Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,

Near Fredericksburg, November 25, 1862—7 p.m.

Lieut. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson,

Commanding Corps:


General: I received this evening your note of 7.10 a.m., from near Strasburg. I wrote to you this morning, and referred on a communication forwarded on the 23d instant. In both I gave the position of the enemy and of our forces, and presented suggestions for your consideration and adoption, should the circumstances by which you are surrounded render is advisable.

The enemy is still quiet in our front, presenting a small force to view; but his whole army, I believe, stretches from the Rappahannock to the Potomac. As far as I can discover, all his forces in Eastern Virginia appear to be concentrated here, and, from the tone of the Northern papers, I judge that it is a settled purpose of the Washington Government that the advance upon Richmond shall be made from this point. As yet no movement has been made, or any attempt, to bridge the Rappahannock. The delay may be occasioned by the necessity of reconstructing the wharves on the Potomac and railway to the Rappahannock. I have thought that if we could take a threatening position on his right flank, as a basis from which Stuart, with his cavalry, could operate energetically, he would be afraid to advance, and hence I hoped that you would have found it convenient to cross the Blue Ridge at Chester Gap, so as to threaten him through Fauquier or Culpeper. I believe now, if you take a position at Culpeper Court-House, throw forward your advance to Rappahannock Station, and cross the cavalry over the river, the enemy would hesitate long before making a forward movement. Should, however, the condition of your corps, the weather, or other circumstances render this movement unadvisable, you can proceed, by easy marches, through Gordonsville or Orange Court-House, to join me here.

I am, &c.,

R E Lee




Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 21, pp. 1031-1032

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 January 3