War of the Rebellion: Serial 014 Page 0458 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN,VA. Chapter XXIII.

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enemy. If sand bags could not be had, they could be constructed of earth if the parapets are of sufficient width. Five thousand sand bags have been ordered to be sent to Spratley's.

By command of Major-General Magruder:


Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., April 23, 1862.


Commanding Army of Northern Virginia:

GENERAL: A dispatch from General Field to day reports all quiet in his front. The enemy has not crossed the Rappahannock, and the gunboats that were arrested in their ascent by the obstructions at Spottswood Bar have left the river. I presume his numbers are much exaggerated; for if General Augur had the force attributed to him, or if General McDowell had reached Aquia, I think they would have occupied Fredericksburg.

I think it probable that, firing our weakness in that quarter, the enemy will now endeavor to seize upon Fredericksburg, and make use of the Rappahanock as a means of approach. In addition to the force under General Field left by you I have ordered to him two regiments and a light battery from this city, probably over 1,000 men; Starke's Virginia and Orr's South Carolina regiments, over 2,000 men; Gregg's South Carolina brigade, and J. R. Anderson's brigade from North Carolina. I hope this may enable him to occupy his former position, or at least to preserve a strong from against any advance of the enemy.

I my dispatch to you on this subject I had not intended to propose a division of your army, but thought it possible some regiments might, in your opinion, be better applied toward the Rappahannock, as among the reports furnished us was one that the enemy was sending back troops to the Potomac. Should the force now sent to the Rappahannock not be sufficient to arrest a forward movement from that river I will inform you, and then you must consider how far it will involve the necessity of a retrograde movement on your part; but in the mean time, referring to your letter of the 20th, should there be reason, in your opinion, for a withdrawal from the Peninsula, I beg you will state them, with your recommendation, that I may submit them to the President. You can best judge of the difficulties before you and know the interests involved in the question.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,


HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., April 23, 1862.


Commanding, Yorktown, Va.:

GENERAL: I have received to-night your two letters of yesterday's date. The points in one have been replied to in my letter of this morning. I informed you of the condition of affairs upon the Rappahannock and such troops as I had been able to send them. I have heard nothing since, except the arrival at Urbana of two large gunboats, one of which apparently contained troops.