would render that return impracticable and really dangerous, and if, as I believe, no such movement has taken place, return the troops to the position they occupied with as little deadly as possible. If, however, there has been any new and treating movement by the enemy unknown to me, and which in your judgment may render it impracticable of imprudent to return to Alexandria, communicate the fact to me, and, in the mean time, exercise a sound discretion as to your acting.
By order of Philip St. George Cocke, brigadier-general, commanding:
GILES B. COOKE,
HEADQUARTERS VIRGINIA FORCES,
Richmond, Va., May 8, 1861.
Colonel P. ST. GEORGE COCKE, Commanding Potomac Division:
COLONEL: I am instructed by Major-General Lee to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 6th instant, with accompanying papers, in relation to the evacuation of Alexandria, asking whether you shall arrest Colonel Taylor, Virginia Volunteers. The general commanding directs that you will not arrest Colonel Taylor, but require from him an explanation.
J. M. BROOKE,
Virginia Navy, Acting Aide-de-Camp.
No. 2. Report of Lieutenant Colonel A. S. Taylor, Va. Vols., transmitted by General Cocke.
HEADQUARTERS POTOMAC DEPARTMENT,
Culpeper Court-House, Va., May 13, 1861.
Major-General Lee, Commander-in-Chief:
SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith the reply of Colonel A. S. Taylor to my call on him, at your suggestion, for a statement of the causes and reasons which induced him to evacuate the post of Alexandria on Sunday, May 5, as reported by me to headquarters some time since.
Very respectfully, your most obedient,
PHILIP ST. GEO. COCKE,
Commanding Potomac Department.
CULPEPER COURT-HOUSE, VA., May 9, 1861.
SIR: I have just received your communication of this date, calling upon me, by order of the general-in-chief, to give in writing my "reasons" and "causes" why I retired from Alexandria with the troops under my command.
On the first place, because of the inefficient condition of a large proportion of the troops and my exposed and indefensible position. Under my command there were two companies of raw Irish recruits, numbering about one hundred and twenty privates in both, armed with the altered flint-lock muskets of 1818, and without cartridges or camps; Captain Devaughn's company (Mount Vernon Guards), eighty-six privates,