Thursday, February 28, 2013

March 1, 1863 (Tuesday):Longstreet to Lee

General James Longstreet

Petersburg, Va., March 1, 1863.
General R. E. LEE,
Fredericksburg, Va.:
    GENERAL: Your letter of the 28th is received. I shall keep you advised of matters here that you may, by comparing notes, satisfy yourself of the enemy's position, & c. I shall be guided by the information that I may receive from you of the enemy's movements more than by what I hear here, for the present at all events. The force now here I think quite sufficient to overcome that of the enemy at any time that I may be able to meet him, and shall act accordingly until I find that he is moving additional troops from your front. I do not think, however, that he will withdraw any force that he now holds in your front, but may possibly send back the force now at Newport News. Deserters, however, report that this force is intended to operate in North Carolina.
      I remain, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,


    P. S. - I have parties on each bank of the river to watch the force at Newport News.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 18, Part 1, Page 903.

Longstreet was moved between Petersburg and eastern Virginia in order to defend the critical rail lines from Virginia to Petersburg.  There was no plan for active operations on Longstreet's part and little value to an attack on the small Union forces in the region. The biggest advantage to the Confederate effort was it reduced the pressure on agriculture in northern Virginia.

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