Sunday, January 20, 2013

January 20, 1863: Lee alerts his cavalry, Burnside is on the move

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
January 20, 1863.

Major General J. E. B. STUART, Commanding Cavalry:

GENERAL: I inclose you a letter to General Hampton, which I request you will note, and forward with as little delay as practicable. Give like notice to the cavalry, and direct the two Lees to have their brigades ready to move at a moment's warning. Bryan, just in from Maryland, reports that the enemy's pickets are all withdrawn from Westmoreland. If that is so, General W. H. F. Lee might draw up closer to Port Royal. Until the further intentions of the enemy are discovered, we will have to suspend furloughs to men and officers.

Very respectfully, yours,

R. E. LEE,

General.

[Inclosure.]


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
January 20, 1863.

Brigadier General WADE HAMPTON, Commanding Cavalry Brigade:

GENERAL: From the reports of the scouts from both flanks of the enemy, he appears to be on the eve of making, and advance. Sigel's corps, which is stationed at Stafford and Dumfries, I understand, has marching orders, and the impression among the men is that they will go in the direction of Warrenton. I think it probable that he will attempt to cross the Rappahannock at Kelly's Ford, or at Rappahannock Station. he will hardly go higher at this inclement season, I think. Infantry is said to be collecting near Richmond Ford. The infantry pickets in front of Fredericksburg have been withdrawn this evening, and columns of infantry are reported to have been seen marching up the river.

I think it probable that the enemy will cross the Upper Rappahannock, with a view to turn our left flank. Make such resistance as you can to retard or defeat him, and, should he cross with a force too large for you to encounter, concentrate your troops; hang upon his flank and rear; cut up his communications; cause him embarrassment, and report all that you can discover of his movements and designs. A scout jus in from maryland reports that the Fourth and Fifth U. S. Regular Cavalry marched through Piscataway to Liverpool Point, and then across to Aquia Creek. A thousand head of mules, sutlers' wagons, &c., are raking the same route, and it is said that a number of old mules have been sent down there for the purpose of parking. Direct your picket to be on the alert every everywhere, and be in readiness for whatever may occur.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.

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