Two of them are at Suffolk, and the other is divided between Yorktown, Fort Wood, and Point Lookout.
It is indispensable that these regiments should be replaced by others before they are mustered out of the service. My force is very small. In this fort, second in importance to none in the Union, I have but 500 men. It should be garrisoned by a regiment of artillery. I understand that Colonel Gibson, late in command at Fort Delaware, has a regiment of artillery in the District of Columbia. He has peculiar qualifications for the command of a garrison, and I should like very much to have him here. There is a great deal to be done here to put the fort in proper condition, and there are not men enough for the ordinary guard and police duty.
The condition of the ground surrounding the fort is very bad. I have instituted a sanitary commission for the purpose of removing nuisances, but the great amount of work done on the point for the Army of the Potomac renders it indispensable that we should have a full garrison, commanded by an experienced and vigilant officer.
I need a regiment of cavalry at Suffolk to replace one of the militia infantry regiments whose times is about to expire. I have less than 500 mounted men at that point, and they are almost worn-out by the hard service which they are performing as pickets an scouts between the Nansemond and Blackwater. The enemy have already come down several times on the east side of the Blackwater, carrying off both white men and negroes to the army at Richmond.
I am told that there is a fine regiment of cavalry at Port Royal, which is not needed there. If I can have this regiment for Suffolk and Colonel Gibson's artillery for this post I will be very glad to take them in place of the three militia regiments whose term of service is about to expire.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN A. DIX.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
Berkeley, August 1, 1862
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Commanding U. S. Army:
MY DEAR GENERAL: Your kind and very welcome letter of the 30th reached me this evening.
My own experience enables me to appreciate most fully the difficulties and unpleasant features of your position. I have passed through it all and most cordially sympathize with you, for I regard your place, under present circumstances as one of the most unpleasant under the Government. Of one thing, however, you may be sure, and that is of my full and cordial support in all things.
Had I been consulted as to who was to take my place I would have advised your appointment. So far as you are concerned I feel toward you and shall act precisely as if I had urged you for the place you hold. There is not one particle of feeling or jealousy in my heart toward you. Set you mind perfectly at rest on that score. No one of your old and tried friends will work with you more cordially and more honestly than I shall.
If we are permitted to do so, I believe that together we can save this unhappy country and bring this war to a comparatively early termina-