and formidable demonstration at that point, and that our ability to hold it is contingent upon the effectiveness of our artillery.
Upon the day before yesterday I made a personal reconnaissance of the enemy's batteries and of our position, and discovered a point where, in my opinion, a battery mounted with heavy artillery could command two, if not all, of the batteries of the enemy, and immediately directed earthworks to be thrown up in order to place in position two heavy guns.
We had two 32-pounders mounted on wheels, which I have been frequently in the habit of moving on the Peninsula. I consider that these two guns placed in my new battery would render the batteries of the enemy very nearly untenable. These two guns had been previously placed in Redoubt No. 4, near Yorktown, and recommended themselves to me by the facility with which they could be brought to the dam, and by the ease with which their place could be supplied by two long 32-pounders, mounted on navy carriages, which I had in my possession.
Impressed with these ideas, I requested Major-General Hill to make the exchange of pieces indicated with me, but he declines acquiescing in my proposition, deeming, probably, that he would be weakened by the exchange. Not deterred by his refusel, and deeply impressed with the vital importance of defending Dam No. 1 as far as possible, I have continued my rear battery, determined to mount these or the 32-pounders on navy carriages if no other arrangement should be ordered by the general commanding.
The objections to these letter guns being used in that position are twofold. In the first place the engineer reports that it is exceedingly difficult to mount them in the position chosen, which the nearness of approach of the enemy's sharpshooters under cover will make the work of the cannoneer more than usually hazardous, and, secondly, if from any cause it should be necessary to abandon that position, either by a movement in advance or to the hear, it would be impracticable in the one case to derive any benefit or in the other to serve the guns.
The guns mounted as they are would be used in the main works at Yorktown in embrasures or under bomb-proof with great effect, or as the Redoubt No. 4 is a more permanent and fixes position that Dam No. 1, whether we advance or retreat they could be used if necessary to replace the guns which I desire.
I have therefore to request an order from the general commanding directing the transfer to me of the two 32-pounder mounted on wheels.
I have the honor to be, major, yours, respectfully,
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
HDQRS. RIGHT WING, ARMY OF THE PENINSULA, Lee's Farm, April 21, 1862.
Major THOMAS G. RHETT,
SIR: I have the honor to present to your attention the fact that on the left bank of York River there is required at least one strong cavalry company for vedetted duty. There is at present but one company there (35 men for duty). The distance from West Point to the Rappahanock River is only about 20 miles, and unless we have vedettes stationed as far as the Rappahannock River the enemy might land and commence his march before we were aware of it. There were three cavalry