<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.


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

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