Headquarters, August 5, 1862

General Jubal A. Early,

Commanding Brigade, &c.:

General: Your letter of the 23d ultimo has just been received. I regret that you consider yourself unassigned to a command. I had hoped that your present command was agreeable to you. The service is important, requiring an officer of intelligence and capacity, and I know of no one to whom the brigade could be better intrusted than yourself. I consider, too, from your knowledge of the country and people, that you were peculiarly qualified for the duty, and congratulated myself that you were available. From the many changes constantly occurring in the service, arising from causes beyond my control, it is difficult for me to consider any position more permanent than another. Your present brigade, it is true, was last commanded by General Elzey, and upon his restoration to duty it may be considered proper to assign him to it. But you surely would be considered entitled to another command, nor can General Orders, No. 47, in my opinion, apply to yourself or Generals Elzey and E. Johnson, inasmuch as your original brigades are in service. On entering upon duty with this army I found your former brigade under the command of General Garland. In carrying out the policy of the Government of brigading the regiments by States, the two Virginia regiments were transferred, the one to Kemper, the other to Armistead, with a view of forming Virginia brigades, and North Carolina regiments were added to the Sixth and Twenty-third North Carolina Regiments to form a North Carolina brigade. I am ignorant of the abundant opportunities to which you refer for providing you with a command that have been neglected, unless you allude to the appointment by the President of commanders to certain vacant brigades and of vacancies still existing in others. I wished to assign you to the command of a Virginia brigade, nor did I consider the command of either of those that have been filled would be as agreeable to you as your present command. The numerous vacancies that have occurred have taken much time for the selection of officers to fill them, nor is it yet done. I can only assure you that confidence in your zeal and ability has been increased instead of diminished by your service, and that the honorable wound you received at Williamsburg in the defense of your country is viewed as a badge of distinction and claim for high consideration instead of crime, as you suppose.

I am, with high esteem, your obedient servant,

R E Lee,




Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 11, Part 3, pp. 664-665

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2019 January 3