Head Qrs Dept NVa

18 November 1862


I send you a dispatch just recd from Genl Jackson; also one from Lieut Smith who is north of the Rappahannock. By the former it wd. appear that the enemy is strengthening himself at Harpers Ferry & middleburg; which is probably owing to Jacksons presence & the operations of the cavalry. By the latter it wd. seem that only Sumners Corps had advanced upon Fredburg. Do you think that the fo[r]ce now at Fredericksburg (Ball’s cavalry; Grimes’s inftry regt two Miss comps inftry & two light batteries/ strengthened by McLaws and Ransome’s divisions & Lee’s brigade of cavalry, can hold it in check. If so it would be better to retain yr other divisions until we can get further intelligence. I have ordered Lane’s long ranged battery to follow McLaws. I fear I may not hear from Stuart till morning. Please return the enclosed letters.

I am most respy

yr obt svt.

R E Lee


P.S. Nothing further from Fredburg since you left.




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

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2019 February 4