War of the Rebellion: Serial 040 Page 0790 N.VA., W.VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

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of cavalry from? I have received no detailed reports from Imboden and Jones. So far as heard from, they have been successful. Success is a necessary to us, and all must endeavor to win it.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.

FREDERICKSBURG, May 10, 1863.

Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War:

Your disposition could not be deciphered till noon to-day. The adoption of your proposition is hazardous, and it becomes a question between Virginia and the Mississippi. The distance and the uncertainty of the employment of the troops are unfavorable. But, if necessary, order Pickett at once.

R. E. LEE,

General.

[Indorsement.]

SECRETARY OF WAR:

The answer of General Lee was such as I should have anticipated, and in which I concur.

J. D.[JEFFERSON DAVIS.]

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, May 10, 1863.

Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War:

SIR: Your telegram of the 9th instant was received last night, but so many errors occurred in its transmission that it was not until noon to day that it could be rendered intelligibly. I have replied to it by telegraph, but think it proper to go more into details than in my dispatch. If you determine to send Pickett's division to General Pemberton, I presume it could not reach him until the last of this month. If anything is done in that quarter, it will be over by that time, as the climate in June will force the enemy to retire. The uncertainty of its arrival and the uncertainty of its application cause me to doubt the policy of sending it. Its removal from this army will be sensibly felt. Unless we can obtain some re-enforcements, we may be obliged to withdraw into the defenses around Richmond. We are greatly outnumbered by the enemy now. Taking the report of Surgeon Letterman, medical director of General Hooker's army, the number of sick reported by him and the ratio of the sick to the whole number, his aggregate force, by calculation, amounts to more than 159,000 men.

I see by the Herald of the 7th instant that Heintzelman, with 30,000 men, had marched to re-enforce him. You can, therefore, see the odds against us and decide whether the line of Virginia is more in danger than the line of the Mississippi. If Pickett's division is ordered to the west, Pettigrew's brigade had better be ordered to the Blackwater. I think troops ordered from Virginia to the Mississippi at this season would be greatly endangered by the climate. The strength of this army has been reduced by the casualties in the late battles.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.