<br /> Lee Letter: g186

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Jefferson Davis

Mr President

In my letter of the 29th Inst: I informed you of the report of the Scouts west of the Valley, relative to the passage of troops over the Bal: & Ohio R.R. from Genl Thomas to Genl Grant. This report is confirmed by Fitz Lees Scouts in the vicinity of Winchester, who state that 15000 troops have passed over said road going to Grant. A second dispatch from Genl Early states that Major Gilmer reports from Hardy Co that large bodies of troops from Thomas army are passing over the Bat: & Ohio R.R. & Northern Central, Eastward, estimated between twenty & forty thousand. The Wheeling Intelligencer of the 23rd says ten or fifteen thousand of Thomas troops were in Bellaire awaiting transportation on B&O R.R. I presume there is no doubt of the fact, & probably the delay in recg Messrs Stephens, Hunter & Campbell, is occasioned by the arrival of some of these troops in James river, which they do not wish disclosed. Grant seems to be taking advantage of the condition of things with the West to bring all his troops East, & will probably move against Richmond the first opportune moment. Hoods army & the troops West of the Mississippi will have little to oppose them, & as they cannot operate there, they should be moved East as rapidly as possible – As stated in my former letter I fear with our present force here, Grant will be enabled to envelope Richmond, or turn both of our flanks & I see no way of increasing our strength. Very respy

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. 186.