War of the Rebellion: Serial 011 Page 0546 KY., TENN., N. MISS., N.ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXII.

Search Civil War Official Records

his designs, we must fight at every disadvantage or retreat disastrously. History and our country will judge us not by the movement, but its consequences.




CORINTH, MISS., May 26, 1862

I concur fully in the above views, and already all needful preparations are being made for a proper and prompt evacuation of this place.


General, Commanding.


Richmond., Va., May 26, 1862


Commanding Western Department:

GENERAL: Your letter of the 19th instant has just been received. Although no instructions have been given as to the military operations within your department since the command devolved on you, yet your condition and movements have been the subject of anxious consideration. Full reliance was felt in your judgment and skill and in the bravery of your army to maintain the great interests of the country and to advance the general policy of the Government. It was also hoped that the victory of Shiloh would have enabled you upon the arrival of your re-enforcements to occupy the country north of you and to have re-establish the former communications enjoyed by the army. This hope is still indulged,, and every effort will be made, as has heretofore been done, to strengthen you by all the means within the control of the Department.

Should, however, the superior numbers of the enemy force you back, the line of retreat indicated by you is considered the best, and in that event, should it be inevitable, it is hoped you will be able to strike a successful blow at the enemy if he follows, which will enable you to gain the ascendancy and drive him back to the Ohio.

The maintenance of your present position, with the advantages you ascribe to it, so long a you can resist the enemy and subsist your army, is of course preferable to withdrawing from it, and thus laying open more of the country to his ravages, uncles by skillful maneuvering you can entice him to a more favorable position to attack. The question of subsisting your army for any length of time, cut off from the supplies north of you, may demand your serious attention, and was the subject of a telegraphic dispatch to you this morning. The supplies accumulated at Atlanta are intended as a reserve for the army in the East as well as the West, and cannot be entirely appropriated to either division. Each army must therefore draw its support, as far as possible, from the country it can control, and this necessity must not be lost sight, of in the operations of either, and any accelerate movements which otherwise it might be deemed prudent to restrain.

I am, very respectfully, you obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,