<br /> Lee Letter: g148

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Jefferson Davis

Mr. President,

As far as my judgment and experience enable me to decide, I am convinced that the cavalry service will be benefitted by having one officer to control its operations, and to be held responsible for its condition. Since the death of Gen Stuart, I have placed each division under the charge of its division commander, and when two or more have operated together, have directed the superior officer to assume command. The disadvantage of this arrangement in my opinion is that he neither feels nor exercises that authority which is required by the responsibility of his position. It is taken up one day and laid aside the next, and is not as effective as if exercised by one who is permanently and solely responsible. You know the high opinion I entertain of Gen Hampton, and my appreciation of his character and services. In his late expedition he has displayed both energy and good conduct, and although I have feared that he might not have that activity and endurance so necessary in a cavalry commander, and so eminently possessed by Gen Stuart, yet should you be unable to assign Anyone to the command of the cavalry in this army whom you deem possessed of higher qualifications, I request authority to place him in the command. If this be done, it will necessitate appointing a commander for his division, and will hereafter recommend to you some person for that position.

With high respect Your obt servt

R. E. Lee Genl.

Notes:

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

Printed in Douglas Southall Freeman, Lee’s Dispatches, Dispatch No. 148.