GLOUCESTER POINT, VA., May 8, 1861.
Major General R. E. LEE, Commander-in-Chief:
SIR: I have the honor to report that I assumed command at this post at 7 o'clock yesterday evening. I hastened to assume the command from the fact that I learned, on my way from Richmond, that the howitzer battery under Lieutenant Brown, acting under the orders of Captain Whittle, of the Virginia Navy, had resisted the approach of the steamer Yankee and driven her back, after the firing on some ten or twelve rounds on either side. I mediately ordered out the volunteer forces of the country, amounting to some two hundred and fifty men, to re-enforce the battery and prevent a landing of the enemy in boats. These troops had not been mustered into the service of the State, and no force beyond a small guard had been stationed at this place. Major Page, mustering officer, will muster in three companies to-day. I have now subsistence for four hundred men for thirty days, and will erect huts for the troops this evening. I have to urge that you will order to this point some effective sea-coast guns, for the small battery of 6-pounder guns now here will prove of small consequence in resisting an attack upon this place by a naval force of much importance.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. B. TALIAFERRO,
This letter came to me unsealed. I presume that I might read it. I know not on what authority Colonel Taliaferro says that the firing at Gloucenster Point was authorized by men. This is an entire mistake.
Your obedient servant,
WM. C. WHITTLE,
Captain, Virginia Navy.
Major General LEE, Commander-in-Chief, &c., Richmond, Va.
Six 9-inch guns are now on York River, and three 32-pounders will be sent in a day or two. the firing by the howitzer battery was not directed by Captain Whittle.
Captain, Virginia Navy.
The firing was not directed by Captain Whittle. The major-general has expressed, through me, his disapproval of the firing at such a distance.
Six 9-inch guns now at the river. There will be three 32-pounders for West Point to-day or to-morrow.
HEADQUARTERS VIRGINIA FORCES,
Richmond, Va., May 9, 1861.
Colonel P. ST. GEORGE COCKE, Commanding Potomac Division:
COLONEL: I am instructed by Major-General Lee to inform you that Colonel Preston and Colonel Garland, with eleven companies under their command, have been ordered to report to you at Culpeper. Three