War of the Rebellion: Serial 014 Page 0388 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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would do it effectually. If done at all it should be done without the least delay, and by an engineer, civil or military, of great energy and understanding. I could hold Williamsburg then and Jamestown Island at least as long as Yorktown could hold out, which I hope would be a long time.

I think McClellan has shown his plan is to turn flanks by great detours by land and water. The falling back of our army from the Potomac gives him the power to detach largely, and I think he will never risk a defeat himself when he can devolve the risk of it upon some one of his subordinates.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding.

P. S.-Since writing the above I have received the following report from Colonel Crump, the correctness of which I have no reason to doubt:


Major General J. B. MAGRUDER:

GENERAL: The lieutenant commanding the picket in Matthews makes the following report: "That a fleet passed in the direction of Fort Monroe yesterday, composed as follows: Twenty-eight steamers, four floating batteries, twenty-six sails of different kinds, loaded with hay and a large number of horses."

I should be glad to hear the result of the firing heard in the Peninsula yesterday.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel, Commanding Post.

I have also the honor to report that my lowest pickets say that the enemy were re-enforced at both Newport News and Old Point last night and the night before [during the night]. They judge from the whistling of steamers and the sound of drums.

I am, sir, &c.,


Major-General, Commanding.

NORFOLK, March 20, 1862.

Major-General MAGRUDER:

Nineteen steamers loaded with troops and nine schooners came down the bay at 8 o'clock yesterday evening to Old Point. Two gunboats went to sea. I have had no report from the post this morning, the weather being too misty to see the shipping at Old Point.


Signal Officer.

ENGINEER BUREAU, Richmond, March 20, 1862.

Lieutenant HENRY T. DOUGLAS, P. A. C. S.,

In Charge of Defenses, Yorktown:

SIR: The almost impossibility of procuring axes has prevented me so far from honoring your requisition for 200.*

* * * * *

I still think the water battery should be abandoned at Yorktown,


*Some matters of detail omitted.