of the force opposite Westover may be to prevent annoyance from our artillery, or it may be, as you suppose, the commencement of the advance on the south side of the river. If the former they can be driven away, and if the latter they can be resisted as well on that side of the river as on this. The news from Norfolk may or may not be true: but we must set to work vigorously to prepare to arrest their progress. I wish you to examine the ground and see how this can best be done. I will send Lieutenant-Colonel Stevens to make an examination of the country, and I wish you to ascertain what force of laborers can be drawn from North Carolina. In regard to harassing the enemy by cutting off his communications, his occupancy of the south side will render it more difficult; but even the attempt to have caused him to divide his forces, and I hope that on one side or the other of the river may be demolished. The removal of General Anderson from his present position would stop the construction of the defenses of Drewry's Bluff,, which it will be imprudent to do at this time. The stand for riflemen at City Point which you recommended to be intrenched could surely be accomplished by the troops at Petersburg. General Pendleton can remain for the present if he is needed.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,.
R. E. LEE,
AUGUST 3, 1862-8 p.m.
General WILLIAM N. PENDLETON.
GENERAL: It seems to me that something ought to be done with the gunboat before day. If it is not got off by the high tide, an enterprising officer with his battery can surely destroy it. If we do not move till daylight, the gunboats from below will be up and prevent an assault.
D. H. HILL.
AUGUST 3, 1862-11 p.m.
General D. H. HILL, Commanding:
GENERAL: Toward sunset there was much firing below from a battery at the gunboat and from one or more gunboats. Either all has been done against her that can be or she is off by the high tide and the aid of the other boats.
Colonel Cutts started as soon as possible after the dispatch came, which was strangely delayed, and but for the mistake of the dispatch saying the attack was to be on the other side, where the road is execrable and a guide had to be waited for, he would have been at City Point in time to do all that could have been done. As it really was, to send him on seemed a hopeless tax upon energies of men and horses. Now it would be impossible, with all enterprise, to get there before day.
If your note were an order I would send a battery at once; but understanding it as only expressing your view, with some facts not before your mind, discretion seems intended to be left me, and it really appears to me unwise now to send the battery.
Yours, very truly,
W. N. PENDLETON,