I have no undue solicitude as to the ability of my infantry pickets to procure ample opportunity for the dispositions necessary to resist any attack of the enemy, but they have no more ability to procure this opportunity than any other infantry-for instance, the of Major-General Smith-and I do not see the propriety of their being kept more on the alert for this purpose than the infantry of Major-General Smith's immediate command, in front of which the cavalry is constantly kept and in close and frequent communication. Indeed, as both of his flanks are protected by troops of other divisions and one of mine is not, the propriety of cavalry acting with me seems the more manifest.
I did send to Major-General Smith, in Richmond, at night information that the enemy had advanced to the Old Church, in Hanover County, and had turned toward Hanover Court-House, and I gave him my views on the subject.
I sent this communication at 2 o'clock, and at his particular request, made to me at my quarters, that I would communicate to him all important information at the Spottswood House. I deemed this important, as it threatened the railroad, and ordered my troops to be ready to move at a moment's warning, knowing that it would be daylight before the order could be communicated to all of them, and believing that they would be moved farther to the left, as I thought they ought to be, so as to be in a position to defeat the enemy's design upon the railroad if he entertained it.
I have this moment received a report from Colonel Robertson, of the cavalry, showing that the railroads are in some danger, and proving that I was right in my views. Even a temporary possession of the railroads by the enemy would cause great mischief.
I have just learned accidentally from a citizen that there are two regiments of infantry at Hanover Court-House. Where they come from I know not.
I forward Colonel Robinson's letter*. I regret to have disturbed the rest of the major-general commanding the reserve and my wing, but having had for nearly a year sentinels stationed at my headquarters with order to pass everybody to my bed-room with any communication in relation to the movements of the enemy or any other important character requiring action, and having in every case acted at once, I had become somewhat in the habit of disregarding hours, but do not remember to have ever inflicted this inconvenience upon him except on the occasion here state, and then at his special request. I beg to assure the major-general that I shall be happy to carry out any instructions with which he may honor, me but believe is the understanding that in all movements of troops I am to await his orders.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
Major-General, Commanding Right Wing.
MAY 21, 1862.
General R. E. LEE:
GENERAL: There will be at least 6,000 arms made serviceable here, at the rate of 200 to 250 per day (some of them will be without bayonets). Have you unarmed regiments coming here to absorb them?
34 R R-VOL, XI, PT III