HEADQUARTERS VIRGINIA FORCES,
No. 127. Richmond, Va., May 27, 1861.
The commanding officer of the cavalry camp at Ashland will select the four companies of his command best prepared for actual service in the field, and prepare them to move by railroad to Manassas Junction. Two of these companies will take the cars on Wednesday, at such hour and place as the railroad officers may appoint with the Quartermaster's Department, and will be followed on the next day by the two remaining companies. The four companies will be placed under the command of Major Julian Harrison, Virginia volunteers, who will report to Brigadier-General Bonham on their arrival at Manassas Junction. They will be provided with at least one day's cooked rations for the journey.
By order of Major-General Lee:
R. S. GARNETT,
Yorktown, Va., May 27, 1861.
Colonel R. S. GARNETT:
SIR: The women and children have been passing here all day from Hampton, and Major Cary also is retreating on this place with about sixty-five men, out of some two hundred, which he had a day or two since-the remainder of his men being occupied attending to their retreating families. He left two pieces of indifferent artillery behind him within three miles of Hampton. I sent down for these to-night, and think they will be here, or at least in a place of safety by daylight. Since my last dispatch, which I sent through Colonel Ewell, further intelligence has reached me, to the effect that a large body of troops, some two thousand five hundred or three thousand, perhaps exaggerated, marched out of Old Point by the head of Hampton Creek, the bridge by Hampton having been burned, passed through Hampton, and marched to Newport News and united with those who landed there to-day, making, by the smallest accounts, five thousand men. The statement with regard to the number of troops may be inaccurate, but from official reports, from Major Cary and otherwise, there is a very considerable body of Federal troops occupying that place, from which they can march to this place in one day with ease, or can reach this place more rapidly by landing their troops at Grove Landing, on James River, about eight miles from here, and over a road not easily defensible by inferior numbers. This landing is on my right and rear, being, as I said before, only eight miles from here and seven miles from Williamsburg, the distance from the latter place to this being twelve miles, and Williamsburg itself being northwest from us. Colonel Ewell reports to-day that he has only one hundred and eight miles from here and seven miles from Williamsburg, the distance from the latter place to this being twelve miles, and Williamsburg itself being northwest from us. Colonel Ewell reports to-day that he has only one hundred and eighty men under his command, and Colonel August, whom I left there because I saw that Williamsburg was very much exposed, has only between six and seven hundred men.
I shall urge upon Colonel Ewell your instructions in reference to the defenses between the heads of Queen and College Creeks, directing him to employ all the officers and soldiers of his command as laborers, all the troops here being employed night and day in this capacity. To-day he informs me that he has moved his force and that of Colonel August towards Grove Landing, keeping, however, I presume, his laborers employed upon the defenses between Queen and College Creeks and in