You will act on the defensive. Station your troops at suitable points to command the railroad; write and give assurance of protection to the inhabitants on the rivers; cause your troops to be instructed in the use of their several arms, and take immediate steps for provisioning them. If bacon cannot be procured, fresh meat must compose that part of your ration.
Two 8-inch howitzers have been sent you to-day; also ammunition for the same. I regret I cannot furnish you with carriages for these pieces, but I hope you will be able to have them constructed or made available for your purpose in Fredericksburg. You will endeavor to allay the popular excitement as far as possible. As soon as you can, send in a return of your troops, and where stationed.
I am, general, very respectfully,
R. E. LEE,
ALEXANDRIA, VA., April 24, 1861.
General LEE, Commander-in-Chief:
I can destroy the light-boats and remove the buoys, through the pilots, without military force. Shall I do it?
PHILIP ST. GEO. COCKE,
Our object is to interrupt the navigation of the Potomac by batteries, &c. If the governor and council see no objection, I will direct General Cocke, unless he can remove the light-boats to places of safety, to destroy them and to remove the buoys.
R. E. L.
Submitted to the council by the governor.
COUNCIL OFFICE, April 24, 1861.
Advised unanimously that the decision upon the matter be left to the discretion of General Lee.
By order of the council:
P. F. HOWARD,
FREDERICKSBURG, VA., April 24, 1861.
By yours ordered I proceeded to Aquia Creek, and examined the place, with the view of fortifying it, for the purposes indicated by your verbal directions of this date, viz: To secure the railroad iron, the timber, two vessels, and a small steamer at that point from the enemy. I was joined in the evening by Lieutenant Lewis, of the Virginia Navy, at your request, and we reviewed the ground together. After examining the topography of the ground and the character and position of the channel, we are of the opinion that the best place to put a battery is on the