War of the Rebellion: Serial 014 Page 0509 Chapter XXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - CONFEDERATE.

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whose resistance would spread over the world and go down to latest times. The cotton mills and flour mills are important to be saved.

As a thoroughfare it is very important. The railroads go out to the north, east, west, and south. there are large numbers of negroes in all the surrounding country. If it is not to be defended strenuously ought not the people to know it?

ROBERT R. COLLIER.

HDQRS. SECOND CORPS, DEPT. OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,

Christian's House, May 11, 1862.

Brigadier-General RAINS,

Commanding Rear Guard:

GENERAL: The major-general commanding directs that you move your brigade, now on rear guard, back to-morrow morning to a position half way between that you occupy at present and this point.

He further directs that the main body of the cavalry move back with you, keeping their usual distance behind your brigade. The pickets must still be kept at the points now held and in advance along the roads. The bridge will be burnt when the cavalry come over. It is the desire of the major-general commanding that you put out no shells or torpedoes behind you, as he does not recognize it as a proper or effective method of war.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. MOXLEY SORREL,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Indorsement.]

A shell which can be prepared and unprepared in moment, and a sentinel to keep our own people off, are all that is wanted for our protection.

Our volunteers cannot be restrained from firing their guns when they ought not, and so frequent is this fault that the small report of a gun of a sentinel, as a rifle, for instance, is not heeded, and our troops liable to surprise and destruction, of which we have had three notable cases. A shell prepared would remedy this, for the advancing enemy would explode it, and that would lessen their force, demoralize their troops, and give us time, with loud warning, to prepare for the conflict. As it is, I am compelled to approximate to the same results-to send forward a picket of artillery, supported by infantry, which is liable to be cut off, and have our men killed or captured by such rigid philanthropy for the enemy, which I have myself possessed until lately.

These shells give us decided advantages over the foe invading our soil, especially in frustrating night surprises, requiring but little powder for great results in checking advancing columns at all times.

For, their being proper for war, they are as much so as ambuscades, masked batteries, and mines. The enemy, I learn, intended to mine and blow up redoubt Numbers 4, known as Fort Magruder, at Yorktown; and if such means of killing by wholesale be proper, why should not smaller mines be used? Or must we accord to them alone the privilege of using against us the vast supplies of gunpowder, for which they have raked the world by advantages derived from a navy much of