this force is composed have about 3,000 absent. Sick not included in the above statement. A small regiment has been transferred to Newport News from Hampton, not affecting the aggregate.
JOHN A. DIX,
FORT MONROE, September 5, 1862-4 p. m.
Major-General Keyes is very desirous of leaving Yorktown with his reserve artillery to resume the command of Couch's division, and is willing to take and train another division from the new forces now coming into the field. I should be very glad to retain him, but cheerfully consent to the arrangement if it meets with your approval, as it will obviate the necessity of sending new troops here and enable me to retain Major-General Peck, a very good officer, and his division, which is well trained, and of which two brigades, Ferry's and Wessells', have been already incorporated with the forces here and at Suffolk. General Keyes informs me that he trained Couch's division and is quite willing to train another. His reserve artillery can be spared if I can keep Peck's division.
JOHN A. DIX,
PRIVATE.] SUFFOLK, VA., September 5, 1862.
Commanding Army, Washington City:
GENERAL: A deserter, on whom I can rely, says there are but about 15,000 men at Richmond. The brigades of Generals Ransom and Martin are stationed below Richmond, opposite Fort Darling.
There is a brigade at Petersburg. The Merrimac Numbers 2 (Richmond) is about finished and has her bow gun in. She is commanded by Captain Pegram, and her crew are from the old Merrimac. She draws 11 feet of water, and has a double sheathing of iron, separated by a course of timber. The iron is reported to be thicker than that of the old Merrimac.
I have thought the above information might be of some service to you. I have already written the Secretary of the Navy to the same effect as to the Merrimac.
The man also stated that all the troops of Stonewall jackson amounted to about 200,000. He left Richmond about a week since, and say that Generals Lee, Ewell, Mahone, Colston, Armistead, Wright, Longstreet, and the two Hills are with Jackson.
The enemy will never attack this place, which is naturally strong, so long as pressed on the side of Richmond. I repeat, there are three old regiments here-the First Delaware and Third and Fourth New York Volunteers-well drilled, and been in service for about fourteen months and have never fired a gun at the enemy. They will average 800 men, and many men and officers have been in the Mexican war. Three green regiments could readily take their places here, and these could, by return boats, proceed up the Potomac to the Army of Virginia.
I am ready at all times myself to take any command you will think it to the interest of the country to give me, and believe I can do more than I can here.
25 R R-VOL XVIII