the execution of the order. He will, however, be directed to have this work done at once to the extent of his means.
I have stated both sides of the question as presented to me. You will know what importance to attach to the several complaints. I think the wooden buildings in the fort, if that cause of complaint be real, should be removed as soon as practicable. If they are used as quarters, cannot tents be substituted for them? If for store-houses, some portions of the bomb proofs might be arranged to supply their places, which latter I am told is being done.
The clearing of the woods near the battery is of course necessary, and I am surprised that the commanding officer of the fort has not had this done by the troops. If the engineer force has more important work to do, axes sufficient could probably be procured from the neighbors, if they cannot be supplied in any other way.
The drill has probably been interrupted by the change in the guns, but should be resumed.
The last item of complaint, "Want of harmony among the officers," is the most important. The senior officer present should command all, but the immediate command of the guns and the men serving them should be with Captain de Lagnel, as he was assigned to his present position because of his supposed capabilities as an artillery officer. This is not a time to squabble about rank; every one must work, and do what he can to promote the cause. To save time I have assumed the statements made to me to be true, which is most likely not the case; and my suggestions on this supposition are intended mainly as explanatory.
You can best determine whether the faults referred to are so and provide the remedy, and you are desired to give the subject your earliest attention.
I am, &c.,
R. E. LEE,
RICHMOND, VA., March 18, 1862.
General J. B. MAGRUDER,
Commanding Army of Peninsula, Yorktown, Va.:
GENERAL: Notwithstanding the demonstrations of the enemy in your front, I see nothing to prove that he intends immediately to attempt your line. He is feeling your strength and desires to prevent your occupying other points. If strong enough, his feint may be converted into a real attack. I hope you will so maneuver as to deceive and thwart him.
The roads are hardly firm enough yet to invite his advance by land, and I discover nothing at present indicating co-operation with his column from Newport News. You can therefore only prevent his accumulating information and reserve your men. Should the Monitor appear before your batteries, it has occurred to me that by reserving your fire until she arrives near and discharging by word of command or simultaneously your heavy guns at her turret at the time when her gun was protruded for delivering fire, if the gun was struck it would be disabled, or if the turret was hit by a number of shot it would be deranged or capsized from its center.
Wrought-iron shot are being forged with a view to penetrate her
25 R R-VOL XI, PT III