distinguished officers. The country consents to the sacrifice of such men as these, and the gallant soldiers who fell with them, only to secure the inestimable blessing they died to obtain.
The troops displayed at Fredericksburg in a high degree the spirit and courage that distinguished them throughout the campaign, while the calmness and steadiness with which orders were obeyed and maneuvers executed in the midst of battle, evinced the discipline of a veteran army.
The artillery rendered efficient service on every part of the field, and greatly assisted in the defeat of the enemy. The batteries were exposed to an unusually heavy fire of artillery and infantry, which officers and men sustained with a coolness and courage worthy of the highest praise. Those on our right, being without defensive works, suffered more severely. Among those who fell was Lieutenant-Colonel [Lewis M.] Coleman, First Regiment Virginia Artillery, who was mortally wounded while bravely discharging his duty.
To the vigilance, boldness, and energy of General Stuart and his cavalry is chiefly due the early and valuable information of the movements of the enemy. His reconnaissances frequently extended within the Federal lines, resulting in skirmishes and engagements, in which the cavalry was greatly distinguished. In the battle of Fredericksburg the cavalry effectually guarded our right, annoying the enemy and embarrassing his movements by hanging on his flank, and attacking when opportunity occurred. The nature of the ground and the relative positions of the armies prevented them from doing more.
To Generals Longstreet and Jackson great praise is due for the disposition and management of their respective corps. Their quick perception enabled them to discover the projected assaults upon their positions, and their ready skill to devise the best means to resist them. Besides their services in the field-which every battle of the campaign from Richmond to Fredericksburg has served to illustrate-I am also indebted to them for valuable counsel, both as regards the general operations of the army and the execution of the particular measures adopted.
To division and brigade commanders I must also express my thanks for the prompt, intelligent, and determined manner in which they executed their several parts.
To the officers of the general staff-Brigadier General R. H. Chilton, adjutant and inspector general, assisted by Major [Henry E.] Peyton; Lieutenant-Colonel [James L.] Corley, chief quartermaster; Lieutenant-Colonel [Robert G.] Cole, chief commissary; Surgeon Guild, medical director, and Lieutenant Colonel B. G. Baldwin, chief of ordnance-were committed the care of their respective departments, and the charge of supplying the demands upon each. They were always in the field, anticipating, as far as possible, the wants of the troops.
My personal staff were unremittingly engaged in conveying and bringing information from all parts of the field. Colonel [Armistead L.] Long was particularly useful before and during the battle in posting and securing the artillery, in which he was untiringly aided by Captain S. R. Johnston, of the Provisional Engineers; Majors [T. M. R.] Talcott and [Charles S.] Venable, in examining the ground and the approaches of the enemy; Majors [Walter H.] Taylor and [Charles] Marshall in communicating orders and intelligence.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,