on Nansemond River, and to say that General J. E. Johnston started from this city this morning for the purpose of visiting the Peninsula and Norfolk, proceeding first to the Peninsula. A portion of his army is being removed from Northern to Eastern Virginia, and he will make such distribution of it between the Peninsula and Norfolk as the good of the service may seem to require.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. H. TAYLOR,
APRIL 13, 1862.
Honorable GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War, C. S. A.:
DEAR SIR: As I am once in charge of Yorktown, and General Magruder is at the other end of the line, I have taken the liberty of writing to you directly by Captain Tayloe.
I find this place totally unprepared for a siege. There are only 65 rounds per gun for each of the heavy guns, and there ought to be at least ten more heavy guns on the land side. General Johnston thinks that half of the water guns ought to be transferred to the land side.
The enemy is making formidable preparations. He has established a depot at the mouth of Wormley's Creek, as well as at Ship Point. There can be no doubt that he is bringing up heavy siege guns, and when he does open fire it will be terrific. The light guns in Redoubts Nos. 4 and 5 (outside of Yorktown) will be knocked over in half an hour. I fear that those redoubts cannot be held, certainly not with light guns. The woods which I was so anxious to have cut down are still standing, so that the enemy can establish his batteries under cover at 800 yards. In fact, we have had men killed by rifle-shots even inside of the works. We ought to have force enough to make formidable sorties to destroy batteries in process of construction. But with our present inadequate supply of troops we have no men to spare for outside operations.
The occupation of Wormley's Creek puts a new face upon the operations of the enemy. His light steamers can carry heavy guns up to White's Mill, within a mile of Yorktown. He has full possession of all the woods in that direction.
Our wants are, briefly, more infantry-at least 10,000; more heavy guns, and more ammunition. The calibers on the land side are four 32-pounders, navy carriages; one 32-pounder, light carriage; four 24-pounders; one 8-inch mortar; three 12-pounders; one rifled 24-pounder (a poor affair). These guns ought to be abundantly supplied with ammunition. In addition, General Magruder has ordered the removal of five 8-inch columbiads to the land side. These also ought to have a large supply of ammunition. Hand grenades ought to be supplied in large numbers, and at least 50,000 sand bags. Richmond and the Southern Confederacy are dependent upon the contest here.
Please excuse my calling your personal attention to these matters. General Johnston's presence and General Johnston's army may save us; otherwise the contest will be hopeless. It is not conceivable that the troops of General Johnston would fight as well under any other officer. The marvelous energy of General Magruder has accomplished wonders, but the Army of the Potomac will fight better under its own chief.
With great respect,
D. H. HILL.