in reference to the notice. Then you had just informed me that the enemy was concentrating and threatening to attack Suffolk with a force double our own there in numbers; that you had suggested to General Halleck to withdraw the troops from Suffolk, which he declined to do; that to prevent the enemy from getting between Suffolk and Norfolk you desired, and I stationed, a gunboat in the Western Branch of the Nansemond; and General Viele had recently informed me that he had arranged to barricade and defend Norfolk or a part of the town embracing the custom-house. I cheerfully accept your opinion that the proposed notice is not necessary at the present time. The alteration you propose in the notice, viz, that the consuls, women, and children should leave, "in case these places shall be assailed," would, I respectfully suggest, render the notice inoperative; would not relieve these non-combatants, who would be between two fires, and might occasion complaint on the part of foreign governments.
As you also think a notice of twenty-four hours would be sufficient and that no notice is now necessary, I presume the matter had better be deferred until from your official sources of information, which are better than mine, you think it time to act; of which I hope you will duly inform me.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, yours,
S. P. LEE,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Commanding N. Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
P. S. - A steamboat with a white flag hoisted ran this blockade, up James River, to-day.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA, SEVENTH ARMY CORPS,
Fort Monroe, Va., October 1, 1862.
Actg. Rear-Admiral S. P. LEE,
Commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron:
ADMIRAL: I have the honor to inclose a copy of the notice you sent me.
I also inclose a copy of a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury in regard to a vessel detained at Norfolk. You will observe that the right of the military commander to clear a vessel from a blockaded port - the vessel having arrived there under a proper clearance - is distinctly admitted. This will relieve the question of supplies for Norfolk of a good deal of difficulty. The Secretary of the Treasury has just granted a permit for a very large quantity of necessaries - among other items, 2,000 tons of coal. The inhabitants have no money, or at least none which the importers will take. They must therefore pay in the products of their labor - tobacco, shingles, sweet potatoes, & c. Under the decision of the Secretary of the Treasury they may do so; and I trust, as the right to regulate commerce resides in the Treasury Department, that you will not consider your instructions from the Secretary of the Navy as conflicting with this decision. This rule has always been recognized heretofore. On the return of a vessel entering Norfolk under the authority of the Treasury Department, with merchandise, I have authorized her to be cleared, with a cargo of agricultural products, to any port of entry in a loyal State. Were it otherwise the permit to carry necessaries there would be a mockery. The case of the Marblehead is precisely in point, for she was regularly cleared for Norfolk, and is laden with staves, & c., for a return cargo. The Secretary, you will notice