Headquarters Department of Northern Virginia,

Camp near Culpeper Court-House, November 19, 1862—9 a.m.


Lieut. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson,

Near Winchester:

General: Your letter of the 18th has been received. It is certainly important to deceive the enemy as long as possible as to our position and intentions, provided it is rendered certain that a junction can be made before a battle, and this latter point we must always keep in view, as necessary to enable us to resist the large force now on the Rappahannock.

As to the place where it may be necessary or best to fight, I cannot now state, as this must be determined by circumstances which may arise. I do not now anticipate making a determined stand north of the North Anna. Longstreet’s corps is moving to Fredericksburg, opposite to which place Sumner’s corps has arrived.

As before stated, you can remain in the valley as long as you see that your presence there cripples and embarrasses the general movements of the enemy, and yet leaves you free to unite with Longstreet for a battle.

I will advise you from time to time of the movements of the enemy and of mine, as far as they can be discovered, and with as little delay as possible; but you must make allowances for the inaccuracy of the first and the delay of the second, and predicate your movements so as to be on the safe side.

Colonel Corley has placed a thousand bushels (I think he stated) of corn at Madison Court-House; but, at any rate, enough, in his opinion, to fill up your wagons after reaching that point, until you can get further supplies.

Phillips’ Legion was left, by Stuart, with General D. H. Hill. I wish you would direct it to join Hampton’s brigade.

General Stuart wrote from Warrenton, at 6.30 p.m. yesterday, that Hooker’s, Sumner’s, Reynolds’, and Burnside’s (old) corps had passed through Warrenton, in the direction of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. The last of the infantry and artillery passed through yesterday at 2 p.m.; the last of the cavalry at 3 p.m. Part of Sigel’s corps had been there under Stahel. Sumner’s corps marched on Sunday from Catlett’s Station toward Fredericksburg. He considers the information he received as conclusive that Burnside’s whole army had marched for Fredericksburg. General Halleck had been to Warrenton on a visit I shall wait to hear again from Stuart today, and will then start for Fredericksburg, if circumstances warrant.

I am, most respectfully,

R E Lee





Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 21, pp. 1021-1022

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 December 18