War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0874 OPERATIONS IN MD., N. VA., AND W. VA. Chapter XIV.

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enemy passing from Sunday road to the Wilderness road by Nichol's Mill is simply absurd. There is hardly a trail there. If one, no army can possibly pass it that would startle a hare. I am compelled to stand here and fight as long as I can endure and ammunition lasts. All is at stake with my command, and it shall be sold dearly.

I am, very respectfully,



CAMP, MEADOW BLUFF, VIRGINIA, September 23, 1861.

General HENRY A. WISE, Commanding:

SIR: I have just received your dispatch of this date, saying that the enemy has occupied Sewell Mountain in full force. It is difficult, without knowing more of the facts in the case, to suggest what is your best course. It will depend upon the force against you and your force-power to withstand it. If you cannot resist it, and are able to withdraw your command, you had best do so. At any rate, send to the rear all your encumbrances. It is reported this evening that the enemy is coming from Sunday road, by Nichol's Mill, to the Wilderness road. Should that prove true, General Floyd cannot advance to your aid, but may have to retire. The presence of the enemy before you may be a feint, to keep you in position while they advance by other roads tot he rear of General Floyd. If you find that out and cannot disperse them, retire at once. As soon as anything reliable can be ascertained of the reported movements of the enemy on the Wilderness road you will be informed. Colonel Croghan, with has cavalry, has gone on the old State and Chestnutburg roads, to ascertain if there are any movements of the enemy there.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General, Commanding.

SEPTEMBER 23, 1861.

Major General R. E. LEE, Commanding, &c.:

GENERAL: I am directed by General wise to say that the enemy in very heavy columns has occupied the top of Sewell Mountain. Infantry, artillery,and cavalry are all plainly visible form our camp, about 1 mile distant. They have not as yet opened fire, and are reported by some of our cavalry as fortifying. When my last letter of to-day was written, I had just returned from the mission of truce, and the enemy came as fast as I did.

With great respect,


Lieutenant-Colonel, Infantry, C. S. Army.

CAMP ON SEWELL, VA., September 23, 1861.

Major General R. E. LEE, Commanding:

GENERAL: I am directed by General Wise to send you a copy of a letter addressed by me to him, and to say that Captain Margruder re-