Thursday, November 22, 2012

November 23, 1862 (Sunday): No Word From Aquia Creek

Union supplies at Aquia Creek

November 23, 1862.
Major General GUSTAVUS W. SMITH,
Commanding, &c., Richmond, Va.:
    GENERAL: My letter of yesterday to the Adjutant and Inspector General* contains all the information I possess relative to General Burnside's army. There are no indications of his future movements or plans. His apparent present inaction leads me to apprehend that he may be preparing to transfer his army to some other quarter, as his position is such as to render it extremely difficulty to obtain information as to what may transpire in his rear. Scouts are on the watch, but they have to make so large a circuit, both right and left, that great delay necessarily occurs in receiving the information they obtain. I have therefore thought it advisable to request that you will endeavor to obtain accurate information of what may be transpiring south of James River and to take measures, if possible, to be informed as early as practicable of the approach to our waters of any transports or vessels. I shall endeavor to have watch kept on the Potomac of the movements of vessels down that river, as it is very difficult to approach Aquia Creek.
   I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

   R. E. LEE,

*See Series I, Vol. XXI, p. 1026. 

Series I., Vol. 18, Part 1, Page 784.

Lee had previously ascertained there was no activity at Alexandria which would indicate troops being withdrawn to put to sea.  But he was still concerned over the possibility of Union troops shifting to North Carolina or Fort Monroe and menacing rail lines leading to Petersburg. Lee could not accurate intelligence from Aquia Creek, which would have shown the federal troops waiting on the movement of pontoon trains to Fredericksburg.

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