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[83] the advantage gained by this defeat. The letters are appended herewith:

(confidential.) [Copy.]

Richmond, August 31, 1863.
Lieutenant-General J. Longstreet, Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia:
General: I have wished for several days past to return to the army, but have been detained by the President. He will not listen to my proposition to leave to morrow.

I hope you will use every exertion to prepare the army for offensive operations, and improve the condition of men and animals. I can see nothing better to be done than to endeavor to bring General Meade out and use our efforts to crush his army while in the present condition.

The Quartermaster's Department promise to send up 3,000 bushels of corn per day, provided the cars can be unloaded and: returned without delay. I hope you will be able to arrange it so that the cars will not be detained. With this supply of corn, if it can be maintained, the condition of our animals should improve.

Very respectfully and truly yours, R. E. Lee, General.


headquarters, September 2, 1863.
General: Your letter of the 31st is received. I have expressed to Generals Ewell and Hill your wishes, and am doing all that can be done to be well-prepared with my own command. Our greatest difficulty will be in preparing our animals.

I don't know that we can reasonably hope to accomplish much here by offensive operations, unless we are strong enough to cross the Potomac. If we advance to meet the enemy on this side he will in all probability go into one of his many fortified positions. These we cannot afford to attack.

I know but little of the condition of our affairs in the West, but am inclined to the opinion that our best opportunity for great results is in Tennessee. If we could hold the defensive here with two corps and send the other to operate in Tennessee with that army, I think that we could accomplish more than by an advance from here.

The enemy seems to have settled down upon the plan of holding certain points by fortifying and defending, while he concentrates upon others. It seems to me that this must succeed, unless we concentrate ourselves and at the same time make occasional show of active operations at all points.

I know of no other means of acting upon that principle at present, except to depend upon our fortifications in Virginia, and concentrate with one corps of this army and such ans may be drawn from others in Tennessee and destroy Rosecranz's army.

I feel assured that this is practicable, and that greater advantages will be gained than by any operations from here.

I remain, General, very respectfully, Your obedient servant, (Signed) James Longstreet, Lieut.-General. General R. E. Lee, Commanding, etc.

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