Sunday, December 8, 2013

December 9, 1863 (Tuesday): Lee Summoned to Richmond

General J. E. B. Stuart

CAMP, December 9, 1863.

General STUART:
     GENERAL: I am called to Richmond this morning by the President. I presume the rest will follow.* My heart and thoughts will always be with this army. Please look out for positions for the cavalry, where they can be foraged, and be not too far away from the field of operations. I have set Colonel Corley to work. I expect to be back.
     Very truly,

    R. E. LEE.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 29, Part 2, Page 866.

  *See Lee to Davis, December 3; Davis to Lee, December 5, and Lee's reply, December 7.

Lee was headed to Richmond to consult again with Davis upon the question of his assuming command of the western armies.  While Lee expressed himself willing, he was not eager for the task and his message to Stuart reveals the depth of his feeling for the men of his command.  It is obvious he believed Davis might insist on the exchange of commands.  Lee would go to Richmond and suggest Beauregard for the command, something Davis was not willing to consider.  Ultimately he would not force Lee to go, but would name Joseph Johnston to the position.

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