PGBC Senior Prom - Stepping Out In Elegance - August 10th

Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia

November 2, 1863


Brig. Gen. J. D. Imboden,

Commanding, &c.:

General: I have received your letter of the 31st ultimo, by Capt. George W. Stump.

I think it very important, in the quiescent state of affairs in your department, to endeavor to drive the enemy from Hardy and Hampshire Counties, and break up his position at Romney and Petersburg; but I am unable at this time, to detach any portion of this army to your assistance. The enemy is reported to be again advancing toward the Rappahannock, and, until I can discover his intentions, I do not think it prudent to diminish my present force. But should an opportunity offer of re-enforcing you, I should be glad to do so. In the meantime, I hope you will take advantage of every occasion to annoy and harass the enemy, even if you cannot drive him north of the Potomac.

I would not recommend an attack on Romney or Petersburg, if they are so strongly fortified as you suppose, but suggest that you endeavor to draw the enemy out, by either attacking his line of communication, or some point on the railroad which will necessitate his moving against you. A thousand bold men, which you say you can mount, can accomplish a great deal by the promptness of their movements.

I will write to General Sam Jones to see if the operations in his department will enable him to re-enforce you: or, at any rate, to make a demonstration upon the enemy to prevent his concentrating upon you.

Your late exploit at Charlestown gives me great reason to hope that you will be able, before the approach of winter, to deal another serious blow upon the enemy at some point of his line. I hope, at any rate, you will be able to get out all the cattle, hogs, and horses that can be made available for our use.

It will be very advantageous to get out the flour you propose from Frederick, and the wheat from Clarke, if possible; but at this time I can do nothing to aid you.

In a conversation with Captain Stump, he thinks a great damage can be done to the transportation on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad by the operations of a party of picked men constantly hovering along its line and watching their opportunity.

I agree with him in thinking that much could be done in this way, but am aware of the difficulty of raising such a force. If you think it feasible, detachments might be made temporarily from your companies, under Captain Stump, and the practicability of the plan tested.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R E Lee





Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 29, Part 2, pp. 814-815

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 December 5