PRIMARY DOCUMENT

Letter from Judah P. Benjamin to Robert E. Lee (February 11, 1865)

ORIGINAL IMAGES
Official Records Series 1
SUMMARY

In this letter to the Confederate general Robert E. Lee, dated February 11, 1865, Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin seeks support for the policy of enlisting African American soldiers.

FULL TEXT
Official Records Series 1

Department of State

Richmond, February 11, 1865.

General-in-Chief Robert E. Lee:

My Dear Sir: You may perhaps have seen that at the public meeting on Thursday I spoke of the necessity of instant re-enforcement for your army. In order to disarm opposition as far as possible and to produce prompt action, I proposed that those slaves only who might volunteer to fight for their freedom should be at once sent to the trenches. From what I can learn, this would add promptly many thou- sand men to your force. Now, although this proposal seemed to meet with decided favor from the meeting, some of the opponents of the measure are producing a strong impression against it by asserting that it would disband the army by reason of the violent aversion of the troops to have negroes in the field with them. It occurs to me that if we could get from the army an expression of its desire to be re-enforced by such negroes as for the boon of freedom will volunteer to go to the front, the measure will pass without further delay, and we may yet be able to give you such a force as will enable you to assume the offensive when you think it best to do so. If this suggestion meets your approval, the different divisions ought at once to make themselves heard, and there will be no further effective opposition in any of our legislative bodies, State or Confederate.

With very great regard I am, yours, very truly,

J. P. Benjamin,

Secretary of State.

FURTHER READING

Letter from Robert E. Lee to Charles Carter Lee (January 4, 1831) Letter from Robert E. Lee to Charles Carter Lee (September 28, 1832) Letter from Robert E. Lee to Charles Carter Lee (February 24, 1835) Letter from Robert E. Lee to Hill Carter (January 25, 1840) Letter from Robert E. Lee to Mary Randolph Custis Lee (April 18, 1841) Letter from Robert E. Lee to Mary Randolph Custis Lee (December 27, 1856) “Some Facts That Should Come to Light,” New-York Tribune (June 24, 1859) Col. R. E. Lee’s Report (October 19, 1859) Letter from Robert E. Lee to Ulysses S. Grant (October 3, 1864) Letter from Robert E. Lee to Mary Randolph Custis Lee (January 24, 1864) Letter from Robert E. Lee to Ulysses S. Grant (October 3, 1864) Letter from Howell Cobb to James A. Seddon (January 8, 1865) Letter from Robert E. Lee to Mary Randolph Custis Lee (November 11, 1863) Letter from Robert E. Lee to Ethelbert Barksdale (February 18, 1865) “Some Facts That Should Come to Light,” New-York Tribune (June 24, 1859) Robert E. Lee’s Testimony before Congress (February 17, 1866) Memoranda of Conversations with General Robert E. Lee by William Allan (1868, 1870) Memoranda of Conversations with General Robert E. Lee by William Preston Johnston (1868, 1870) Letter from Robert E. Lee to Robert E. Lee Jr. (March 12, 1868) Letter from Robert E. Lee to Captain Wagner (May 4, 1868) Statement by Francis Preston Blair (April 14, 1871) “General Lee’s Views on Enlisting the Negroes,” Century Magazine (August 1888) Letter from Robert E. Lee to Edward Lee Childe (January 16, 1868) Letter from Robert E. Lee to Jefferson Davis (September 2, 1864) Henry Lee IV to William Berkeley Lewis (July 26, 1833) Letter from Robert E. Lee to Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee (December 25, 1861) Letter from Robert E. Lee to Henry Lee (December 6, 1859)

CITE THIS ENTRY
APA Citation:
Benjamin, Judah. Letter from Judah P. Benjamin to Robert E. Lee (February 11, 1865). (2021, January 28). In Encyclopedia Virginia. https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/letter-from-judah-p-benjamin-to-robert-e-lee-february-11-1865.
MLA Citation:
Benjamin, Judah. "Letter from Judah P. Benjamin to Robert E. Lee (February 11, 1865)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (28 Jan. 2021). Web. 07 May. 2021
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