Headquarters, January 18, 1864


Lieut. Gen. R. S. Ewell, Commanding, &c.:

General: I have received your letter of the 15th, transmitting a communication to you from the Secretary of War, with your reply. I am glad to hear that you now experienced no inconvenience from your injury, and hope you may continue to feel none.

Your answer to the Secretary is such as I would expect from a true soldier and patriot as yourself. But I cannot take upon myself to decide in this matter. You are the proper person, on consultation with your medical advisers. I do not know how much ought to be attributed to long absence from the field, general debility, or the result of your injury, but I was in constant fear during the last campaign that you would sink under your duties or destroy yourself. In either event injury might have resulted. I last spring asked for your appointment provided you were able to take the field. You now know from experience that you have to undergo, and can best judge of your ability to endure it. I fear we cannot anticipate less labor than formally.

Wishing you every happiness, and that you may be able to serve the country to the last,

I am, very truly, yours

R. E.  Lee,





Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 33, pp. 1095-1096

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2021 November 21