this report reaches you, and the place is really very strong. A battery of four 8-inch columbiads will command the channel of the James River upon one side, but still leaves open the channel on the Nansemond side.
On this side, as you will perceive, is Pig Point, upon which the rebels have erected batteries, which they are striving now to finish, mounting some seven guns of 32-pounders and 42-pounders. If we were in possession of Pig Point the James and Nansemond would both be under our control, and the services of one blockading vessel might be dispensed with, which are now required to prevent water communication between Richmond and Williamsburg and Norfolk and Suffolk. My proposition is, therefore, to make a combined naval and land attack upon Pig Point, and endeavor to carry the batteries both by turning them and by direct attack from the naval force; if we succeed, then to intrench ourselves there with what speed we may, and re-establish the battery; but at the same time to push on with the same flotilla of boats with which we land up the Nansemond, which is navigable for boats and I believe light drought steamers, to Suffolk, a distance of twelve miles. When once there, the Commanding General's familiarity with the country or a glance at the map will show that we are in possession of all the railroad communications between Richmond, Petersburg, and Norfolk, and also of the Great Shore Line, connecting Virginia with North Carolina via Weldon, by which the guns taken at the navy-yard will be sent South whenever the operation in that direction demands.
By going eight and a half miles farther, by Jericho Canal we enter Drummond Lake, a sheet of water some four by six miles. From the lake the feeder of the Dismal Swamp Canal might be cut off, and that means of transport cut off. Once at Suffolk in position, with these lines of communication of the enemy cut off, Norfolk must fall with her own weight. Starvation, to be brought on by simply gathering up the provisions of Princess Anne County, will make her batteries and the theft of the navy-yard guns substantially valueless, and will save many lives to be spent otherwise in their reduction. I am not insensible to the disadvantages and difficulties of this project, which I may have painted with too much couleur de rose. I do not recognize as among the most formidable the reduction of Pig Point Battery-that is, there is plenty of depth of water within point-blank range to float the Cumberland; but, the battery once reduced, there must be a pretty active march on Suffolk to prevent trouble; some fortifications there, which I believe have not yet been undertaken.
If I am right in the importance which I attach to this position, then I must expect all the force of the rebels both from Norfolk and Richmond, brought there by the railroads, to be precipitated upon me, and be prepared to meet it in the open field. Could they do otherwise? Norfolk would be hemmed in. Am I able to withstand such an attack between two forces which may act in conjunction, with the necessary drafts from my force to keep open the line of communication by the Nansemond with Newport News, which would then be the right flank of my base of operations?
All these questions, much more readily and easily comprehended by the General-in-Chief then by myself, with the thousand suggestions that will at once present themselves to his mind, are most respectfully submitted. May I ask for full and explicit instructions upon this matter? I have adopted the suggestions of the Lieutenant-General upon the subject of arming the flank companies of Colonel Duryea's com-