Today in History:

1223 Series I Volume XLII-III Serial 89 - Richmond-Fort Fisher Part III


move, in all probability, will be for Burkeville. If he goes there, he will take his best troops, leaving his lines but weakly guarded, and it seems to me that our best plan will be to try and get what he leaves behind, watching his main force with our cavalry. To do this, I don't know but that it might be better to begin by taking the force that he leaves behind on this side. I believe that we might get around his works on this side, and capture most of the force that he will leave. This entire force might then be moved to the south side and united with the troops already there for further operations. If the character of his work in front of Petersburg is such as to enable us to operate with facility after turning them, it may be better to take these three divisions over, leaving General Ewell's command and one or two of General Pickett's brigades to hold our lines on this side. After the move begins, I think General Pickett will be able to hold his line with two brigades, and the other two, with General Ewell's forces, will be sufficient for this side. It is essential for the successful execution of either of these propositions that General Early shall keep us advised of any effort on the part of the enemy to re-enforce from the army in the Valley. if he is in condition to threaten the enemy's force in the Valley, it will be better.

I remain, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,



November 21, 1864.


Commanding Cavalry, &c.:

GENERAL: I have your letter* of the 21st. * * * I have been expecting some movement of Grant in connection with Sherman's in Georgia, and late reports strengthen my expectations. You must, therefore, be careful and ready, and make every arrangement to check the enemy, delay his movement, and press him to develop his strength. I will be happy to see you, when convenient, on this and other matters.

Very respectfully,

R. E. Lee,


[NOVEMBER 21, 1864.]

GENERAL: I shall not be able to meet you to-day. What I wished to see you about was the practicability of striking Grant a blow, either this side or the north side of james River, on the supposition I could draw Early down to aid. Can a vulnerable point be found without having to pass over their breast-works, which, as far as I can judge, are well arranged and strongly fortified, and composed of several lines and batteries. You must not mention this to anybody. Give me your views and try to ascertain the way to strike.

Very truly,

R. E. LEE,



* Not found.