Translation of Letter from Gen. Robert E. Lee
to Confederate President, Jefferson Davis (1863)
His Excellency Jefferson Davis Headquarters E. N. V. near Hagerstown, Md, July
President Jd Mr. President,
My letter of yesterday should have informed you of the position of this
army. Though reduced in numbers by the hardships and battles through which
it has passed since leaving the Rappahannock its condition is good and its
When crossing the Potomac into Maryland, I had calculated upon the river
remaining fordable during the summer, so as to enable me to recross at my
pleasure, but a series of storms commencing the day after our entrance into
Maryland has placed the river beyond fording stage and the present storms
will keep it so for at least a week.
I shall therefore have to accept battle if the enemy offers it, whether
I wish to or not, and as the result is in the hands of the Sovereign Ruler
of the universe and known to him only, I deem it prudent to make every arrangement
in our power to meet any emergency that may arrive.
From information gathered from the papers I believe that the troops from
the North Carolina and the coast of Virginia, under Generals Foster and
Day have been ordered to the Potomac and that recently additional reinforcements
have been sent from the coast of South Carolina to General Banks. If I am
correct in my opinion this will liberate most of the troops in those regions
and should not your Excellency have already done so I earnestly recommend
that all that can be spared be concentrated on the upper Rappahannock under
Genereal Beauregard with directions to cross the river and make demonstration
This course will answer the double purpose of affording protection to the
capital at Richmond and relieving the pressure upon this army. I hope your
Excellency will understand that I am not in the least discouraged or that
my faith in the protection of an All merciful Providence, or in the fortitude
of this army is at all shaken. But though conscious that the enemy has been
much shattered in the recent battle I am aware that he can be easily reinforced
while no addition can be made to our numbers. The measure therefore that
I have recommended is altogether one of a prudential nature.
I am most respectfully your obedient servant, R. E. Lee, General
Library of Congress National Park Service
University of Kansas
Lee The Last Years
After his surrender at Appomattox, Robert E. Lee lived only another five years - the forgotten chapter of an extraordinary life. These were his finest hours, when he did more than any other American to heal the wounds between North and South
Robert E. Lee
This book not only offers concise detail but also gives terrific insight into the state of the Union and Confederacy during Lee's life. Lee was truly a one of kind gentleman and American, and had Virginia not been in the south or neutral, he ultimately would have led the Union forces.
Four Years With General Lee
Walter Taylor was staff officer to General Robert E. Lee. His book first appeared in 1877. For many years a standard authority on Confederate history, it is the source for dozens of incidents that have now become a part of every biography of Lee.
Lee and His Army in Confederate History
Robert E. Lee a gifted soldier whose only weaknesses lay in the depth of his loyalty to his troops, affection for his lieutenants, and dedication to the cause of the Confederacy?