Richmond, Va., June 28, 1861.
Brigadier General T. H. HOLMES,
Commanding, &c., Fredericksburg, Va.:
GENERAL: In answer to your letter of the 27th instant* I have to state that it has always been intended to erect a battery at Mathias Point, with a view of commanding the navigation of the Potomac, and guns, &c., have been prepared for the purpose. Its construction has been postponed, from the fact that it would be vigorously resisted by the troops of the U. S. Government, and from its exposed position would require a larger force to protect and defend it than was available. The erection of the battery is still desired if it can be accomplished; but if the point at Evansport will accomplish the same end, as you think probable, an as it possesses advantages which you mention, it is preferable to construct the proposed battery at said point; but before this can be decided on you are desired, with the aid of the naval officers on the Potomac, to make an examination of the river at that point, to ascertain its condition and character, and you are requested to do so as soon as practicable. There are three 9-inch columbiads now here that were intended for Mathias Point and can be used at Evansport if that point be preferred. There are no rifled 32-pounders. I think no unnecessary demonstration should be made to attract the enemy's attention, either at Evansport or at Mathias Point, which might disclose our purpose.
R. E. LEE,
Brooke's Station, June 28, 1861.
Honorable L. P. WALKER, Secretary of War:
SIR: Pursuant to your instructions, received last night, I dispatched Colonel Bate, with the effective force of his regiment present, to support Commander Lewis, C. S. Navy. I consider the command (about four hundred) unnecessarily strong, as Colonel Bate is positively ordered to take no part in th expedition on the water. I sincerely hope your excellency will not consider me extra cautious in this matter, for when we consider that na indispensable requisite to success would be the absolute concealment of three hundred or four hundred men on a comparatively small steamer, and those men untrained volunteers, and that this is only one of several other contingencies equally difficult to be reconciled, it seems to me that success would be miraculous.+
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
TH. H. HOLMES,
Winchester, June 29, 1861.
General S. COOPER:
GENERAL: Immediately after reading in a newspaper the proclamation of the governor of Virginia in relation to the transfer of troops, &c.,
+The record do not indicate what this "expedition" was.