Monday, September 9, 2013

September 8, 1863 (Thursday): Lee to Tennessee?

Uniform of Robert E. Lee (Va. Historical Society)

RICHMOND, September 8,[1863].
General R. E. LEE:
     Have considered your letter. Believe your presence in the western army would be worth more than the addition of a corps, but fear the effect of your absence from Virginia. Did not doubt your willingness to do whatever was best for the country, and suggest your aid to determine that question.  Have sent you all additional information, to aid your further consideration of problems discussed with you here.


Official Record, Series I., Vol. 29, Part 2, Page 702.

Lee had written two days before, "As regards myself, should you think that the service will be benefited by my repairing to the Army of Tennessee, I will of course submit to your judgment. From your knowledge of all the circumstances attending the operations of both armies, you can come to a more correct conclusion than I can from my point of view. In my conversation with you on this subject when the question was proposed. I did not intend to decline the service, if desired that I should undertake it, but merely to express the opinion that the duty could be better performed by the officers already in that department."  Lee here is likely referring to discussions with Davis after it was decided to send Longstreet's Corp west.  As when Lee had offered his resignation after Gettysburg, Davis was still faced with the essential question of who he could replace Lee with.  There was no satisfactory answer.  

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