Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia

January 16, 1865

Hon. Secretary of War,


            Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 12th instant, with its inclosures. I thank you for your prompt and energetic measure for the relief of the army. As soon as I was informed of the breach in our railroad connections I issued the inclosed appeal to the farmers and others in the country accessible by our remaining communications, and sent Major Tannahill to them to obtain all the supplies that could be procured. I am glad to say that so far as I know the crisis in relation to this matter is now past.

                        Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

RE Lee





January 19, 1865

            Noted with pleasure. It was the most effectual mode of obtaining supplies – more effective, I doubt not, than the coercive action of the Department.

J. A. S.




Headquarters of the Army of Northern Virginia,

January 16, 1865.

To the Farmers East of the Blue Ridge and South of the James River

            The recent heavy freshet having destroyed a portion of the railroad from Danville to Goldsborough, and thereby cut off temporarily necessary supplies for the Army of Northern Virginia, an appeal is respectfully made to the farmers, millers, and other citizens to furnish, with all possible promptness, whatever breadstuffs, meat (fresh or salt), and molasses they can spare. Such citizens as Maj. Robert Tannahill may select are asked to act as agents in purchasing and collecting supplies through the various officers connected with the commissary department on the lines of railroad. Arrangements have been made to pay promptly for all supplies delivered under this appeal, or to return the same in kind as soon as practicable.

RE Lee.







Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 46, Part 2, pp. 1074-1075

Transcribed by Daniel Shevalier, 2018 June 19