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Hdqrs: Orange Co: 20 Apl ’64



I recd last night your letter of the 18th by your Courier. I regret that your troops are coming in so slowly. Can you not expedite them? As far as I can judge by the reports of our Scouts, the enemy are all prepared to advance, packed, provisioned & equipped, & waiting only for the ground to dry. Around us it is dry now, save in spots, & we may expect them any day. Their Arty, ambulances & pontoons are brought south of the Rappk but I Cannot ascertain what route they will take. Sutlers, taken sick, women &c sent to washington, I have not heard of Burnsides expedition leaving Annapolis, & have no way of learning save through their papers. Reports from Richmond recd from deserters state that he is assembling his troops at Williamsburg. A dispatch from Elzy recd last night reports upon information of a citizen from Williamsburg that he was landing troops at Yorktown & Gloucester Point. I think it doubtful. It certainly lacks confirmation. As to your going to Petersburg you can but judge whether you Can be spared from your Command & what arrangements you Can make for it. Your visit there, if not inconvenient & disadvantageous to your troops, may have the effect you anticipate, & if you think best you can go. Let me know what troops have arrived & who will Command in your absence &c. I send the authority in Case you should want to use it. I have endeavoured to push forwd the entrenchments around Richmond, as fast as possible for years. They are in pretty good Condition, now except the injury sustained through the winter & they are Connected with Chafins bluff. If you go to P__ you must return quickly.

Very truly

R E Lee





Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, #23312, Library of Virginia, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2022 June 13