endeavor to be prepared at all points, I entertain the impression that the enemy will for the present only advance as far as New Market Bridge, which he will fortify.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Forces.
JULY 4, 1861.
DEAR GENTLEMEN OF YORKTOWN: It is with much pleasure that I have taken this opportunity this morning to address you all with a few lines, in order to let you all know what I heard yesterday from a black man from our free town, Hampton. He says the Yankee guard is on the road from Fox Hill to town. They will not let any person pass nor repass, white nor black, on the account of bringing news out of Hampton. All that is in have to stay in, and all that is out have to stay out. Lincoln's and Butler's white and black negroes are preparing for York and Williamsburg. They have two thousand negroes in Hampton. They report that their time is up; that they are getting ready to go home. But I heard that this is only a blind; so you all must be on a lookout, night and day, for Yankee negroes. They may make their appearance before my letter reaches you all. Agreeable to what I heard, I heard Samuel and William belong to Mr. Samuel Latimere; John Smith belongs to Mr. Thomas Latimere; Jack Allen belongs to mr. G. Mears. These four boys are at the Point; so I heard. They ran away from Williamsburg. Jack, so I heard, came down by land, with a chain around him. He says he stole by the men on post while they were asleep with their blankets over their heads. These other three men came on the east side of James River until they came to a boat, then came down to Newport News Fort. They were taken there that night, and they put them none of those tug-boats and carried to Old Point. They were taken before General B. F. Butler. He asked them where they were from. Williamsburg, sir. What have you all been doing there? Working on batteries, sir. Good! You all are the boys for me; you all are the very boys, you all are worth money. Men, take good care of these boys, particularly; they are not to want for nothing. I will give you three passes to go and come when you please. You all three appear before me to-morrow morning again. You all must not be out the way. We all are going up to York, in short, and we want you all to pilot us up there, and show us how to get in the batteries, so we can go right to Richmond. So you all and generals cannot be too particular and on a bright lookout. George Scott will be in the band too. Please do not tell this to wives nor servants. Burn this letter up.
* * * * * * *
C. R. B.
P. S.-Good-bye, gentlemen; I hope God and His kind providence may provide for you all, and keep Virginia, the mother of States, from falling into the hands of raging Yankee negroes. Please to burn this letter up after reading it. I want to see you all very much indeed.
Yours, very respectfully, and obedient servant,