War of the Rebellion: Serial 014 Page 0476 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN,VA. Chapter XXIII.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., April 30, 1862.


Commanding,&c., Yorktown, Va.:

GENERAL: Your letter of the 27th, reporting the condition of affairs on the Peninsula, has been received.

The preparation of bateaux by the enemy indicates, I think, an attack on Gloucester Point, in conjunction with his general attack upon your lines. The presence of the Virginia in York River would disconcert that part of his plan as well as the ascent of York River. I have conversed with the Secretary of the Navy, who thinks the Virginia should repair to Yorktown, and that it might be accomplished at night. Should you, after bearing from Flag-Officer Tatnall, determine upon this measure, could you arrange a signal to call the steamer to you? Should you not be able to designate the precise time? Coal will have to be prepared for her at Yorktown. Do you wish any sent? I trust you may be able to retain command of York River, but we must make every preparation for a distance, which may occur, and I will write to General Huger to prepare him for the contingency apprehended.

Operations for obstructing the channel of the James River at a point 8 miles below the city have been in progress ever since my arrival. I regret to state it is not completed, and the works has been much retarded by freshest and the want of means of transportation, all of the latter being in requisition for troops and provisions for your army.

The quartermaster reports that the bridges across the Chickahominy in this vicinity are repaired, except one, which will be finished to-morrow. Bottom's, Long, and Forge Bridges below required much work. Workmen are now engaged on them, and they are directed to use every exertion to complete them.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,


HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., April 30, 1862.

Major General B. HUGER,

Commanding Department of Norfolk, Va.:

GENERAL: The movements of the enemy near Elizabeth City do not seem to indicate a real attack, and is probably intended to distract attention from other points, or to watch that entrance into the sound, by which they seem to apprehend the introduction of our gunboats. It will be necessary for your scouts to be vigilant and your troops prepared.

The subject of General Johnston's letter is of a more serious nature. If he is obliged to retire from the Peninsula and thus liberate the enemy's gunboats,&c., his attention will naturally be turned to Norfolk. His possession of James River would render the evacuation of Norfolk in time necessary. Its possibility as well as practicability had better therefore be considered now, in order that it be executed at the most opportune moment. I need hardly suggest to you that the troops be put in as movable condition as possible; that all surplus stores,&c., be sent to a proper place of safety, and that without evacuating any place that you consider important, what is not deemed essential for its defense be withdrawn. Your knowledge of what would be required in