War of the Rebellion: Serial 014 Page 0518 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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RICHMOND, May 14, 1862.

WILLIAM T. JOYNES, Esq., Petersburg:

In the present state of affairs I think it would be wholly unjustifiable to impede the transportation of troops and munitions of war for the purpose of facilitating the removal of private property.


Secretary of War.


Richmond, Va., May 15, 1862.

Brigadier General WILLIAM MAHONE,

commanding, &c., Drewry's Bluff:

GENERAL: Orders were issued on yesterday for your command to move to the south side of James River, in the vicinity of Drewry's Bluff. It is desired that you at once take charge of the river defenses at that point, and make such use of your troops and resources as may be best calculated to prevent the ascent of the river by the gunboats of the enemy. the work of obstructing the river should be prosecuted with ceaseless vigor and the batteries pushed forward to completion with all possible dispatch. Commander Farrand, of the Navy, has the river obstruction under his immediate command, and will man and fight certain guns as far as the naval force will permit. Captain T. J. Page, of the Navy, is engaged upon the obstructions, &c., at Warwick Bar.

It will be necessary to harmonize these several operations and to give vigor and energy to the whole. You will draw such working parties from your brigade as may be necessary for the uninterrupted prosecution of the works; and should additional force for manning the heavy guns be required, it is suggested that the company "United Artillery," under Captain Kevill, be devoted to this purpose.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,


RICHMOND, VA., May 15, 1862.


GENERAL: There is no official information from Drewry's Bluff since the opening of the fight this morning. The report given me by Captain Zimmer, who is connected with the Ordnance Department, and who was present, is to the effect that the fire of the enemy was very bad; that we had set the Galena on fire (trifling, I suppose); that the boats had dropped down the river (how far he did not say), and that at times the fire from the bombs by our infantry was pretty brisk, though with what effect it is not stated.

General Lee has gone down the river again this morning. I will avail myself of this to disavow any intentional breach of military etiquette in the letters forwarded you from this office some days since, written for General Lee's signature, and signed informally by me in his absence. I trust his explanation was satisfactory to you.

I do not vouch for the accuracy of Captain Zimmer's statement, though he is " reliable," and the city credits the reports.

Most respectfully, &c.,


Assistant Adjutant General, with General Lee.