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    ROBERT E. LEE LETTER SIGNED, MARCH 16TH 1863, TO GENERAL LONGSTREET. In the summer of 1863, the two armies faced each other across the Rappahannock Rapidan Rivers defense line. General Robert E. Lee decided to make a move to shift the war to the North and hopefully end it. It was the Battle of Chancellorsville, being a major battle fought near the village of Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia, from April 30 to May 6, 1863. Called Gen. Robert E. Lee's "perfect battle" because of his risky but successful division of his army in the presence of a much larger enemy force, the battle pitted Union Army Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker's Army of the Potomac against an army half its size, Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. Lee's audacity and Hooker's timid performance in combat combined to result in a significant Union defeat. The Confederate victory was tempered by the mortal wounding of Lt. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson to friendly fire, a loss that Lee likened to "Losing my right arm." The Chancellorsville campaign began with the crossing of the Rappahannock River by the Union army on the morning of April 27, 1863. Heavy fighting began on May 1 and did not end until the Union Forces retreated across the river on the night of May 5th to May 6th. This letter premeditates the events of that famous Battle of Chancellorsville.

    "Headquarters Army No. V.A. (Near Fredericksburg, Virginia) 16 March 1863, General (J. Longstreet) As far as can be ascertained from my own observations, from the reports from own accounts on the opposite side of the Rappahan-nock from what the citizens say, I am led to believe that none of the army of General Hooker has left the vicinity of Aquia, except the corps of Gen. Smith, which went to Newport News. It is also reputed that it is Gen. Hooker's intention to crop the river & advanced as soon as the State of the roads will permit, & that in fact he has received repeated orders to that effect. I am not fully informed as to their apparent intentions, strength & on the South side of the James River, but we should be prepared to concentrate to meet him wherever he should advanced in force. From present indications it is fair an presume that one shall be called upon to engage him first on the Rappahan-nock, and I desire you to be prepared for this movement , & endeavor to keep yourself advised of the dispositions of the enemy in your front. Also be ready to move the troops recently detached from the 1st. Corp, on such of them or others as may be necessary, in that direction. So our numbers will not admit of our meeting him on an equality everywhere, we must endeavor by indecisions dispositions to be enable to make our troops available in any quarter where they may be needed & after the emergency hopes in one place to transfer them to any other point that may be threatened. Please let me hear from you and this subject. I am very respect your Obt. Srt. R.E.Lee"

    Condition: Very good, has been separated at folds, some repairing with archival tape.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2007
    1st Saturday
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