Robert E. Lee Letter
April 25, 1864
Smith Papers top level
This letter, from the incoming correspondence of Francis H. Smith, is referenced in Smith's letter to Maj. Gen. John Breckinridge, dated May 2, 1864. It is addressed to William H. Richardson, the Adjutant General of Virginia.
HQ, Army No. Va.
25th April 1864
Major Genl Wm. H. Richardson
A.G. of Virginia, Richmond
Your letter of the 22d inst. enclosing that of General Francis H. Smith in which he proposes to tender the services of the Corps of Cadets at the Virginia Military Institute for the approaching campaign is received.
I desire to express my appreciation of the patriotic spirit that actuates Genl. Smith in making this proposal, and my gratification at finding that it meets with your concurrence. I do not think however that it would be best at this time for the Corps to be called to this Army. It is now in a situation to render valuable aid in defending our western frontier which may be menaced simultaneously with the general advance of the enemy in the east. It will thus prevent the necessity of detaching troops from this army. I think it would be advisable for Genl. Smith to hold the command in readiness to cooperate with Genl. Breckinridge & Genl Imboden in case of necessity, & to notify those officers of the fact. Should it at any time become necessary or expedient to have the services of the cadets with this army, it is very gratifying to me to know that they are so freely placed at my disposal.
Very Resp. Yr. Obt. Servt./signed/R.E. Lee Genl.