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Headquarters, August 14, 1862—9 a.m.

(Received August 16, 1862)

General James Longstreet,

Commanding, &c., Gordonsville, Va.:


General: Your note of 6.30 p. m. yesterday is just received. At this distance, without knowing the position of strength of the enemy, it is impossible for me to decide the question you propose. I incline, however, to the right-flank movement. The easiest way of accomplishing that I should prefer. You, being on the spot, with all information before you and the benefit of consultation with officers acquainted with the ground and circumstances, must use your own judgement and determine.

As soon as I learned yesterday that Burnside had left Fredericksburg I ordered Hood to march and report to you. Send him word to what point to direct his march. You can stop the troops in transit from here at Louisa, if you think fit, and direct them to move toward the Rappahannock.

I have directed Stuart to get ready his cavalry to move on. I have proposed, as I informed you when here, to send Stuart by the right to sweep around by the enemy’s rear and cut his communications when we get ready to move, keeping Jackson’s cavalry on our left and in the enemy’s front to disguise the movement. Is there any objection to this? If so, Stuart must be directed otherwise. I mention this because in your letter, after speaking of the movement forward, you say “the cavalry will be necessary on the other flank,” by which I infer you mean the left. It is all-important that our movement, in whatever direction it is determined, should be as quick as possible. I fear General Pope can be re-enforced quicker than ourselves; prepare accordingly. Order the transportation of the respective brigades to the point on the railroad you wish the troops to halt.

I had arranged to leave in the cars tomorrow morning at 4 o’clock to join you. Let me know where I shall find you. I should like, if convenient, to see Jackson, too.

Most respectfully and truly, yours,

R E Lee




Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 11, Part 3, p. 676

Transcribed by Colin Woodard, 2019 January 25