to prevent such a catastrophe. Still, if the Department thinks it better to remain on the defensive, and guard as far as possible all the avenues of approach, and await the time of the enemy, I am ready to adopt this course. You have, therefore, only to inform me.
I think our souther coast might be held during the sickly season by local troops, aided by a small organized force, and the predatory excursions of the enemy be repressed. This would give us an active force in the field with which we might hope to make some impression on the enemy, both on our northern and western frontiers. Unless this can be done, I see little hope of accomplishing anything of importance. All our military preparations and organizations should now be pressed forward with the greatest vigor, and every exertion made to obtain some material advantage in this campaign.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, June 8, 1863.
Lieutenant General A. P. Hill,
I received yesterday the copy of the letter to the President, which you forwarded. Last night, your dispatch and letter, both of the 7th, reached me. I think from what you state and other indications, that the mass of General Hooker`s army cannot be very near Fredericksburg. Its exact position or intention I have not yet discovered. If Pickett leaves the Junction, I do not think three companies a sufficient guard for that point. You had better place there a regiment. I requested Cooke`s brigade to be advanced there, but do not know whether it will be, or where it is.
Send to Captain Frayser to endeavor to discover what is doing on the Potomac and at Aquia; to keep a good lookout for transports passing up and down the river, and send you information. Should you find the enemy in your front leaving you and going north, so that you can diminish your own force, you had better begin by sending forward Anderson`s division to this place. If going south, he must be sent back to the Junction.
I have just received your dispatch of to-day in reference to the enemy reappearing at Walkerton. I fear Pickett did not go far enough at their last visit, and they therefore supposed that we had no troops in that direction. I have telegraphed to him that he must drive them back. I have heard nothing more of the movements of the enemy extending up the Rappahannock since I last wrote.
Trusting that all things will go well, and that every man will do his duty, I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF CAPE FEAR, Wilmington, June 8, 1863.
Major General D. H. HILL,
Commanding, &c., Petersburg:
GENERAL: Yours of the 5th is received. I am very sorry Colquitt is left entirely alone. What little aid I can give I will, though I