War of the Rebellion: Serial 014 Page 0456 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN,VA. Chapter XXIII.

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No one but McClellan could have hesitated to attack. The defensive line is far better for him than for us.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. E. JOHNSTON,

General.

HEADQUARTERS, Lee's Farm, April 22, 1862.

General R. E. LEE:

GENERAL: Your dispatch of yesterday was received at 8.30 to-night; the telegraph wire had been broken. I replied by telegraph immediately, but have just learned that the wire is again broken.

I have written to you twice since my arrival to represent what seems to me to be the relative strength of the two armies and the probabilities which seem to me against us. Consequently I think it anything but expedient to divide these forces. I thought that it was so considered by the President at the time of our conference in Richmond.

Should McDowell advance upon the capital, which is certainly probable, the only course for us, in my opinion, is that which I suggested at the time referred to above - to assemble near Richmond as many troops as possible, those from Norfolk, North Carolina, and South Carolina to be joined by this army, then to endeavor to fight the enemy before all his forces are united. To detach troops from this position would be ruin to those left.

When you send me an important dispatch by telegraph it would be well to forward a duplicate by steamer; our telegraph line is so liable to accident. For this purpose there should always be a boat in Richmond and another at the King's Mill Wharf.

Please desire the Quartermaster-General to have the two lower bridges of the Chickahominy repaired. I have made the request by telegraph.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. E. JOHNSTON,

General.

HDQRS. RIGHT WING, ARMY OF THE PENINSULA, Lee's Farm, April 22, 1862.

Major THOMAS G. RHETT,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

SIR: I have the honor to report for the information of the commanding general that the general in command of my left flank, Brigadier-General Toombs, and Brigadier-General Semmes, in charge at Dam No. 1, report the men (twelve regiments there on duty) have become so worn-out by long exposure in the trenches, labor, alarms, &c., that they will, unless relieved, cease to be effective for actin. In this opinion I fully concur, and believe it impossible that men can remain in that position for any length of time without becoming almost useless. This is by far the most exposed part of the line. I therefore most respectfully recommenced that the troops from this part of the line withdrawn and considered as forming for the time being a part of the general reserve, their places being filled from that reserve. This seems the only way to afford the desired relief.

I have the honor to communicate for the information of the commanding general that previous to his arrival I gave an order that the sick should be sent to Richmond. The troops being few in number, it