having been previously placed in embrasure. There are six other guns to be placed en barbette. The position I think singularly strong, if further assisted by art. The guns should be immediately placed in position. Traverses should be immediately thrown up. The fort is small, and this could be completed in a very short time. The woods come up river front. They afford perfect shelter for an attacking force. The forest should be cleared with the utmost possible dispatch. In the woods a very short distance from the fort is a marsh, which nearly surrounds the fort. Over this marsh a road passes leading to the camp of Lieutenant-Colonel Archer. The road can be completely commanded by the fort, but the guns for this purpose are not yet in position. There are several wooden buildings recently erected inside the fort. I think they should be removed at once, with the exception, perhaps, of the one for commissary stores. Of this last I am doubtful. This should be removed as soon as store-house can be erected in another position. The two artillery companies should be placed under the immediate command of the commander of the fort, and required to occupy their position either in the fort or immediately adjacent thereto. They should be drilled immediately at their pieces. The drill for some time has been suspended, I was informed, partly because some of the guns were being removed en barbette from the embrasures.
I do not wish to be understood as interfering in any question existing as to the command between the officers, but the exigencies of the service, the importance of that position as bearing on the defenses of James River, and particularly Mulberry Island batteries, and the batteries on the north side of James River generally justify my allusion to the necessity of its being immediately put in proper state of defense, and that the authority and respective rights and commands of the officers be distinctly defined.
I also recommend that bomb-proofs be erected and the batteries casemated with the utmost possible dispatch.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY COULTER CABELL,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief of Artillery, P. A. C. S.
MARCH 14, 1862.
Harden's Bluff batteries bear such a close relation to Mulberry Point Battery - the right flank of this department, for if that battery is taken the right flank may be considered as turned - that I feel authorized in calling the attention of the commanding general to the remarks of Colonel Cabell, within, in relation to the condition of that battery, especially as to the drill, the command, and its rear defenses.
RICHMOND, VA., March 17, 1862.
General J. B. MAGRUDER,
Commanding Army of Peninsula:
GENERAL: I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 14th instant, and regret very much to learn the smallness of the number of your troops. I will endeavor to re-enforce you as soon as possible, but