In regard to the justice of this measure there are considerations, already briefly alluded to, which address themselves to us with great force. The people of Norfolk are cut off by our occupation of the place from their former sources of supplies. We have surrounded them by a chain of sentinels and have interdicted trade with the insurgent States from which they could always draw at some price the necessaries they needed. They are in worse condition in this respect now than they were under the Confederates; and it is submitted whether, on every principle of justice to them and to ourselves, we should not allow them the privilege of obtaining what they need from the loyal portions of the Union. It seems to me that we are bound to do this or to let them pass through our lines into the insurgent States.
The inclosed letter from Brigadier-General Viele, the military governor of Norfolk, states the case with great brevity and force, and I commend it to the attention of the Government.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN A. DIX,
NORFOLK, VA., September 2, 1862.
Commanding, &c., Fort Monroe:
GENERAL: There are two questions connected with the administration of affairs in this city and Portsmouth which have become a source of embarrassment to me. The one is the procurement of supplies for those who have the means, and the other the supplying of those who have not the means.
We are, in point of fact, holding here in custody about 20,000 people; we must either let them feed themselves or we must feed them.
The opening of the port for a restricted trade seems to me to be a measure of necessity to save the Government from great annoyance. Food must be allowed to come in or the people will starve. If food is allowed to come in the products of the surrounding country must be allowed to go out to pay for it. Again, there is a large class of persons here who have no means whatever to purchase food if it were here; these are mostly willing to go away to the neighboring counties and to North Carolina if allowed to do so. They are helpless women and children, who are begging daily at my headquarters for food. Those who are too poor to go or who have no friends may be supported by levying contributions upon those who have the means.
I have always considered that the only point to be attained here was perfect tranquillity. This has been secured so far; in order to continue it the steps I have referred to appear to be necessary.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EGBERT L. VIELE,
FORT MONROE, VA.,
September 5, 1862-2 p. m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK:
The whole efficient force in the Department of Virginia is about 18,000, distributed as follows: Suffolk, 5,300; Norfolk, 2,300; Newport News, 100; Hampton, 2,300; Camp Hamilton, 900; Fort Monroe, 600; Yorktown, 5,100; Williamsburg, 1,300. The different corps of which