<br /> Lee Letter: g185

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee to
Recipient: Jefferson Davis

Mr President

In a dispatch reed from Genl Early to-day, he states that Major McDonald commg the picket line on Lost river, reports from information reed from his Scouts, “that a large portion of Thomas Army is passing over the Bal: & Ohio R.R. to Grant.” I have directed him to ascertain the truth of the report. A grand movement was announced in a N.Y. paper sometime since on the part of Thomas, (about the time that Hood was reported to have crossed the Tennessee,) which indicated his appearance in another quarter. Since that the Northern papers asserted that he was going into Winter qrs: & further operations need not be expected from him for some time. The latter report may have been intended to call attention from the former. I think it probable that in the present condition of the army of Tennessee Grant may determine to strengthen his own with a portion of Thomas, to enable him to operate against Richmond. His present force is so superior to ours, that if he is reinforced to any extent, I do not see how in our present position he can be prevented from enveloping Richmond. Such a combination is his true policy & therefore I fear it is true. It is possible however that these troops may be a part of Shermans on the way to him. I saw it stated, that parts of two corps were in Nashville preparing to join him. Reinforcements to Sherman would be almost as bad in its consequences as to Grant – A few days I presume will discover the movement 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. 185.