Hdqrs. Department of Northern Virginia

August 4, 1862


Col. L. B. Northrop,

Chief Commissary, C. S. Army:


Colonel: While I recognize the necessity of enlarging your force in order to accomplish the object mentioned in my letter of the 30th ultimo, I must beg you to do this, if possible, without reducing the rank and file of the army. A large number of the best soldiers in the Army have been discharged under the conscript act in the last few weeks, and these discharges are made daily. It may be possible to obtain all the force which you wish from among these men by active and immediate efforts. If this cannot be done, then the details will be made from the Army, as a sufficient supply of bread is an absolute necessity in our operations. I hope the number of such details will be as limited as possible, and that every effort will be made to obtain all the force required outside the Army.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R  E Lee,





Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 11, Part 3, pp. 662-663

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2019 January 3