With the blessing of Heaven, I trust that the courage and fortitude of the army will be found sufficient to relieve us from the embarrassment caused by the unlooked-for natural difficulties of our situation, if not to secure valuable and substantial results. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President Confederate States. -
GENERAL ORDERS, No. 76.
HDQRS. ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, July 11, 1863.
After along and trying marches, endured with the fortitude that has ever characterized the soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia, you have penetrated the country of our enemies, and recalled to the defense of their own soil those who were engaged in the invasion of ours. You have fought a fierce and sanguinary battle, which, if not attended with the success that has hitherto crowned your efforts, was marked by the same heroic spirit that has commanded the respect of your enemies, the gratitude of your country, and the admiration of mankind. Once more you are called to meet the army from which you have own on so many fields a mane that will never die. Once more the eyes of your countrymen, are turned upon you, and again do wives and sisters, fathers, mothers, and helpless children lean for defense on your strong arms and brave hearts . Let every soldier remember that on his courage and fidelity depends all that makes life worth having-the freedom of his country, the honor of his people, and the security of his home ., Let each heart grown strong in the remembrance of your glorious past, and in the thought of the inestimable blessing for which we contend, and invoking the assistance of that Divine Power which has so signally blessed our former efforts let us go forth in confidence to secure the peace and safety of your country . Soldiers! your old enemy is before you! . Win from him honors worthy of your righteous cause -worthy of your comrades dead on so many illustrious fields.
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, July 12, 1863.
Mr. PRESIDENT: I have nothing of moment to add to what I have said in my letter of the 10th. So far, everything goes well. The army is in good condition, and occupies a strong position, covering the Potomac from Williamsport to Falling Waters. The enemy seems to be collecting his forces in the Valley of the Antietam, his main body from Boonsborough to Sharpsburg . But for the power he possesses of accumulating troops, I should be willing to await his attack, excepting that in our restricted limits the means of obtaining subsistence are becoming precarious.