MARCH 14, 1862.
The unarmed regiment promised by Secretary of War, to be armed by you with the surplus arms in your command, is expected here soon. It will thereafter be immediately sent to you. It is impossible to say when the Virginia will be in position; it is supposed in a day or two.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK,
March 13, 1862.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:
SIR: I have expressed to you my conviction that iron-clad vessels can pass all our batteries with impunity. In barricading the approach to Norfolk it was necessary to leave a narrow passage for our vessels to go out. The Virginia passed through it to get into the Roads the other day.
The question now is, Should not this passage be stopped? If done, it should be with the concurrence of the Navy Department.
I think the channel should be stopped, and our vessels kept inside for the protection of the town. I beg the subject may be considered, and if the work is done, it should be by order of War and Navy Departments.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HDQRS. ARMY OF THE PENINSULA, Numbers 159.
Bartlett's Ranche, March 13, 1862.
All the arrangements having been made for the defense of this Peninsula, and the commanding general, as the troops are stationed at different places, not having it in his power to be at the same time with each body of troops, the following directions are given for the government of all, viz:
When any body of our troops, large or small, meets with any body of the enemy's troops, however large, the commanding officer of our troops will cause the enemy to be immediately attacked, and the men will attack at once and furiously. This is an order easily understood by officers and men and will doubtless be obeyed with alacrity by both.
The above instructions are not intended for those who have special orders under certain named circumstances not to fight.
By command of Major-General Magruder:
JOHN DONNELL SMITH,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE PENINSULA,
At Bartlett's, near Bethel, March 14, 1862.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding General of the Confederate Armies, at Richmond:
GENERAL: I do not know your adjutant-general, and therefore address you personally.
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