<br /> Lee Letter: g029

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Jefferson Davis

Mr President

My dispatches will have informed you of the march of this portion of the army. Its progress has been necessarily slow, having a large and superior force on its flank; narrow & rough roads to travel, and the difficulties of obtaining forage & provisions to contend with. It has so far advanced in safety and has succeeded in deceiving the enemy as to its object. The movement has, as far as I am able to judge, drawn the enemy from the Rappahannock frontier and caused him to concentrate his troops between Manassas & Centreville My desire has been to avoid a general engagement, being the weaker force, & by manoeuvring to relieve the portion of the country referred to – I think if not overpowered we shall be able to relieve other portions of the country, as it seems to be the purpose of the enemy to collect his strength here – This morning General Anderson’s division arrived and Col Lee’s reserve batteries. The partial contests in which both wings of the army have been obliged to engage has reduced our ammunition, & the reinforcements seem to be advancing slowly – I have heard of none on the road except Genl Ripley, one mile south of Amissville on yesterday evening – In order that we may obtain the advantages I hope for, we must be in larger force; and I hope every exertion will be made to create troops & to increase our strength & supplies – Beef, flour & forage may be obtained in the back country by proper exertions in the different departments ; & it will be far better for us to consume them than to leave them for the enemy – We have no time to lose & must make every exertion if we expect to reap advantage. I have the honor to be With high respect

Your obt servant

R. E. Lee Genl.

Notes:

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

Printed in Douglas Southall Freeman, Lee’s Dispatches, Dispatch No. 29.