Head Qrs Va Forces

Richmond Va

May 15th 1861


Colonel P St Geo: Cocke

Commanding &c

Culpepper Court House Va



            I have received your letter of the 14th inst. and am gratified at your arrangements for the defence of Manassas Junction, and the favorable account you give of the Country towards the Potomac for defensive operations. I hope by a judicious use of its natural obstacles, that the march of a hostile column will be much embarrassed. I have to request that you will endeavor to fill up Colonel Garlands and Colonel Preston’s Regiment, & that you will send such re-inforcements to Manassas Junction as in your judgment may be necessary or as may be requested by Colonel Terrett. Please direct the troops you may send to the Junction to report to Colonel Garland and place them under Colonel Terrett’s orders. I beg leave also to request that you will give to Colonel Terrett, the benefit of your information and advice respecting the troops and country in which he is operating. It is desired to strengthen that whole line as rapidly as the organization of troops will admit to resist any attack from the forces of Washington. Hitherto it was impossible to concentrate an adequate force for the defense of Alexandria, an abortive attempt at which would in my opinion have had no other effect than to hazard the destruction of the City. The path at Norfolk and Harper’s Ferry which seemed to be first threatened, being in some measure fortified, our resources can now be applied to your line of operations. Should an advance be made on Col Terrett or an intention be manifested to seize the Manassas Junction, you are desired to sustain Colonel Terrett with your whole force.


Respectfully yr obt servt

 R E Lee

Maj Genl Commg


Source: University of Virginia Special Collections, facsimile on file, DuPont Library, Stratford Hall


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 January 11