HEADQUARTERS, TURNBULL'S, December 5, 1864.
HIS EX. JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President C. States, Richmond.
MR. PRESIDENT: I have received the dispatch from General Bragg of the 4th inst., forwarded to me by Mr. B. N. Harrison, stating that there is still time for him to receive any assistance that can be spared. On the 27th ult. General Whiting informed me that General Bragg had carried with him 2,700 of the best troops from Wilmington. Since that he has ordered to Charleston a regiment of the North Carolina reserves, and I do not think, so far as I can judge, that more troops can be taken with propriety unless we were certain that all danger of an attack was removed from that point. In addition, I sent General Young with about 400 cavalrymen (without horses), and ordered all those previously sent to Georgia and South Carolina to report to him at Augusta; which Hampton thinks will give him about 800 mounted men, which I thought would strengthen the cavalry very much in that department. General Baker has also gone to General Bragg, so that he will have another good cavalry commander.
I fear I can do nothing more under present circumstances. General Early reports that his scouts stated the Sixth Corps had broken camp on the 2d, and taken the cars at Stevenson's Depot — said to be going to City Point. From reports received from Longstreet and Ewell last night, I think this corps or a part of it may have reached the north side of James River last night. My last report from scouts on the James was to the 2d. There had been great activity on the river in transportation of supplies, but no troops had passed in any numbers since the 17th ult. Reports of Early and Longstreet have not yet been corroborated but the whole preparations of the enemy indicate some movement against us. All we want to resist them is men.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
SOURCE: John William Jones, Life and Letters of Robert Edward Lee: Soldier and Man, p. 344