Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,

November 27, 1862


Lieut. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson,

Commanding, &c.:

General: Your letter of the 26th instant, from Madison Court-House, has been received. I presume your letter of the 23d, to which you refer, was the one written from near Strasburg, to which I replied on the 25th instant.

In a letter to you of the 26th instant, I suggested the probability that it was too late to make the movement projected to threaten the enemy’s rear, as another storm, which may be anticipated at any time at this season, would render the roads impassable, and subject your troops to labor and suffering to which I am unwilling to expose them upon a doubtful issue. Should, therefore, in your judgment, nothing be probably gained by such a demonstration, I desire you to continue your route, without fatigue to your men, to this place, taking position on the Massaponax, in easy distance from the railroad, by which your subsistence will have to be drawn.

The orders for the general courts-martial in your brigade, I am informed by the Adjutant-General, have been issued and forwarded to you. I concur with you entirely as to the advantages of speedy trials and prompt punishment. The proceedings of the general courts-martial in your corps, about Winchester, were acted upon before my departure for Richmond, and placed in the hands of the printer for publication. General George H. Steuart was desired to expedite their completion, and to send half of the copies to you and half to my headquarters. The whole, however, were sent to me, at Culpeper Court-House, from whence one hundred and fifty copies were sent back to you. I hope they have reached you before this.

Reports from the scouts received today show that the enemy’s forces are concentrated on the railroad between Aquia and Fredericksburg. They are encamped on the Telegraph road, and extend from Chopawamsic Creek to Stafford Court-House.

The wharf at Aquia is finished, and the cars and locomotives on the track. Four war steamers, seven gunboats, and six steamers were seen in the river, also fifteen sail vessels and tug-boats, towing barges loaded with stores. There were no signs of embarkation. They were opening a road from Evansport to Brooke’s water station, on the railroad. A small force was at Dumfries and Occoquan, constructing telegraph line to Alexandria.

There is said to be a small cavalry force at Brentsville.

All accounts agree that general dissatisfaction prevails in the army.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

R E Lee



P.S.—Your letter of the 20th from Winchester is only just received.



Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 21, p. 1035

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 January 5