FORT MONROE, May 6, 1863.
General GORDON, Atlantic Hotel, Norfolk:
I think it important, on reflection, that you go up with the troops. They will leave at daylight. If anything should delay me it would be very awkward. The troops should be pushed on to their destination, landed, and intrenched immediately. The engineer will not be here in time to leave before 9 or 10 o'clock. The cavalry will be all ready. Captain Ludlow will furnish a tug at any time you name. I will telegraph him.
JOHN A. DIX,
MAY 6, [1863.]
I think you had better send up a cavalry force toward Diascund Bridge, but not a gunboat in the direction now.
JOHN A. DIX,
UNITED STATES FLAG-SHIP MINNESOTA,
Off Newport News, May 6, 1863.
Major General JOHN J. PECK, U. S. A.,
Commanding Suffolk, Va.:
GENERAL: Your communication dated the 21st ultimo,* in reply to mine of the 20th, was received on the 26th.
Squadron duties have prevented an earlier reply to your communication, which I regret to find is very deficient in candor and professional comity proper in official correspondence, and reasonably to be expected from an officer educated at West Point. When naval defense is necessary for military works a timely requisition from the War or Navy Department for the number and kind of vessels needed therefor should be made, that they may be built or purchased and equipped.
I am not responsible, as you seem to suppose, for the defense of the military post at Suffolk, as dependent on the defense of the military line of the Upper Nansemond, which is a mere creek, unsuited to the operations of vessels and obviously requiring military defense. Nor was it my fault that such necessary military preparations were not already made. Heretofore I had a small vessel--the Stepping Stones--resembling a Norfolk ferry-boat, carrying field pieces on field carriages, patrolling that small stream to preserve the blockade and intercept rebel communications, trade, mails, &c.
When Suffolk was threatened, as General Keyes informed me, by the enemy, 40,000 strong, with pontoons and heavy artillery (as reported by deserters all along the lines), urgent calls were made upon me for gunboats. This call was preceded by equally earnest calls for gunboat assistance to repel the enemy, who was attacking one and threatening another military post in the Sounds of North Carolina, which required all the light draughts provided by the Government for other naval duty not needed to answer demands at other points, except the Commodore Barney, which I sent to the Nansemond, together with my two transports, one armed with field pieces and manned by a detachment from this vessel, the other as a tender, with ammunition, coal, &c., and three of my small tugs (each armed with two light pieces), thus leaving