Brooke's Station, Va., July 12, 1861.
General R. E. LEE, Commanding Forces:
GENERAL: I cannot take the responsibility of withdrawing the troops from Mathias Point on the condition that the enemy will not be permitted to land there, although I believe that if he does so it will be with an overwhelming force that cannot be successfully resisted by the command now there; and as it is too remote to be re-enforced from here and is not a favorable point from which the enemy can begin an invasive march, I cannot see why any importance should be attached to its possession, and this opinion is strengthened by the report of Captain Kennedy, C. S. Navy, that Evansport is quite as convenient a point for stopping the navigation of the river. But why think of the navigation at all? If we invade it will be ours, as a necessary consequence; if not, the stoppage of it would not materially affect the strength of our enemies.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
TH. H. HOLMES,
RICHMOND, July 13, 1861.
General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON:
MY DEAR GENERAL: I have just received yours of yesterday, and am surprised at the extreme inaccuracy of the young officer who reported to you that about 15,000 volunteers, extremely well armed and equipped, were assembled in North Carolina, but were not accepted because they offered to serve for but twelve months. The through is, that about en days ago it was reported to me that three regiments for twelve months and five for the war were ready for service; they were all ordered to proceed immediately; one of the twelve-month's regiments arrived about three days ago, with a special request that, as they were mountaineers, they should be sent to General Garnett; they were imperfectly equipped, but as soon as ready were sent forward. Another, for the war, came yesterday; it was fully equipped, and to-day had gone to your column. Another, imperfectly armed and equipped, two days since was reported as subject to my orders at Danville; it is on its way here by my order. I have written and telegraphed to hasten the movement of the troops promised and the organization of others, and have asked if they could not be raised that arms would be sent to me for troops who would promptly respond. So much for the fiction of the 15,000 men. The same story with variations has been circulated here, and you will not surprised if, weary and heart-sick from fruitless exertions to obtain the troops necessary to re-enforce our different columns, I have come to speak harshly of men who circulate stories so destitute of truth. From Mississippi I could get 20,000 men, who impatiently wait for notice that they can be armed. In Georgia numerous tenders are made to serve for any time at any place, and to these and other offers I am still constrained to answer, "I have not arms to supply you." I have seen the opportunity which the incapacity of the enemy offered to beat his columns in detail, but have neither had the men nor the transportation to avail of the occasion. From day to day have sought such arrangements as would secure the more steady and rapid advance of the troops and then to leave here to share the fortunes of the Army in the field, but have never seen the occasion when I might go away without leav-