the troops I shall be forced back to Williamsburg, as there would be three roads to guard with a force of not more than 4,000 men, after deducting the above-named garrisons. I will do my very best with these against all odds. I have withdrawn the troops from Young's and Harrod's Mills, leaving the cavalry and one regiment of infantry at each of these places, and have nearly completed the concentration of my force on the second line preparatory to this call.
The Quartermaster-General informs me that the Northampton will be ready from Thursday to Saturday, and that a tug and four lighters will be ready on Monday.
The superintendent of the Southside Railroad writes that the most expeditions way to convey troops to Suffolk is to take them from Jamestown by steamer to City Point, thence to Petersburg, and by the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad to Suffolk. I think this is the best and will also be the most secret, as the troops will have to march as high up as King's Mill at all events and then go down the river to a landing in sight of the enemy, and then have a march of 30 or 40 miles. I shall therefore send them this way.
I have this moment received the Secretary's dispatch and answer by the boat.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
P. S. - Not having been previously informed what number of troops would be required to be transported, I could do nothing more than make inquiries and notify the Quartermaster-General of my probable wants in the way of transportation.
J. B. MAGRUDER.
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., March 4, 1862.
Major General J. B. MAGRUDER,
SIR: Your letter of March 1 has been submitted to the President, as you desired. The complaints made of the action of this Department in relation tot eh impressment of negroes were without just foundation. The Department has simply requested that you confine yourself to the impressment of such negroes as are within your command, and has pointed out the utter impossibility of permitting the generals who command in different districts to cross their own lines and encroach on the commands of their neighbors. The slaves from Greenville County were in no sense under your control or authority, and the Secretary was forced, on appeal, to decide that you had no right to retain them.
I regret that the people should have "got an idea that the influence of the Government will be cast against your efforts." I assure you that such an idea is utterly unfounded. It has been my desire, and it is still my most earnest wish, to strengthen your hands and aid your efforts in every possible way, and no one does fuller justice to your zeal, activity, and high soldierly qualities. I pray you to dismiss all such thoughts from your mind as unworthy of us both. In time like these miserable scandal-mongers and panic-breeders ply their vocation of sowing the seeds of mischief among men in office; but we can both