HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA, SEVENTH ARMY CORPS,
Fort Monroe, Va., April 25, 1863.
Actg. Rear-Admiral S. P. LEE,
Commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron:
ADMIRAL: I received in New York City your letter of the 9th instant, advising me that the Navy Department, under date of April 8, declines to authorize certain articles for the Smith Briggs to be furnished from the Navy supplies, &c., also that you are directed hereafter to refer my requisitions for ordnance for gunboats to the Navy Department, to enable it to inquire of the War Department if such requisitions are authorized or sanctioned by it.
The difficulty of procuring from the Navy gunboats of light draught decided me some months ago to arm one or two quartermasters' boats for the defense of the Upper Nansemond. The propriety of the measure is vindicated by the existing condition of things there, your gunboats being withdrawn and the Smith Briggs, one of the boats armed by me, being one of our chief supports at Suffolk. These boats were armed by me by virtue of my general authority, as commanding officer of the department, to do whatever is essential for the safety of my command in the face of the enemy. I did not hesitate, therefore, without any special authority from the War Department, to ask you for certain articles required for the boats referred to, not doubting that you would promptly respond, as you always have done, to any requisition for co-operation in maintaining the authority of the Government against the common enemy. In the same spirit our tugs, our army wagons, our ammunition, and whatever else you needed have always been placed at your disposal without inquiring into your authority to ask for them.
Though the Navy Department has decided to respond to no more requisitions from me, as commander of the department, for ordnance for the gunboats, whatever may be the urgency of the case, without inquiring whether they are authorized or sanctioned by the War Department, I beg to say that in reference to you, as commanding officer of the blockading squadron, I shall act on a totally different principle, and that any material of war of any sort under my control which you may need in the discharge of your responsible duties will be most cheerfully furnished on you requisition without stopping to inquire whether they are authorized or approved by the Navy Department.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN A. DIX,
SUFFOLK, VA., April 25, 1863.
The enemy clearly meditated a crossing last night between Jericho Creek and Fort Conn. There was great activity on his part. He was shelled from Fort Onondaga and the vigilance of the troops defeated his intentions.
Have re-enforced Major Stratton, who is fearful of being cut off.
JOHN J. PECK,
SUFFOLK, VA., April 25, 1863.
General EGBERT L. VIELE:
Major Bovey will report to you. Longstreet is still at work. He cut a road down to the river last night and fully intended to cross. Our