burg to Wilmington will be placed under the command of Major-General Homes. It would then be no longer necessary to keep any of General Huger's command at Petersburg. If Governor Clark forward the regiments I will duly apprise you of the fact.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
May 23, 1862.
Brigadier General L. O'B. BRANCH:
GENERAL: Since my dispatch addressed to you at Gordonsville the enemy's positions have been changed. They are now nearer to the Chickahominy. Do not, therefore, consider Hanover court-House your station, but be governed by circumstances in placing your troops. Colonel Robertson, of the cavalry, can give the information you require for this object, and will keep you informed of the movements of the Federal troops.
I suppose that a position much nearer the Chickahominy than your present one would be better. Of this, however, you must judge.
The regiment which preceded you to Hanover Court-House does not belong to your brigade, I believe. It must for the present form a part of your command.
In the event of a general engagement within your reach, in the absence of other orders, attack the enemy's flank, if you can.
In a few days General J. R. Anderson will probably by near you.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. E. JOHNSTON,
Please inform me of all movements of your troops.
J. E. J.
HEADQUARTERS RIGHT WING,
Fairfield Race-Course, May 23, 1862.
SIR: Having understood from General Johnston, in conversation near the cross-roads some weeks since, that the arrangement by which my command was placed under Major-General Smith was in consequence of the army being massed in about equal numbers on two roads, requiring two commanders, and that the arrangement was temporary, I have now the honor to request that my command be no longer attached to that of Major-General Smith, but that I be authorized to report as usual to the general commanding the army.
These commands are now acting separately, and there would seem to be no necessity that an inconvenience and delay arising form the present arrangement, without mentioning other obvious reasons for my wishing a command independent of an officer of the same grade with myself.
I hope the above may be sufficient to induce the general to accede to my request.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,