WILLIAMSBURG, VA., May 29, 1861.
SIR: There are, including the volunteers, five hundred men at work on the defenses below Williamsburg. There has been some delay, I think, in consequence of the necessity of allowing time to the engineers to complete their reconnaissance. These defenses will be pushed forward with all possible dispatch. Unless artillery is furnished to defend them with, I fear they will avail but little. There ought to be two light batteries at least. Now there is not a piece. Your immediate attention is asked to this.
BENJ. S. EWELL,
Lieutenant Colonel, Commanding Camp Page, near Williamsburg, Va.
I recommend, most urgently, that the light batteries asked for by Colonel Ewell be furnished without delay. If they are sent mounted and without horses, harness, or caissons, they will answer. It is requisite that they should have a full supply of ammunition, assorted. They have applied for it formally, and have received the sanction of General Lee. With these remarks the letter of General Lee [?] is respectfully referred.
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
NORFOLK, VA., May 29, 1861.
I am obliged by the seize and position of my command to divide it into two, by the Elizabeth River, and assign the eastern division to Colonel Withers, and the western to Colonel Blanchard. Not having the requisite staff, I have to allow them to use acting appointments, without pay, to perform the duty. Such articles as they find it necessary to procure, I must order paid by the quartermaster here, Captain J. A. Johnston, who, I am happy to inform you, has now entered upon his duties. The law of Virginia gives volunteers an allowance in money for clothing; but, as the men are not paid, the volunteers, especially those from distant States, can get no clothing, as they have no money to procure it with. I will have to get for them the articles which are absolutely necessary, and have the amount advanced deducted from their pay. I find officers here without means of procuring provisions. I will have to ration them, or give them means to buy food, and deduct it from their pay. I mention these necessities, that you may, if you think proper, cover such cases by a general order. The Federal forces seem establishing themselves at Newport News. They have landed some ordnance and many stores. All the transport steamers have left but one.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,