and Anderson's brigades relieved Cobb's on two days of this week, and are still convenient to his position. I had understood, as I suppose from the general commanding, that these two brigades would relieve Cobb on successive days, and that Cobb's brigade, during such relief, would constitute a part of the reserve under Major-General Smith.
The favor of an answer is requested.
I have the honor to be, major yours, respectfully,
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
Major-General, Commanding Department, Right Wing.
FORT HUGER, HARDEN'S BLUFF, April 26, 1862.
General GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War:
GENERAL: I beg leave to call your attention to the condition of affairs at this point, and to ask for some changes which I consider necessary to its efficiency.
I have a garrison consisting of two artillery companies, belonging to an infantry battalion of five companies in all, stationed outside of the fort, and commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Archer, of the Third Virginia Regiment. These two artillery companies were detailed by Colonel Archer as a garrison for this fort, and can, of course, be withdrawn by him whenever he thinks proper to do so. He, as commanding the battalion, claims to command the garrison everywhere except in the fort, and he has a right to withdraw them from the fort, as a part of his command, at any time.
As I am held responsible for the defense of this fort, I do not think it right that the senior officer of the battalion outside should have a right it essential to good order, discipline, and efficiency that the command of the fort should be entirely distinct from that of the infantry force outside of it. That force consists of three companies, which, with the two artillery companies of the garrison, comprise the whole force at this point. It may and probably will be necessary and proper to hold the fort longer than the infantry companies can hold their position,and if it became necessary to withdraw the infantry, the commanding officer could and probably would withdraw the garrison, as forming part of his battalion; or, if he should think proper to withdraw into the fort, he would be commanding officer of the garrison, and of course of the fort.
Under these circumstances I feel compelled to apply to you for three companies of artillery, to be placed under my command, and not to be subject to withdrawal by anybody but the general commanding this department or division. The fort, from causes partly traceable to this mixed command, was and is in an inefficient state.
I inclose a copy of a letter which I addressed to Colonel Archer a few days after I took command here, which resulted in is verbally giving me control of the companies of the garrison as far as he could do so without disintegrating his battalion. Colonel Archer is now the brigade commander at Smithfield, and I feel bound to say that he has shown every disposition to second my views short of breaking up his battalion, but if these two artillery companies are to be retained here as a garrison that disintegration is necessary to its efficiency. I wish