eHistory logo Primary Sources Section
Primary Sources Home | Search eHistory

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

You are currently in Volume XI | Pages range from 1 to 691

Go to Page (current volume):  
Index | Previous | Next
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 3 (Peninsular Campaign)
Page 397 Chapter XXIII. CORRESPONDENCE,ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

contrary, should Richmond be the object of his attack and his route be by the Peninsula, you must throw across James River at a point to reach his front as large a force as can be safely withdrawn from the defense of Norfolk. It is probable a feint will be made against one city, while the attack will be against the other, and great care and judgment must be exercised not to be deceived. You must therefore immediately look to all your defenses, organize the troops to hold them, mobilize the remainder to move at a moment's warning, should they not be required to oppose the enemy in the lines around Norfolk. You will have also to arrange means of transportation should it be necessary to cross your troops over James River.

The infantry, it is suggested, might be sent by railroad to City Point and ferried over by steamers. Artillery could be crossed lower down, from Carter's Wharf to Grove's Wharf, unless the enemy's gunboats prevent it; but as to the best points and means you must judge, and make such preparations under both contingencies as are necessary.

Keep me advised of the preparations and movements of the enemy as far as you can discover, and also of your opinion as to the object he has in view.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., March 25, 1862.

GENERAL JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON,
Commanding Army in Northern Virginia:

GENERAL: The President desires to know with what force you could march to re-enforce the Army of the Peninsula or Norfolk, which are now threatened by the enemy assembling in great numbers, according to the reports received, at Old Point Comfort. It seems probable that the troops concentrating there are drawn from the army of General McClellan. Whether it is intended to move against Norfolk or Richmond there is yet nothing to determine. But from the accounts received nothing less than 20,000 or 30,000 men will be sufficient, with the troops already in position, successfully to oppose them. It will be necessary, therefore, for you to organize a part of your troops to hold your present line, and to prepare the remainder to move to this city, to be thrown on the point attacked.

The object of the President is to prepare you for a movement which now appears imperative, as no troops are available but those of your army to meet the enemy concentrating on the coast.

As soon as something more definite can be learned you will be informed, and should you receive a dispatch saying "Move at once," you will understand that you are to repair immediately to this city, where you will be informed to what point you are to direct your course. Such arrangements as you deem necessary for the transportation and subsistence of your troops on their march you are desired to make. Every facility that can be given here to the same end will be prepared.

This is sent by a special messenger, to insure security and dispatch.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General, Commanding.


Page 397 Chapter XXIII. CORRESPONDENCE,ETC.-CONFEDERATE.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 3 (Peninsular Campaign)
Index | Previous | Next
This symbol external link icon indicates an external link
All images and content are the property of eHistory at The Ohio State University unless otherwise stated.
Copyright © 2014 OSU Department of History. All rights reserved. [citation and copyright information]
eHistory icon