Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,

July 13, 1862

 

Maj. Gen. T. H. Holmes,

Commanding Department of North Carolina, &c.:

General: Your letter of the 12th instant has been received. I take pleasure in expressing my gratification at the skillful and bold conduct of Colonel Cooke. Should you think his continuance on his present service advantageous he can remain or be withdrawn, according to your judgment. The information with reference to the movements of General Burnside I consider highly probable. If confirmed, the troops at Goldsborough and other points within the State, save to prevent expeditions, will be unnecessary; nor need there be men more than sufficient to garrison the batteries on Cape Fear River, to prevent the ascent of the enemy’s vessels. I would therefore recommend that you concentrate all the rest of the force between the Appomattox and Drewry’s Bluff, disposing them in the best position to protect the approaches to the battery at the latter point, and to cover that section of the country as far as possible from the minds of the enemy. I directed Major Meade, of the Engineers, some days since, to commence a system of land defense from Drewry’s Bluff, encircling the approaches to Manchester. Should the health of Major Stevens, whose attention had been previously [directed] to the same object, have prevented him from entering upon this duty, I desire this work pushed with all possible dispatch.

In bringing on the troops from your department it is desirable that arrangements be made so as to interfere as little as possible with the transportation of the troops supposed now on their way from the Department of South Carolina.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

 R E Lee,

General

 

 

 

Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 11, Part 3, p. 640

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 October 25