Dobb’s House, Va., June 3, 1862


Maj. W. H. Stevens,

Chief Engineer Army of Northern Virginia:


Major: I desire you to make an examination of the country in the vicinity of the line which our army now occupies, with a view of ascertaining the best position in which we may fight a battle or resist the advance of the enemy. The commanding points on this line I desire to be prepared for occupation by our field guns and the whole line strengthened by such artificial defenses as time and opportunity may permit. My object is to make use of every means in our power to strengthen ourselves and to enable us to fight the enemy to the best advantage. It is not intended to construct a continuous line of defense or to erect extensive works. Having selected the line and put the works in progress of construction, I desire you to resume the examination and see what other positions can be taken nearer Richmond in case of necessity. You will please make requisitions upon the commanders of divisions in the vicinity of the works to be constructed for such working parties as may be necessary. You must also make arrangements to collect such tools as may be with the army, and I have to request that you will push forward the work with the utmost diligence.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


R E Lee



Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Vol. 11, Part 3, pp. 571-572.


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 March 1