War of the Rebellion: Serial 014 Page 0528 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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protect and guard it, if you have not already taken the necessary steps to insure its safety.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Assistant Adjutant-General.


Richmond, Va., May 20, 1862.

Brigadier General WILLIAM MAHONE,

Commanding, &c., Drewry's Bluff:

GENERAL: I am directed by General Lee to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of yesterday,* and to say that he regrets to hear of the inefficiency of the river obstructions, and desires that the necessary measures be at once taken to strengthen them. He wishes an additional system of cribs immediately commenced above that already constructed; the first piers to be placed opposite those points which are weakest in the present line. He thinks the cribs should be made larger than those heretofore constructed (which are but 20 feet at the base), and that they should be at least 25, and had better be 30 feet in length in the direction of the flow of the river. The increase of size will of course tend materially toward making them effectual.

;From your favorable report of the progress of the work at the batteries it is hoped that you will be enabled, without impeding erection, to employ some of the mechanics upon the construction of the cribs.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Assistant Adjutant-General.


Fairfield Course, May 21, 1862.


Assistant Adjutant-General:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a communication of the 21st instant, stating that Major-General Smith, commanding, "has interrupted a very important conference in regard to the movements of the various armies in Virginia, in order to write (me), over his own signature, " that the movements requisite to effect the dispositions in your (my) front requires time, and he earnestly desires that time may patiently be given to it." And mean time he does not feel the slightest solicitude in regard to the ability of your (my) infantry pickets to procure for (my) your command ample opportunity for the dispositions necessary to resist any attacks made upon it, adding that " the major-general would be glad at any hour, day or night, to be informed whenever an attack in force upon my lines is clearly threatened, but he begs that information, unless of that nature, will be sent at such time as not to deprive him of his necessarily limited hours of rest."

In reply I have to say that I have asked frequently for the last week or ten days that cavalry should be placed in front of my infantry, and the officers of the cavalry have orders to report to me the movements of the enemy in my front, but no reports from them reached me up to the time of the reception of your letter of the 19th instant.