Charles E. Lightfoot Civil War Letter
Manuscript #00448

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About this Collection

Charles E. Lightfoot (b. 1834 d. 1878) graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1854. During the Civil War, he served in the 6th and 22nd North Carolina Infantry Regiments, and in the Richmond, Virginia artillery defense forces. Both before and after the war he was a teacher. He died at Culpeper, Virginia in 1878.  The collection consists of a one page letter, dated 1865 March 17, written by Lightfoot from Headquarters, Artillery Defenses, Richmond, Virginia. The letter is addressed to Colonel Benjamin S. Ewell, brother and staff officer to General Richard S. Ewell. Lightfoot asks for a clarification of command responsibility for Richmond's artillery defenses, stating that the present command situation places him in conflict with Lt. Col. Carter M. Braxton. General Ewell's reply, via Col. Ewell, appears on the reverse of the letter. Both the original document and a transcription are viewable below.

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HdQrs Artillery Defences
March 17/65

Col B. S. Ewell

I respectfully ask to be informed as to Lt. Col. Braxton's position in this command, and what relations are to exist between him and myself. It is evident that to avoid confusion either that he should report to me or I to him. I am his senior and am, by your order, in command of the Artillery Dfcs. It is impossible, under the circumstances, for me to be at all times correctly informed as to number and position of the guns manned upon the line. Lt. Col. Braxton will of course change the position of the men whenever he sees fit.

I am Colonel
Very respy
Yr obt servant
C. E. Lightfoot
Lt. Col.

Notations on reverse of letter 

HdQrs Artillery Dfs
March 17/65
Lt. Col C. E. Lightfoot

Asking information with regard to Lt. Col. Braxton's position in this command.

General Ewell's Reply via his adjutant and older brother, Benjamin S. Ewell 

HdQr Dept Richmond, March 17th 1865

Respectfully returned to Lt. Col Lightfoot. Until Lt. Col Braxton is regularly relieved the command of the Arty defenses will be divided. From the Auburn Pike to the Mechanicsville Pike will be under Col. Lightfoot's command & the remainder of the Line west to the James under that of Col. Braxton.

By order of Lt. Genl Ewell
By Bnj. S. Ewell
Col. & A. A Genl