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Headquarters, July 23, 1862

Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson,

Commanding Valley District:

General: I have received your letter of the 21st, with inclosures. I am in doubt as to the position and numbers of the enemy in your front and on the Rappahannock, and can get no clew as to his intentions. I am inclined to the belief that General McClellan is being re-enforced to the extent of the means of his Government and that he will continue to be so. A force will be kept in front of Washington to guard its approach, and General Pope, I presume, is charged with this duty. His main body, I suspect, is not far from Manassas, that being his best front, and his scouts and skirmishers are sent out for plunder, provisions, and devastation. I have not been as yet able to send you re-enforcements. Indeed, unless General Pope was within striking distance, or you were prepared with transportation, provisions, &c., for a further aggressive movement, I saw no object. I have not heard your strength or condition, or what favorable prospect you saw for a blow. The troops have not yet arrived from the south. General McClellan is feeling stronger, is uneasy in his position, and no doubt feels the necessity to advance upon Richmond. He is making daily demonstrations to deceive us or test our strength. Under these circumstances I am reluctant to weaken the force around Richmond without seeing a prospect of striking a blow elsewhere. I am, however, ready to re-enforce you as soon as that prospect is apparent.

I am, most respectfully and truly, yours,

R. E. Lee



Source: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Vol. 12, Part 3, p. 916-917


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 July 14