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

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 42, Part 3 (Richmond-Fort Fisher)
Page 1176 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

much easier for him to place them in the river below you, so as to prevent your going down altogether, no matter how great the necessity for your presence below might become. It is, therefore, very desirable to guard the river as effectually as we can, and I think it can be done so as greatly to diminish the chance of the enemy laying torpedoes, if our iron-clads can go down as far as bishop's every night and picket in their rear with small boats and some of the light gun-boats. Our pickets on the north bank extend about half a mile below the lowest battery, and will be able to afford some assistance, as will also those on the south bank. A system of signals should be agreed upon between them and the fleet, to give timely notice of any attempt of the enemy to approach the river or launch boats. We have not sufficient force to picket the banks more effectually. Our batteries on the south be agreed upon between them and the fleet, to give timely notice of any attempt of the enemy to approach the river or launch boats. We have not sufficient force to picket the banks more effectually. Our batteries on the south side would also tend to deter the enemy from making the attempt you apprehend, and could afford assistance tot he fleet. You, of course, can best judge of your ability to render the service desired. I can only express my views of its importance, and I trust that if the Department can increase your force of men, or in any other way contribute to render you able to perform this important duty it will be done. As I said before, I can foresee no state of circumstances in which the fleet can render more important aid than in the defense of Richmond than at present by guarding the river below Chaffin's Bluff.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
October 26, 1864.

Major-General HAMPTON,

Commanding Cavalry Corps:

GENERAL: Your letter of the 24th is received. I am much pleased to hear of the improvement and increase of your command and of your confidence in the strength of your position. It would afford me great gratification if I could give General Hill the additional infantry to enable him to relieve your troops as you propose, as I can see that much benefit would result from it. But the difficulty is to get the men. I have written to him to say that the only source we have to depend upon is the conscription now going on. I hope he will be considerably strengthened by this means, and I have requested him to co-operate in your proposition to the extent of his ability. I have also asked General Kemper to allow recruits to go to the Tenth ad Thirteenth Regiments [Virginia Cavalry] to the extent allowed by the orders of the Department on that subject. Those orders only permit companies having less than the minimum number-sixty-four-on the rolls to receive recruits up to that number. Such companies of these regiments as are reduced below the minimum by death, discharge, retirement, &c., can therefore now be recruited. You will, therefore, send a competent officer, or two, if you deem it necessary, from each regiment to report to General Kemper to receive and forward recruits. They must carry the rolls of the companies to be recruited with them. I have suggested to General Kemper that to prevent imposition by men pretending that they have horses, in order to ge t an opportunity to go home, it would be best that they should be sent to their regiments first, and get authority to go for their horses, like other dismounted men. If a better arrangement occurs to you, you can adopt it. You will at once report any man


Page 1176 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 42, Part 3 (Richmond-Fort Fisher)
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