Editor’s Note: Many Confederate records from 1864 were lost during Lee’s retreat from Richmond and Petersburg. As a result, many useful primary sources from the Confederate side are simply never going to be available. What might be less well known is that not all of Robert E. Lee’s known writings from the time of the Petersburg Campaign were put into the Official Records. In 1915, some of Lee’s previously unpublished letters and dispatches to Jefferson Davis and the War Department were published in Lee’s Dispatches: Unpublished Letters of General Robert E. Lee, C.S.A., to Jefferson Davis and the War Department of the Confederate States of America, 1862-65. These letters and dispatches came from the private collection of Wymberley Jones De Renne of Wormsloe, Georgia. Many of these letters and telegrams contain insight into the Siege of Petersburg, and will appear here 150 years to the day after they were written by Lee. The numbering system used in the book will also be utilized here, but some numbers may be missing because the corresponding letter or dispatch does not pertain directly to the Siege of Petersburg.
Received at Richmond July 7 1864.
By Telegraph from Hd. Qrs. near Petersburg 7
To GENL. B. Bragg
How did you ascertain that Grant was crossing forces from City Point to Bermuda Hundreds(1) Scouts report that Garrison at Yorktown been advanced to Williamsburg.(2)
25/500 Co. R. E. Lee
Hd. Qrs. near Petersburg July 7th.
R. E. Lee
Inquires how Genl. Bragg learned that Grant was crossing troops from City Point to Bermuda Hundreds. Scouts report the garrison of Yorktown advanced to Williamsburg.
R. B. 1368.
Recd. at Hd. Qrs.
A. C. S. July 7, 64.1
Douglas Southall Freeman’s Notes:
(1) The answer would probably have been, from the report of signal-officer J. F. Moore. See the report, 0. R., 40, 3, 747.
(2) Cf. W. T. Robins to T. O. Chestney, ibid., 749.
- Freeman, Douglas Southall (ed.). Lee’s Dispatches: Unpublished Letters of General Robert E. Lee, C. S. A. to Jefferson Davis and the War Department of the Confederate States of America 1862-65. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1915, pp. 277-278 ↩