War of the Rebellion: Serial 014 Page 0431 Chapter XXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

work is successfully stormed these eight field pieces will be lost, and the stronger work therefore without any means of defense. It is not necessary that these eight field pieces should be of long range; they should fire, however, shell and canister or grape, and should have a large quantity of ammunition.

One of McClellan's batteries has opened upon one of mine on my right flank. According to the accounts of prisoners the number and caliber of his pieces of artillery are almost incredible.

As the Virginia is out, the gunboats in Norfolk, the Jamestown and Patrick Henry and others, can certainly pass up the river, and by laying in the Swash Channel, which they can do with ease, can certainly prevent McClellan from crossing the Warwick River below my works unless exposed to a most destructive fire. Please have them ordered up, as the James River is safe so long as the Virginia is below.

Field guns are much needed at Yorktown, and indeed guns for the land defense of every caliber are much needed there; the field pieces especially, to defend the numerous ravines, which are the easiest means of approach by the enemy. Twelve of these at least are required of long range, firing shell. It is absolutely necessary to have many mortars, because of the impossibility of reaching the enemy in the ravines by any other means. There are but three old 42-pounder carronades and two or three old iron guns in the works at Williamsburg. These works are now of importance in defending the Peninsula and in securing the best means of safety for the army in case of disaster. Therefore, if my field artillery be lost, all is lost; hence the necessity of having guns in these works without the least delay. Ten heavy rifled guns and ten batteries of light artillery are required for these works. Send as many, however, as you can.

The right flank at Spratley's requires at least two field batteries, and the work on the main-land opposite Jamestown commanding the bridge requires another battery.

With these guns and fortifications the Peninsula can be held as long as the works at Yorktown and Mulberry Island hold out, and if the Warwick line can be successfully defended, so that neither of these works can be fully invested, McClellan is defeated, at least until the iron-clad vessels of the enemy shall be in such numbers as to make forts useless.

A large quantity of ammunition is necessary to be deposited at Williamsburg.

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


Major-General, Commanding.


Lee's Farm, April 8, 1862-10 a.m.

General LEE,


I want 200 wagons for transportation. Will you send them at once to Williamsburg, overland, loaded with long forage? Drivers, if not to be had, can be pressed under martial law. The 100 horses ordered are very much needed; have not arrived. Please send all the field artillery to be had and in the best possible order. These things are absolutely necessary.

Wagon-masters can be had for money.


Major-General, Commanding.