<br /> Lee Letter: g159

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Jefferson Davis

Mr. President

I send you a paper of the 10th Inst. containing Mr Seery. Stanton’s bulletin to Gen. Dix, acknowledging a defeat of Genl Wallace at Monocacy by Genl. Early. I have also reed a dispatch from Genl Fitz Lee this evg reporting that he met Gen. Gregg with his division advancing towards Reams station, charged him with three of his regts: & drove him back, capturing some 30 men & two officers – His loss small. The enemy’s not known He thinks he was moving against the R.R. We have only had it in operation two days, but have got through several trains of Corn & provisions.

I am distressed at the intelligence conveyed in your telegram of today. It is a grievous thing to change commander of an army situated as is that of the Tennessee. Still if necessary it ought to be done. I know nothing of the necessity. I had hoped that Johnston was strong enough to deliver battle. We must risk much to save Alabama, Mobile & communication with the Trans Misspi – It would be better to concentrate all the Cavy in Misspi & Tenn: on Shermans communications – If Johnston abandons Atlanta I suppose he will fall back on Augusta – This loses us Misspi & communication with Trans Misspi – We had better therefore hazard that communication to retain the Country. Hood is a good fighter very industrious on the battle field, careless off & I have had no opportunity of judging of his action, when the whole responsibility rested upon him. I have a high opinion of his gallantry, earnestness & zeal. Genl Hardee has more experience in managing an army.

May God give you wisdom to decide in this momentous matter.

Truly & respy Yours

R. E. Lee

P.S. To-day we could get no papers from the enemy, from which I inferred there was some good news they wished to withold. The one sent was captured. You must excuse its condition.

R. E. Lee

Notes:

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

Printed in Douglas Southall Freeman, Lee’s Dispatches, Dispatch No. 159.