afford to scorn such attempts to create distrust between us, and apply ourselves to the sole task of defending our country at this moment of her great need.
I sent you a dispatch to-day, by order of the President, to hold 5,000 men and two batteries ready for crossing the river.
The President says that when in town, a week ago, you proposed yourself to cross and aid, with part of your army, in defense of Suffolk. We do not believe that you are in the slightest danger of an attack at present, either in front or by being outflanked by naval forces. all our intelligence tends to one point. Suffolk is the aim of the enemy. Norfolk is to be cut off, if they can accomplish their purpose. If succeed in this, then, indeed, your entire flank would be thrown open, and you would be forced to fall back rapidly, for they would get possession of all the defenses on the south side of the James River and cross at pleasure at any point they might select. It is for your own defense, as well as that of Norfolk, therefore, that the President desires you to be ready, at a moment's warning, to re-enforce the army defending Suffolk with at least 5,000 men and two batteries. It is not intended to order you to cross in person or to leave your command, but to send these troops under such general of your command as you may select.
I am, your obedient servant,
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE PENINSULA,
Yorktown, March 4, 1862.
To the Army of the Peninsula:
COMRADES: The time of service for which many of you enlisted is about to expire. Your country, invaded by an insolent foe, again demands your help. Your homes are violated, your firesides polluted by the presence of a mercenary enemy or silent in their desolation; many of your friends in captivity or in exile; our people slain, and the very altars of our religion desolated and profaned. The ruthless tyrants who have dared to invade us have vowed our conquest or our destruction.
It is for you to rise and avenge our slaughtered countrymen or nobly share their fate. Of what worth is life without liberty, peace at the expense of honor, the world without a home?
When our fathers periled life, fortune, and sacred honor to our first war of Independence, was it an empty boast, or was it the stern resolve of freemen, who knew their rights and dared to defend them? The long war of the Revolution culminated at length in victorious triumph on these very plain of Yorktown. These frowning battlements on the heights of York are turned in this second war of liberty against the enemies of our country. You breathe the air and tread the soil consecrated by the presence and heroism of our patriotic sires. Shall we, their sons, imitate their example, or basely bow the neck to the yoke of the oppressor? I know your answer. You remember your wrongs, and you are resolved to avenge them. True to the instincts of patriotic devotion, you will not fill a coward's grave. You spring with alacrity to the death-grapple with the foe, nor relinquish the strife till victory crowns our arms. Cowards die a thousand deaths; brave men die but once, and conquer though they die. It is therefore without surprise that your commanding general has learned of your purpose to re-enlist in this holy struggle, and that you bear with a cheerfulness and con-