Head Quarters army of No. Va.

April 2nd 1863


Lt. Genl

J. Longstreet

Com’dg &c



Your letters of the 29th & 30th have been rec’d. I fear that the enemy, by preparation of constant falsehood & presented reports of intended advance on ? us; and that while acting on the defensive on the Rapk & Blackwater they may be reinforce their armies next, with a view to offensive operations. I do not think Burnsides Corps is in N. C but in Ky. Ll the inform that I get confirms the truth of this. Gen. Burnside reachd Cincinnati on the 24th and has assumed comd of the Dept of the Ohio. His corps is intended to operate in Ky. Where their papers state what a large rebel force is expected. It may be intended, however, that it should reinforce Rosecrantz. You are at any rate relieved of half the force that has been opposed to you. You will therefore be strong enough to ? any aggressive movement that you consider advisable; but as stated in former letters, as long as the enemy choose to remain on the defensive, & could by their intrenchment and floating batteries, I fear you can accomplish but little, except to draw provisions from the invaded districts. If you can accomplish this it will be of positive benefit. I leave the whole matter to your good judgments.

If your troops cannot be advantageously employed in the N. C. they will be very useful here; for unless Gen. Hooker soon takes the aggressive, I must endeavor to operate to draw him out.

All the reports from our scouts and citizens north of the Rappk shew that they are impressed with the belief that he will advance against us, as soon as the weather & roads permit. ? periods in the past month were appointed by him ? in every case he was prevented by storms.

I am with great respect

Very truly yours

R E Lee          




Source: Digital scan of letter, Cutts-Madison, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston

Transcribed by Colin Woodward