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Richmond Aug. 31st 1863.

Lt. Genl J. Longstreet

Hd. Qrs. Army No: Va


I have wished for several days past to return to the army, but have been detained by the President. He will not listen to my proposition to leave tomorrow.

I hope you will use every exertion to prepare the army for offensive operations and improve the condition of men and animals. I can see nothing better to be done than to endeavor to bring General Meade out and use our efforts to crush his army while in its present condition.

The Quarter Master’s Dept promise to send up 3,000 bushels of corn per day provided the cars can be unloaded and returned without delay. I hope you will be able to arrange it so that the cars will not be detained. With this supply of corn if it can be maintained, the condition of our animals should improve.

Very Respy & truly Yours

 R E Lee





Source: Photocopy of original letter, not in Lee’s handwriting, but signed by Lee, Helen M. Taylor Collection, Section 6, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2019 May 1