2 pages, 4to, ruled paper." />
9 June 2004
LEE, Robert E. Autograph letter signed ("R. E. Lee") to PRESIDENT JEFFERSON DAVIS, Headquarters, 10 June 1862. 2 pages, 4to, ruled paper.
LEE PLOTS HIS MOVES AGAINST MCCLELLAN: "JACKSON...WILL...SWEEP DOWN NORTH OF THE CHICKAHOMINY, CUT UP MCCLELLAN'S COMMUNICATIONS & REAR, WHILE I ATTACK IN FRONT...MCCLELLAN WILL NOT MOVE OUT OF HIS ENTRENCHMENTS UNLESS FORCED, WHICH THIS MUST ACCOMPLISH"
An urgent, superbly detailed letter in which Lee lays out his strategy to use Jackson's command to control the Shenandoah Valley before joining him for the climactic battles of the Peninsular campaign. Here Lee sends forces to Jackson in the Valley as a feint in connection with his planned move against McClellan on the Chickahominy. With Stonewall Jackson tearing himself away from pursuing Federal forces in the Valley, the Union command wondered where the wily cavalryman would go next: continue fighting in the Valley or join Lee at Richmond? Lee leads the bluecoats astray by reinforcing Jackson: "I propose for your consideration sending two good brigades from this army to reinforce Genl. Jackson. These with the Georgia regts. now on the way, & Lawton's brigade ordered to take the Lynchburg R. R. at Petersburg, will make him strong enough to wipe out Fremont. With his whole force Jackson can then be directed to move rapidly to Ashland, where I will reinforce him with fresh troops, with directions to sweep down north of the Chickahominy, cut up McClellan's communications & rear, while I attack in front. I can hold McClellan in his present position for a week or ten days during this movement, & be getting our troops from the South. I think this is our surest move. McClellan will not move out of his entrenchments unless forced, which this must accomplish, & it will hazard too much with our inferior numbers to attack him in them. Please consider this immediately & decide. It must be commenced tonight." Two days later Lee also sent Jeb Stuart on his famous ride around McClellan's forces (12-16 June 1862), gaining valuable intelligence on topography and Union dispositions, while bringing another great boost to morale following on Jackson's brilliant Valley campaign. After pretending to prepare for further actions in the Valley, Lee had Jackson's force rapidly march east to Richmond for the clash with McClellan in the Seven Days battles (25 June-1 July 1862).
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