<br /> Lee Letter: g192

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Jefferson Davis

His Excellency Jefferson Davis President.

Genl. Johnston at 1.30 P.M. today telegraphs from Smithfield “Sherman’s whole army being entrenched in my front morning of 10th. we did not attack, but held our position to cover removal of wounded and occupy enemy. There was heavy skirmishing 10th. & 21st., and several partial attacks by him handsomely repulsed. Troops of Tennessee Army have fully disproved slanders that have been published against them Evening and night of 21st. enemy moved towards Goldsboro where Schofield joined him, and yesterday we came here.

Sherman’s course cannot be hindered by the small force I have. I can do no more than annoy him. I respectfully suggest that it is no longer a question whether you leave present position. You have only to decide where to meet Sherman.”

Please give me your counsel.

(Signed) R. E Lee

[Endorsed] Genl. R. E. Lee Hd. Qrs. March 23. 65. Telegram in cypher. Recd. March 23. 65.

Notes:

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

Printed in Douglas Southall Freeman, Lee’s Dispatches, Dispatch No. 192.