clear the river. I think the health as well as discipline of the Army will be benefited by a change to the Country from the town & the city itself receive a more healthy atmosphere – If it can be ascertained that McClellan is moving, unless his quarters can be beaten up, I would recommend that another division follow Andersons. I am with great respect

Your obt servt

R. E. Lee, Genl.


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

Printed in Douglas Southall Freeman, Lee’s Dispatches, Dispatch No. 23.