War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0435 Chapter XXIV. OCCUPATION OF FREDERICKSBURG, VA.

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resistance, I barely succeeded in extricating my troops and setting fire to the bridges.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

General R. E. LEE,

Commanding Confederate Forces, Richmond, Va.:


Camp Spottsylvania, April 20, 1862 - 12 m.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that Lieutenant Colonel W. H. F. Lee has just arrived in my camp, and makes the following statement:

Reconnoitered Fredericksburg on yesterday. Saw what he thought to be the encampment of five regiments; said to be three of infantry and two of cavalry and two batteries. Does not think that the force is less that 5,000. Members of the committee of citizens who visited their headquarters for conference estimate it variously from 5,000 to 13,000. Conversed with members of this committee. General Augur told them he could make no terms with them until the arrival of General McDowell, whom he expected to land to-day (19th) at Aquia Creek with a large force. Afterward heard a report that McDowell was landing. He also told the committee that he expected the trucks up by water and intended building the railroad. Went up in sight of the bridges; no reconstruction of them as yet. All the bridges completely destroyed except one-third of the Falmouth Bridge, saved on the Falmouth side by the enemy.

Reports to-day from several sources six steamers at Aquia Creek; yesterday passed one landing troops; they were passing down.

I will as soon as practicable establish the telegraph operators at Milford.

I have kept up daily communication with General Ewell; he is, however, 40 miles from me, and I only 14 miles from the enemy. I will make a detailed report by to-morrow of the causes and manner of my evacuation of Fredericksburg, as well as of the skirmish with the advance guard.

It is reported from Dr. Stuart, of King George, as obtained from a negro, that the enemy were landing from the Potomac in large numbers. The negro was in their camp. Mr. Taylor, who lives in sight of the obstruction below Fredericksburg, says that five tugs came this morning up to that obstruction and endeavored to pass. These reports, other than Colonel Lee's, are not authenticated, but believed to be entitled to confidence.

I beg leave to add that I believe there is a much larger force of the enemy in my front than the commanding general has any conception of, and that he meditates an advance upon Richmond from this point in force.

I have as yet burned no bridges this side of Fredericksburg, and will not do so until the last moment.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

General R. E. LEE.