<br /> Lee Letter: g184

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Jefferson Davis

Mr President

I beg leave to repeat the suggestion I made to you in Richmond with reference to the publication, of a stringent order requiring all cotton, tobacco & naval stores to be burned to prevent them from falling into the hands of the enemy. I think the acquisition of these commodities, especially cotton, is greatly desired by the enemy for many reasons, as is shown by the seizure of all they can get access to, and by the intimation of their willingness to encourage the trade in it. I think if an order were issued, and published in all the papers, directing that all cotton &c in places exposed to the enemy, be stored in such a way that it can be fired on his approach without endangering other property, and that when this cannot be done for want of time, that it be burned in the streets and roads, at the same time holding military commanders responsible for the faithful execution of the order, it would have a very good effect in enabling us to make arrangements to render our cotton &c available as it is desired to do. The enemy would see that they can only get the cotton on the terms we propose, and besides, I think it very desirable to prevent him from getting it on any other. With great respect,

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. 184.