<br /> Lee Letter: g181

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Jefferson Davis

Mr President

I recd tonight your letter of the 18h Inst: stating that it had been reported to you that I had changed my opinion in regard to the extension of my duties, while retaining command of the army of N. Va – I do not know how such a report originated, nor am I aware of having said anything to have authorized it. I do not think that while charged with my present command embracing Virginia & N.C. & the immediate controul of this army I could direct the operations of the armies in the S. Atlantic States. If I had the ability I would not have the time. The arrangement of the details of this army extended as it is, providing for its necessities & directing its operations engrosses all my time & still I am unable to accomplish what I desire & see to be necessary. I could not therefore propose to undertake more. I am greatly gratified by the expression of your confidence in offering me the extensive command proposed in your letter, but I must state that with the addition of the immediate command of this army I do not think I could accomplish any good. I am willing to undertake any service to which you think proper to assign me, but I do not wish you to be misled as to the extent of my capacity. I am with great respect

Your obt servt

R. E. Lee


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

Printed in Douglas Southall Freeman, Lee’s Dispatches, Dispatch No. 181.