Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,

January 22, 1863

Col. H. B. Davidson,

Commanding at Staunton, Va.:


Colonel: From present appearances, I am inclined to believe that General Burnside is concentrating all the forces within his reach, with a view of advancing south of the Rappahannock. The troops in the vicinity of Alexandria, presumed to be General Slocum’s command, with a long train of wagons, are all reported to be marching in the direction of Dumfries or Fredericksburg. General Milroy is reported to have abandoned Moorefield, and to have advanced a portion of his troops to Front Royal. It may be his intention to cross the Blue Ridge, and unite with General Burnside. In that event, I have directed General W. E. Jones to throw his force east of the mountains, and unite with this army. Should there be nothing to detain the troops under your command, and those under Colonel Imboden, at Staunton, I desire that you will join General Jones with all your available forces, should you be called on. In the mean time make all preparations for your march, should it become necessary. Please let me know your available strength.

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

R E Lee





Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 21, p. 1108

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 March 12