War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0397 Chapter XXX. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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against attack. I have ordered a reconnaissance in force to be made to-day in the direction of the Blackwater.

Yorktown.-The armament is now in progress. General Peck is superintending it. I have no one who can do it so well. Indeed, I have for duty but one engineer under my command; only one ordnance officer, who has charge of the arsenal here, and only one artillery officer, who has been until recently the commanding officer of this post. The scientific corps of the army have been absorbed by other commands. I may be obliged to send General Peck to Suffolk if an advance is made by the enemy.

The intrenchments constructed by the Confederates at Yorktown are very strong, but were intended for a large force. It is not proposed to hold the place with more than 4,000 men, and therefore some out-works not intended to be occupied are in progress of demolition. The armament will be completed as rapidly as possible, and with the present force and the guns already in position the place could hold out against greatly superior numbers.

Gloucester.-General McClellan, before he left here, ordered Gloucester to be armed. I do not propose to execute the order until we have completed the armament of Yorktown and until I have 20,000 effective men, for I do not think a smaller number sufficient to protect my extended lines.

This position is auxiliary to Yorktown in controlling the navigation of the York River. It is commenced by Yorktown Heights, but it might, nevertheless, in the hands of an enemy, be a source of annoyance.

Newport News.-This post was abandoned in June last by order of General McClellan. Everything was removed except the sick and a company of cavalry, as a guard. Since then the sick have been increased and I have added a very small regiment of infantry.

The Secretary of the Navy requested that we would mount two or three 200-pounder, and unless I have a competent force there the enemy might, if we were to obtain them, use them against us. There are some earthworks, a good deal dilapidated, for defense against an inland attack, by they require about 3,000 men to man them. All the guns were removed.

Newport News as a station defends nothing. The channel of the James River is wide. A vessel drawing from 17 to 18 feet can pass out at a distance of 1 1/2 miles, although the deeper part of the channel is near the land. Its occupation as a post was always of questionable utility.

Williamsburg I consider of no importance, except as an advance post for watching a movement of the enemy from the Chickahominy. By holding it we are able to push our vedettes farther out. It is too distant from Yorktown (13 miles), but I have only a small cavalry force there. It is under a brave and vigilant officer, who I think will take care of himself. I need for-

Men.

Fort Monroe.......................... 1,000

Camp Hamilton........................ 2,000

Yorktown............................. 4,000

Gloucester........................... 1,000

Williamsburg......................... 800

Norfolk.............................. 3,000

Newport News......................... 500

Suffolk (at present)................. 8,000

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Total................................ 20,300