War of the Rebellion: Serial 014 Page 0593 Chapter XXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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HEADQUARTERS RIGHT WING,

Thorne's, Va., June 11, 1862.

Colonel R. H. CHILTON,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Dept. of Northern Virginia:

SIR: From the experience of a year I know that no defensive works of any great strength can be expected of troops. It is as much as they will do to throw up such temporary field works as may be absolutely necessary in the presence of the enemy, where negroes cannot work; and as it would be of the greatest importance and advantage to us so to fortify our positions as to be enabled to send off troops to produce diversions or to operate in the rear and on the enemy's flanks, I respectfully state, for the information of the commanding general, that I have with me one of my agents, a most efficient and effective man, who impressed for me a large number of negroes in the different counties, and who knows all about it. These negroes could be employed night and day on the works in the rear of our present positions and could render them really formidable. If the bridges of the railroads were rebuilt at once and the roads protected, which I think could be done, and subsistence stores (flour, at least) be accumulated at Richmond in large quantities, we could have a small army in our works, and a large one to threaten and fight the enemy with a view to raising the siege.

In proposing this I would not give up an inch of ground which we can hold. My plan is to fight in front and fortify with the greatest vigor in rear. Several thousand negroes would be necessary.

Mr. Junius Lamb is now with me, and is the agent I allude to. I will have the papers drawn up and printed, and if General Lee will sign them the negroes will be obtained.

This plan will not interfere in any degree with any offensive operations which might be inaugurated. I speak of it only to offer to the commanding general the means which I have successfully employed in the Peninsula to accomplish a similar purpose.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,

Major-General, Commanding Right Wing.

HEADQUARTERS,

Thorne's, Va., June 11, 1862.

Colonel R. H. CHILTON,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Dept. of Northern Virginia:

COLONEL: The changes of troops ordered to-day have the effect to diminish the forces by which the positions at and near the Old Tavern have heretofore [been] defended. Brigadier-General Whiting's command of about 1,200 men were not considered by him or myself as more than necessary to defend these positions.

After moving all of Major-General McLaws' brigades, now stationed on the left of Mrs. Price's house, to the position occupied by General Whiting's troops, I find that they will amount to less than 7,000 men. As the enemy has evidently settled upon this and the railroad as his lines of advance, and as the Nine-mile and New Bridge roads offer him greater advantages, the main struggle will probably be there. The force now to be stationed there I do not therefore consider sufficient,

38 R R-VOL XI, PT III