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Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,

November 28, 1862

Lieut. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson,

Commanding, &c.:

General: Your dispatches of the 26th and 27th have been received. My letter of the 27th will have advised you of the position which I think it best for you to assume, namely, on Massaponax Creek, at a convenient distance from the railroad. I recommend that you send forward a staff officer to select an encampment convenient to wood and water, and to collect forage for your animals upon their arrival.

I have nothing new to state as regards the enemy, except the appearance at Port Royal about sunset of five of their gunboats. One of them descended the river this morning, and the rest, I believe, are still there.

I am of the opinion that the enemy will not attempt to cross the Rappahannock in front of Fredericksburg, but at some point below, if he crosses at all. I have examined the river some 10 or 12 miles down, and find the banks generally abrupt, and requiring work to make a practicable ingress and egress for their pontoon bridges. I understand that at Port Royal the access to the river is easier, and, as their large class gunboats can reach that point, I think it possible that he may select a bend in the river which can be flanked by his gunboats, so as to give him an undisturbed passage. The road from Port Royal to Bowling Green, I am told, is good, and will give him an easy access to the railroad. Should I discern any indications that my supposition is correct, I think it may be well to place your corps within reach of the road from Bowling Green to Port Royal.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R E Lee





Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 21, p. 1037

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 January 5