enforced. I think there is not an armed insurgent within 40 miles of Norfolk, unless it be some lurking squads, or perhaps companies, in the Dismal Swamp. In the mean time we have strengthened Suffolk so as to feel confident of resisting any force the enemy can have on the Blackwater.
I have fully considered the matter of the proposed notice to the people of Norfolk and the foreign consuls residing there, and regret to differ in opinion with you in regard to the policy of giving it at the present time. I am not sure that we can say that Suffolk is threatened until there is an advance of the enemy's forces, and I do not think the people of Norfolk should be disturbed unnecessarily. The hostile attack should be imminent. A notice of twenty-four hours is all that is needed in case of an attack or intended bombardment, and where we are merely acting on the defensive a longer one cannot be expected of us.
I have express orders not to allow any one to pass through our lines without the permission of the Secretary of War. If the proposed notice is to have any effect at all it will be to induce the wealthier portions of the people to leave, and they are in general opposed to us. The poor, among whom are all the loyal part of the population, have not the means of leaving. The result would therefore be to drive off those who sympathize with the insurgents and diminish the objection on the part of their forces to attack the place. I should, moreover, feel greatly embarrassed by applications to pass our lines. I am constantly refusing them now to parties who wish to go to Richmond. The proposed notice would insure a renewal of these applications and impose on me the obligation to grant them as well as others which might be made, while I am prohibited from doing so.
There is another consideration: I do not like at this time to acknowledge that we are acting on the defensive. The enemy, as I see from the Richmond papers, have been expecting an attack on Petersburg, and they think we have been very heavily re-enforced at Suffolk. The notice would be an acknowledgment that we have not the means of making an aggressive movement, and it might encourage such a movement against us.
These objections, as you see, relate chiefly to time. The form of the notice you inclosed to me is entirely unobjectionable. The only suggestion that occurs to me is the addition of the following words at the close, viz: "In case these places shall be assailed."
If you will, as you proposed in your letter of the 26th, send me such a notice, signed by yourself, I will use it when I think it necessary.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN. A. DIX,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA, SEVENTH ARMY CORPS,
Fort Monroe, Va., September 30, 1862.
Lieutenant Com. C. W. FLUSSER,
Commanding U. S. Steamer Commodore Perry:
SIR: In consequence of some unexpected obstacles we cannot be ready until about the 10th proximo. I will give you three days' notice.
The bridge has not been reconstructed at Franklin for the Roanoke and Seaboard Railroad, but a floating bridge has been thrown across