I beg respectfully to refer you to Colonel Gilmer for his opinions and suggestions.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. H. ANDERSON.
Major-General, Provisional Army.
PETERSBURG, VA., August 16, 1862
General S. COOPER.
A lieutenant sent down to count the enemy's vessels reports that from 1 p.m. yesterday up to this morning 108 vessels passed down the river and 8 up; only 5 are reported with troops. The Monitor, 5 gunboats, and 4 schooners are visible at Berkeley. This has been telegraphed to General Lee.
S. G. FRENCH,
PETERSBURG, VA., August 16, 1862.
It is reported by my courier that the enemy have a pontoon bridge across the Chickahominy and are there in force. From three sources we have the departure of the fleet.
S. G. FRENCH,
AUGUST 17, 1862
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS:
DEAR SIR: I found on getting to the telegraph office a dispatch from General Hill announcing that the enemy had gone from the south side of the river and could not be seen on the north side. I repeated the telegram to General Lee and asked if McLaws' division should not be brought to the railroad. He has not answered, and in the mean time General smith has announced that he has ordered General McLaws to make a reconnaissance and will report the result. Armistead's brigade went up yesterday and the rest of Anderson's division will go up to-day and to-morrow. We shall probably receive definite reports before the road is clear.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War.
RICHMOND, VA., August 17, 1862.
Major-General GUSTAVUS W. SMITH,
Move forward your division with the least delay practicable to re-enforce General Lee at Gordonsville. Trains will be in readiness in this city to take the troops as they arrive. I inclose a dispatch just received from General Lee, by which you will be governed in sending forward the other divisions of your command.
Adjutant and Inspector-General.