Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,

July 11, 1864

His Excellency Jefferson Davis,

President of the Confederate States:

Mr. President: As far as can be ascertained from information received from deserters, prisoners, scouts, and citizens the force that I mentioned in my letter of the 7th instant as having left General Grant’s army, consisted of Ricketts’ division, of the Sixth Corps. The same night about a brigade of cavalry, as I think, without their horses also went down the James. No other troops left Grant’s army as far as I can learn until yesterday, when it is reported by scouts on James River, sixteen transports loaded with troops, their arms, and knapsacks, in many instances plainly visible, descended the river. The reports received render it probable that the remainder of the Sixth Corps has gone. I send a special messenger to General Early with this information, and such suggestions as to his future movements as seem to be proper. I inclose a letter received from him to-day by the messenger first sent, from which you will learn his progress and purpose. I had hoped that General Grant, rather than weaken his army, would have attempted to drive us from our position. I fear I shall not be able to attack him to advantage, and if cannot I think it would be well to re-enforce General Early. In that way it would oblige him further to diminish his force.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

R E Lee,

General

 

 

 

Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 40, part 3, pp. 762-763

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 Januar