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Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,

May 7, 1863

Lieut. Gen. James Longstreet,

Commanding &c.:

General: I have just received yours of 2d instant upon my return to my former camp.

My letter of the 1st instant, to which you refer, was intended to apprise you of my intended movement, and to express the wish rather than the expectation that one of your divisions could cooperate in it. I did not intend to express the opinion that you could reach me in time, as I did not think it practicable. The emergency that made your presence so desirable has passed for the present, so far as I can see, and I desire that you will not distress your troops by a forced movement to join me, or sacrifice for that purpose any public interest that your sudden departure might make it necessary to abandon. The only immediate service that your troops could render would be to protect our communications from the enemy’s cavalry and assist in punishing them for the damage they have done.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R E Lee

General

 

 

 

Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Vol. 25, Part 2, p. 783

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 May 9