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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 3 (Peninsular Campaign)

a full and fair statement of the whole matter to the Secretary of War for his decision. I must respectfully request an early answer.



Captain, C. S. Army, Commanding Fort.

HEADQUARTERS, Lee's House, April 27, 1862.

General R. E. LEE:

GENERAL: Our scouts report that the enemy had two hundred and fifty transports at Ship Point, one-third of them steamers and five hundred bateaux. He has been repairing with elaborate caution to attack Yorktown with heavy artillery. It is certain that our guns will soon be dismounted and York River open to him. He will then doubtless transport an army up that river and so compel me to fall back. It will then be necessary to evacuate Norfolk, bringing the troops to Richmond. I am told that two small iron-clad vessels have recently come to Old Point. This will render complete obstruction of the channel of James River necessary.

I suppose that the vessels of war of the United States now in Hampton Roads will join in the attack upon our batteries, so that James River for the time will not be threatened. I have asked Commander Tatnall if the Virginia could, under such circumstances, assist us. Serious damage to his transport fleet would at the least delay the enemy's movements. I doubt, however, if the Virginia can pass Fort Monroe and the iron-clad vessels.

Captain Tucker with the Patrick Henry and three smaller vessels is near Mulberry Point. When compelled to retire they can pass the obstruction below Richmond before it is closed.

The weather is most unpropitious; the roads as bad as possible. The march of an army now with its wagons and artillery would be very difficult. The passage of the Federal army up York River would render a rapid movement necessary on our part.

Do urge the work on the bridges of the Chickahominy.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,


HEADQUARTERS, Lee's House, April 27, 1862.

General B. HUGER,

Commanding Department of Norfolk:

SIR: The enemy is apparently preparing to attack Yorktown with a powerful artillery. Should he succeed in dismounting our guns he will be able, with the hope of his numerous transports, said now to be waiting at Ship Point, to turn this position by ascending York River. Such a move will of course compel this army to abandon the Peninsula. It will then be a question how long we can hold James River by means of the Virginia and other vessels of war and the batteries on the southern shore. The possession of James River would make Norfolk untenable. It is necessary, therefore, that you should be prepared for such a contingency, and hold your troops in readiness to move toward Richmond

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 3 (Peninsular Campaign)
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