will result in bringing us back to the Union. We entertain no such apprehensions, nor doubt that the desire of our people for a distinct and independent national existence will prove as steadfast under the influence of peaceful measures as it has shown itself in the midst of war.
If the views I have indicated meet the approval of Your Excellency, you will best know how to give effect to them. Should you deem them inexpedient or impracticable, I think you will nevertheless agree with me that we should at least carefully abstain from measures or expressions that tend to discourage any party whose purpose is peace.
With the statement of my own opinion on the subject, the length of which you will excuse, I leave to your better judgment to determine the proper course to be pursued.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond, Va., June 10, 1863.
General R. E. LEE, Commanding, &c.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge yours of the 8th instant, just received. I concur entirely in your views of the importance of aggressive movements by your army. Indeed, in my present judgment, such action is indispensable to our safety and independence, and all attendant sacrifices and risks must be incurred. I steadily urge and sustain this view; at the same time, I am most anxious to assure your communications and supplies, and it is in this view I press upon your own consideration some of the dangers to which our destitution of a covering force to this city and the railroad may expose us. I have not hesitated, in co-operating with your plans, to leave this city almost defenseless, and since my letter of yesterday, learning that you had ordered away the small brigade left by General Pickett at Hanover, I have readily concurred in sending Cooke`s brigade to the Junction. As General Wise is far down the Peninsula and in King William, this leaves us literally without force, should the enemy make a dash with their transports up the James. I have some apprehension, from intelligence recently received, that they are concentrating a force at Yorktown and Newport News with this view, but we must incur the hazard. The President has not been willing to order Jenkins` brigade from North Carolina, in view of the representations made by Generals Hill and Whiting, but he has communicated your late telegrams to the former, and submitted to his discretion the propriety of the removal. I trust he will concur in the policy of encountering some risk to promote the grand results that may be attained by your successful operations. Our great want here is some cavalry, to scout and give timely notice, and I again invite your attention to this subject and the suggestions made in my letter of yesterday. *
With high esteem, very truly, yours,
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
* See p. 874.