LEE, ROBERT E., General, C.S.A. Autograph letter signed ("R E Lee Genl Comdg.") as Major General in charge of the Army of Northern Virginia, to Colonel A.C. Moore [Commander of the 29th Regiment of Virginia Volunteers] at Abingdon, Virginia; Headquarters, Richmond, 15 July 1861. One page, 4to, on lined paper, faint discoloration along edges and folds from old repairs to verso.
A "FORGOTTEN GENERAL" WORKS TO ORGANIZE VIRGINIA'S ARMY
A good letter written during the hectic period before the first battle of Manassas, as Lee worked to organize the defenses of Virginia against an expected Union onslaught. Beginning on June 8, the Virginia forces Lee worked to marshall and arm were transferred to the control of the Confederacy. At this period, "Lee revealed many of the assets which were to stand him in good stead in during the coming years -- an extraordinary gift for organization, his awesome patience, and a rare combination of conceiving in larger patterns with an 'infinite capacity' for working in details." By June 15, though, having assigned Virginia's troops to the command of Beauregard, Johnston and others, "officially he was in a vacuum, with no defined duties or authority...a forgotten general without an army" (Wartime Papers, ed. C. Dowdey and L. H. Manarin, 1961, pp.6-8). Lee writes: "Colonel, You will complete the organization of your Regiment with all possible dispatch and proceed to Staunton and apply to the Major M.G. Harmon for arms who will be directed to furnish them to you. Should you not have received a sufficient number of companies for the organization of your Regt. you are authorized to receive the requisite number that may offer their services for twelve months. Report what field officers have joined you, whether you have tents, and any part of your equipment. Very Respectfully...." Apparently unpublished, not in Dowdey and Manarin.