falling back on Norfolk. I sent yesterday to establish batteries near Great Bridge, on the North Branch of Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, to block that passage, and visited that place to-day. I found General Wise there, with the five companies of the Sixth Virginia Regiment, five pieces of artillery, under Colonel Henningsen, and about four companies of his Legion, under Colonel Richardson. I inquired of General Wise why he abandoned his position at Currituck Bridge without orders, but could get no satisfactory answer. He said he intended to occupy a position on Northwest River, but on reaching there in a snowstorm, found no quarters for his men. He fell back to Great Bridge, 12 miles south of Norfolk, where he now is.
I must be allowed to consider General Wise supernumerary with this army, and relieve him from duty. His Legion has no doubt fine material, but I consider it entirely disorganized, and I shall feel stronger if it is removed.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your must obedient servant,
RICHMOND, February 16, 1862.
Brigadier General GEORGE W. RANDOLPH, Richmond, VA.:
SIR: The Secretary of War directs that you proceed forthwith to Suffolk, Va., and report for duty to Major-General Huger, under whom you will immediately proceed to fortify and defend the approaches to Norfolk and provide for the protection of the Portsmouth and Weldon Railroad between Suffolk and Weldon. To effect these objects you are authorized to call out a sufficient negro force and adopt such measures as may be necessary.
Captain I. M. St. John, Engineers, will be directed to report to you for duty.
You will arrange with the Commissary General for the nations of the negroes before leaving the city.
Very respectfully, &c.,
Adjutant and Inspector General.
RICHMOND, VA., February 18, 1862.
Honorable W. W. AVERY, Richmond, Va.:
MY DEAR SIR: Your note of yesterday,* in reference to the conversation I had with yourself and other Representatives from your State, in consequence of the resolutions of the North Carolina Convention, has been received.
I have already replied to the Convention by telegraph+ that I prefer not to send back the North Carolina troops referred to, for the reason that the exigency which caused them to be sent to South Carolina is even more pressing now than at the time of their assignment to the defense of that locality. The enemy seriously threatens Savannah, and occupying as he does, a secure position on the islands in its vicinity, where, protected by his gunboats, he can mature his plans and
+See Davis to Edwards, p. 434.