Monday, June 12, 2017

Telegram from General Robert E. Lee to Jefferson Davis, May 7, 1863

Recd at Richmond May 7, 1863.
By telegraph from Fredericksburg 7
Chancellorsville, May 7,1863.

To His Excellency, President Davis: —

After driving General Sedgwick across the Rappahannock on the night of the 4th, I returned on the 5th to Chancellorsville. The march was delayed by a storm which continued the whole night following. In placing the troops in position on the morning of the 6th, to attack Hooker's army, I ascertained he had abandoned his fortified position. A line of skirmishers pressed forward until they came within range of the enemy's batteries, planted on the north of the Rappahannock, which, from the configuration of the ground, completely commanded this side. His army, therefore, escaped with the loss of a few additional prisoners.

R. E. Lee, General Commanding.

SOURCES: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 314; Douglas Southall Freeman, Lee's Dispatches: Unpublished Letters of General Robert E. Lee, C.S.A., to Jefferson Davis and the War Department of the Confederate States of America, p. 90; James Dabney McCabe, Life and Campaigns of General Robert E. Lee, p. 363-4; William Wallace Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival which Prevailed in the Southern Armies, p. 287; De Bow's Review Devoted to the Restoration of the Southern States and the Development of the Wealth and Resources of the Country, Volume 3, p. 204.  All above sources offer slightly different transcriptions of this message in wording but in meaning are identical.

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