Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,

Camp near Fredericksburg, Va., December 29, 1862


Maj. Gen. Samuel Jones,

Commanding Department of Western Virginia:         


General: It is reported by General W. E. Jones, in command of the Valley District, that General Milroy has established himself at Petersburg and in the valley of the South Branch of the Potomac, and has issued orders with a view of bringing the citizens of that section under the government of the so-called State of Western Virginia. From copies of the orders transmitted to me, and the oath of allegiance prescribed, it is plain that great oppression and injustice is contemplated to our citizens. I have directed General Jones to concentrate all the troops in the valley, and to endeavor to drive the enemy across the Potomac. I understand that there are three companies of Jenkins’ cavalry brigade scattered over Augusta and Rockbridge Counties, and that these companies are to reassemble at Salem, Roanoke County, on the 5th proximo. I have thought it probable that the whole brigade might be available for service in the valley, which would make the expulsion of the enemy easier and more certain. Should this be so, or should there be any other troops in your department more available for this purpose, I request that you will unite them to the command of Col. H. B. Davidson, at Staunton.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R E Lee ,




Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 21, p. 1081

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 February 28