Hd Qrs Army N Va

3rd Dec 1862


Lt Gen J Longstreet

Comdg &c



I have just received a note from General Stuart, who has been closely reconnoitering all day about Port Royal. He thinks the Hazelwood farm a very favorable place for the enemy to cross, there being three points within a quarter of a mile of each other where pontoon bridges may be constructed. He also discovered an officer whom he took to be of the Engineer corps, reconnoitering these positions, who left rather abruptly on being seen. The Mr Dickinson who sent word yesterday that the enemy were about to throw a pontoon bridge over at Hazelwood farm, is represented to be one [of] the most worthy citizens of King George County, and gives information that there is a large force of the enemy in that county opposite Port Royal. In addition, Colonial Long heard today that a citizen physician got over yesterday from the other side of the Rappahannock, and reports that there is but a small force of the enemy in our front, that a large force is in King George, opposite Port Royal, and another large body of troops above Fredericksburg in the vicinity of Ellis’ Ford, where Gen Burnside’s Hd. Qrs. are said to be.

Further information received from the other side of the Rappahannock today, states that President Lincoln was yesterday at Aquia Creek, and informed Gen Burnside that he must advance within two days. A good deal of this is incredible to me, but so many rumors may indicate that a movement is contemplated, and I send them to you that you may be apprised and prepared. Major Talcott has returned from his reconnoisance [sic] of the Rappahannock above Fredericksburg, and is of the opinion that there is no favorable point for the enemy’s crossing, unless it be at Bank’s ford, about three miles above the town where he thinks they might get across.

I am very respectfully

Your obt servt

R E Lee





Source: Digital scan of original letter, not in Lee’s handwriting but signed by him, Cutts-Madison Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 December 27