Camp 24 July ’64


My dear Son


I have recd your letter of the 20th. Col Carters report of his operations was very satisfactory as far as they went, but they are not sufficient to arrest the navigation of the river. Nothing less in my opinion will produce the result desired. I have written to Genl Ewell on the subject, & I wish if in your power you would help him to a conclusion. I sent yesterday Genl Kershaws division to Chafins [Bluff] which I can ill spare & which I fear I shall be obliged soon to recall. Genl Early telegraphs that the 6th & 19th Corps he learned on the 23rd were moving back through Leesburg towards Alexa. I presume it is for the purpose of returning to Grant, where I shall require all the troops I Can get. If anything Can therefore be done it must be done quickly. I directed Genl Kershaw to take Command of the brigades under Conner [and] examine the enemys position at Deep bottom & see what Could be done. I have not heard from him yet. The 60th Alaba has been returned to Gracies brigade & B.R. Johnsons old brigade has been sent in its place. The latter seemed much worn down & I was in hopes a little relief would bring it up. Genl Garey does not seem yet to have his Cavy well in hand & perhaps on its present duties it is impossible to give it that instruction & discipline it requires. But until he does get it in that Condition it will never possess steadiness or reliability. Where are we to get sufficient troops to oppose Grant? He is bringing to him now the 19th Corps & will bring every man he can get. His talent & strategy Consists in accumulating overwhelming numbers. I see it stated in the papers that the enemy has abandoned the Transmissi Country. Is it so? They must be very weak & unless Kirby Smith Can operate to advantage in Missouri, he had better cross to this Side. There must be but few troops in Canby’s dept: now that the 19th Corps has been withdrawn. I recd the package of clothes. They are very nice & suit admirably. They are so much admired that I fear I shall have many applicants for their loan from the beaux. I saw F__ & Robt yesterday. Both well. Please send the accompy letter to your mother if you Can. I am glad to learn she is improving. Your devoted father R E Lee




1. James Conner (1829-1883) was born in Charleston, South Carolina, where he received his education in law. He opened a practice in Charleston and was appointed U.S. District Attorney from 1856 to 1860. During the Civil War, he commanded troops for over two years before resigning his command in 1863. He then served on a military court for the 2nd Corps in the Army of Northern Virginia. Conner was promoted to brigadier general in June of 1864, whereupon he returned to field command. After the war, he resumed practicing law and was elected Attorney General of South Carolina in 1876.



Source: Transcribed from digital scan of original letter, Robert E. Lee Papers, Rubenstein Library, Duke University

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2022 June 22