Camp near Culpeper,

November 17, 1862

 

His Excellency Jefferson Davis,

President of the Confederate States:

Mr. President: There is a general movement of the enemy from Warrenton, and he is falling down to the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. I am not certain as to his destination. There are indications of his retiring toward Alexandria, but I have apprehended that he would transfer himself to Fredericksburg, and establish his base on the Potomac and Rappahannock, but there is nothing to show his purpose in that direction beyond the guards established on the roads leading to Fredericksburg, which would naturally be done to cut off information of his movements toward Alexandria. I have heard of no preparation to rebuild the wharves at Aquia Creek. Colonel Ball is engaged in breaking up the railroad to that point. I should think some provision would be made for subsisting a large army if a movement upon Fredericksburg was designed. The enemy’s trains from Warrenton move in the direction of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. The cars on said road are in active operation. I cannot tell whether they are carrying back or bringing forward troops.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

                R E Lee,

General

 

 

 

Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 21, pp. 1014-1015

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 December 11