<br /> Lee Letter: g179

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Jefferson Davis

Mr President

I have seen Genl Hampton & concluded under the discretion given me in your letter of the 11th to detach Genl Butler’s division of Cavy to S.C. for service there this winter, but it is with the understanding that it is to return to me in the spring in time for the opening of the campaign – Without this condition, I think it would be disadvantageous to send it. May I ask you to impose this condition & let me know. In the meantime I will get the men ready to start. Genl Hampton thinks he can mount the men in S.C. & will telegraph to the Gent to collect horses, which the men will buy if placed at reasonable prices. The horses here will be placed in camp in N.C. or with Major Paxton at Lancaster, & the men transported by rail If the Gent can give no assurance of their procuring mounts, or if Hampton cannot make arrangements for subsistence of the horses, I will not send them. I think Hampton will be of service in mounting his men & arousing the spirit & strength of the State & otherwise do good. I will therefore send him. He will report the State of affairs on his arrival & then you can determine, whether it will be necessary to take any steps in reference to him. He will take immediate measures to place Butler in the field & I desire Youngs brigade to be ordered to join Butler. I understand Young prefers Comrng his brigade to a division under Wheeler.

Genl Bragg telegraphs at 8 P.M. yesterday from Sugar Loaf, that the enemy succeeded on the night of the 13th in extending a line across the Peninsula between him & Ft Fisher That upon close examination he thought it too strong to attack with his inferior force. Fisher has been reinforced with sufficient veterans to make it safe & that the width of the river is such that the enemy cannot controul it even with Arty of which he has as yet landed none. Bombardment of Fisher on the 14th light-weather continues fine & sea smooth – I have telegraphed in reply to concentrate his forces & endeavour to dislodge him. That he will land his cannon & besiege Fisher He gives no estimate of strength of enemy, & makes no call for reinforcements.

With great 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. 179.