War of the Rebellion: Serial 014 Page 0521 Chapter XXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - CONFEDERATE.

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P. S. - I sent you on yesterday the latest information from Generals Jackson and Ewell. I presume it was received by you subsequently to the writing of your letter.


Richmond, Va., May 16, 1862.


Commanding Army of Northern Virginia:

GENERAL: In reply to that portion of your letter of yesterday's date* relating to the works for the defense of James River, I will state that the redoubt at Drewry's Bluff is armed with seven of our heaviest guns, well posted, but not as perfectly protected as designed, for want of time. The work, however, is progressing, and I presume we shall have a few days before the return of the enemy, which, if properly improved, much may be accomplished. To insure this I was obliged to halt General Mahone's brigade, or at least that portion of it with him at Drewry's Bluff, place him in command, and direct him to push the work with vigor. The laborers, mechanics, and companies of unorganized regiments left at the first shot day before yesterday, and could not be controlled by the Navy; neither could proper scouts or vedettes be kept on the river to report the movements of the enemy, which gave rise to innumerable alarms and exaggerated reports.

The obstruction of the channel of the river also is progressing, but not satisfactorily. On this side of the river a battery is under construction by Major Stevens at Warwick Bar, where a second line or barrier has been commenced by sinking boats. Two guns are designed for this position. Major stevens also projects a three-gun battery on the left bank of the river, opposite Drewry's to unite with the battery at that point. Chaffin's Bluff, on the left, about 2 miles below, is occupied by colonel Stuart's Virginia regiment, the rifled 32-pounder, and a light battery. I have supposed if your army took a position so near this city its right would rest in that vicinity. You will see by the reports of yesterday's fight that the enemy were driven back by batteries, with supposed damage.

I telegraphed to you yesterday that Major Stevens desired the services of Captain Douglas, engineer on General Magruder's staff, and a Mr. Douglass, a builder, if he could be spared by you.

I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,


HEADQUARTERS, May 16, 1862.


Commanding Division:

GENERAL: Please have your command in readiness to move at a moment's warning. Your train had better stretch out at once. My division is to take position at Drewry's bluff-sharpshooters against gunboats. Your division will be posted on this road, and about 6 miles out from Richmond.

If you can send me a staff officer I will endeavor to point out your position in such a way as to get your troops and wagons on the same


*Not found.