McLaws with two brigades of Anderson's division and three of his own to unite with the forces under you and endeavor to drive them back. I heard this afternoon that he had halted at Tabernacle Church, on hearing that the enemy was advancing up the Plank road. I hear firing in that direction at this time, and presume that an engagement is going on. If they are attacking him there, and you could come upon their left flank, and communicate with General McLaws, I think you would demolish them. See if you cannot unite with him and, together, destroy him. With his five brigades, and you with your division and the remnant of Barksdale's brigade, I think you ought to be more than a match for the enemy.
R. E. LEE,
P. S.-I understand General Wilcox is with him also.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, May 3, 1863-7 p.m.
GENERAL: I presume, from the firing which I hear in your direction, that you are engaged with the enemy.
Upon the receipt of your note, I sent Colonel Alexander, with his battalion of artillery, to report to you. I hope he reached you in time. I have just written to Early, who informs me that he is on the Telegraph road, near Mrs. Smith's house, to unite with you to attack the enemy on their left flank. Communicate with him, and arrange the junction, if necessary and practicable. It is necessary that you best the enemy, and I hope you will do it.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
MAY 3, 1863-12 midnight.
GENERAL: I am directed by General Lee to say that he thinks well of what General Early proposes, if it is practicable. Such a movement would be a virtual relief to you, and might cause the enemy to pause or retire, and, should this occur, he would desire that you press them so as to prevent their concentrating on General Early.
The general says General Anderson is on your left, watching for any movements down the river; has not yet heard from him; thinks his presence there will render your left flank secure.
I am, very respectfully, &c.,
W. H. TAYLOR,
CHANCELLORSVILLE, VA., May 3,[1863.]
Enemy, 5,000 strong, nine pieces artillery, left Louisa Court-House last night, and reliable information says they went to Columbia, on