this place for two days. We have but two guns which can reach them, and these have but 16 rounds of disk shells. The other shells are worthless. The delay of McClellan can only be accounted for in one of two ways: He is either waiting for a formidable mortar and siege train or he is waiting until more iron-clad vessels are made. In the latter case he expects to reduce Yorktown from the water side, the Monitor keeping the Merrimac in check at Old Point. Yesterday the gunboats shelled the woods near Gloucester, feeling for batteries. The reduction of Gloucester would be a serious calamity, but iron-clad boats in the river would be much more so.
The enemy with his water facilities can multiply his artillery indefinitely, and his is so superior to ours, the result of such a fight cannot be doubtful.
Would it not be better to let our railroads in North Carolina be cut, our cities in South Carolina and Georgia captured, and have the whole Southern army thrown here and crush McClellan? By attempting to hold so many points we have been beaten in detail, and are losing all that we have been trying to hold. We are no match for the Yankees at an artillery play with our wretched ordnance, poor in quality and feeble in quantity. We must fight on the field and trust to the bayonet. If we had 100,000 men here we could march out of the trenches and capture McClellan, unless he has a swift-footed horse. He has been anxious to dine in Richmond and we would be glad to send him up with an escort.
I have been much troubled about the river. If the enemy get a position in rear of us our men cannot stand to their guns on the land side while an assaulting column is coming up to attack the works. The enemy is accumulating men and guns much faster than we are. Every day is a gain to him.
I have a wretched tallow candle stuck in a box and cannot see the lines.
With great respect,
D. H. HILL.
Richmond, April 15, 1862.
Major General D. H. HILL,
Commanding at Yorktown:
DEAR SIR: I have ordered five 8-inch guns, with 100 rounds each, to be sent to you immediately. Colonel Gorgas will have as many sand bags made as he can find the material for. He hopes to be able to get about 20,000. We are expecting a large supply of powder, now on the road between here and Florida, and will supply you so soon as it arrives. I have directed the Tredegar Works to complete the shaft of the Logan in preference to all other work, and hope to have her on the river in a week at farthest. You will be re-enforced speedily to an extent equal, if not greater, than you require, and General Johnston will assume the command. We can send other artillery so soon as we get the powder, and will do so if necessary.
Colonel Gorgas informs me that he has sent the hand grenades and 10,000 pounds of powder. I send you a cipher, which I have explained to Captain Hill, and will get you to use when you telegraph anything that ought not to be known. Communicate with me freely.
Very truly, yours,
G. W. RANDOLPH.