in time to enable General Beauregard to return with re-enforcements from General Lee to drive Butler from before Petersburg and from his present position in advance of Bermuda Hundred. Petersburg and Richmond could be held three days, or four at most, by the forces left there for that purpose. Without such concentration nothing decisive can be effected, and the picture presented is one of ultimate starvation. Without concentration General Lee must eventually fall back before Grant's heavy re-enforcements, whereas the plan presented merely anticipates this movement for offensive purposes. Mean time it is impossible to effectually protect our lines of communication with North Carolina, and impossible to hold our present line in front of Butler with a much more reduced line. At present 3,000 men can be spared from there with safety; day after to-morrow perhaps 2,000 more, for our lines will probably be stronger if, as we expect, our advanced line can be occupied to-morrow.
G. T. BEAUREGARD.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF N. C. AND S. VA., Numbers 8.
May 18, 1864.
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V. The brigade of Brigadier-General Johnson is assigned to Ransom's division and Kemper's brigade to Hoke's division. The exchange will be made at the earliest practicable moment. Brigadier General B. R. Johnson will forthwith assume command of Ransom's division.
VI. Major General D. H. Hill is assigned to the command of the division composed of Wise's and Martin's brigades and of Dearing's brigade of cavalry.
VII. Pursuant to instructions from General Bragg, the brigades of Corse, Kemper, Barton, and Hoke, with Lightfoot's battalion of artillery, are relieved from duty in this department, and will cross James River on the bridge immediately above Drewry's Bluff, and report to Major General R. Ransom, commanding in that section.
VIII. Ransom's brigade is hereby assigned temporarily to Johnson's division.
IX. Brigadier-General Colquitt, with three regiments of his brigade (one remaining at Port Walthall Junction), is assigned to Hoke's division, and will report accordingly. General Colquitt will order the battalion of artillery under Major Owen to report to General Johnson.
By command of General Beauregard:
JNO. M. OTEY,
SPOTSYLVANIA COURT-HOUSE, May 19, 1864.
(Via Hanover Junction. Received 6.40 20th.)
Honorable J. A. SEDDON, Secretary of War:
The enemy continues to drift toward our right. To develop his purpose General Ewell was directed to cross the Ny and find his right. He discovered his main body between the Spotsylvania and Fredericksburg road and the Telegraph road, and returned within our lines.
R. E. LEE.