<br /> Lee Letter: g050

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Jefferson Davis

Mr President

I have had the honour to receive your letter of the 26 Inst: & regret that I should not have been more explicit in my former communication – I think Genl Pender deserves promotion on account of valour & skill displayed on many fields, & particularly at the battle of Chancellorsville – I have so stated in my remarks on a letter of Genl A. P. Hill, forwd to the A. & I. Genl – He has worked so faithfully with the division in which he is, that to pass him over in the selection of a Commander for it, might be injurious to the division & discouraging to other officers – I have therefore recommended him for promotion – As the other division will be composed of Heths, Archers, Pettigrews & one other, either Ransoms, Cookes or Perrys if I can get no other, I have recommd Heth the Senior – I should be very glad to have a division for Ransom, & should dislike to lose him from this army – I think he will make a fine division Commander – Under the circumstances I do not think any better arrangement can be made than what you propose – Send Genl French to Mississippi & put Ransom in his place – Genl French wishes to go to Mississippi & if he could serve with Arty I think would be useful – From Genl Longstreets account while under his command & as far as I have been able to judge from a distance he has no experience with Infy – I have forwd Genl D. H. Hills report of his operations below Kinston. One of his regts: on picket was surprised & behaved badly – He moved down with two brigades & drove the enemy within their trenches, but could accomplish no other benefit – He thinks Genl Foster has a large force there still – I can get no satisfactory information of the force of the enemy at West Point or of their purpose – Genl Elzys scout places his strength at 15,000, which I cannot believe – From the division of the Federal dept. into three districts under Naglie, Prince & Wessells, I have thought it probable that Genl Foster might be transferring his force to W[est] P[oint]. But that is not conclusive as Genl F – – may still be retained in Command of the whole – I am glad to hear that the accounts from Vicksburg continue encouraging – I pray & trust that Genl Johnston may be able to destroy Grants army – I fear if he cannot attack soon, he will become too strong in his position – No time should ever be given them to fortify. They work so fast. Yet I know how hard it is to be ready with our means. If the organization you propose of local forces in the different States can be successfully carried out, it will add greatly to our strength – I hope your Excys health will continue to improve & that you may soon be restored – With great esteem

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. 50.