In the first place I do not suppose the enemy so very careless as to admit of it; second, there are many people in the eastern counties who sympathize with the opposite cause; third, our transportation is the most indifferent, rendering slow movements almost impracticable; rapid movements out of the question. Your transportation I thought indifferent. If you could see such as there is in this section you would be delighted at the contemplation of horse large, fine teams of your own. The vehicle almost universal here is what our soldiers call the ox sulky. I will send you a sketch of one of them as soon as I can get a good draughtsman. I believe with you that a sudden vigorous attack upon Suffolk would give me that place, but I see no chance of getting the garrison unless I can get assistance from the Navy. Besides, it would third he sacrifice. I have through since about January 23 last (when I made the same suggestion to you) that one army corps could hold the line of the Rappahannock while the other was operating elsewhere. I cannot now appreciate the necessity of your retiring to the Annas in case you send off more troops from the Rappahannock. There you are fortified on the river and on the heights; on the Annas you would have neither. Besides, you would lose morale and encourage the enemy. If I move out to make the attack upon Suffolk I shall attack a position which ought to be well fortified, and I have information that it is. That position can be re-enforced from the Army of the Potomac in three days. I might get re-enforcements from you possibly in two days. I doubt, too, the policy of giving time to develop the plans of the enemy, but would prefer to act before his plans are matured. Our plans must be made to suit the emergency, so they might be more effective if made and executed before the enemy's were matured. I shall move, as I have said, across the Blackwater as soon as I can get substantial crossings, and at least make a forced reconnaissance while I endeavor to draw off subsistence and quartermasters' stores. If more can be done without great sacrifice I shall do it. My chief object in wishing a consultation was to endeavor to get your aid in securing co-operation on the part of the Navy. With that I should hope to capture the force at Suffolk and re-enforcements from the army of the Rappahannock.
I remain, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
Petersburg, Va., April 4, 1863.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding, Fredericksburg, Va.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letters of the 27th and 31st ultimo and of the 2nd instant. General Hill has succeeded in cutting off the enemy's position at Washington from his gunboats and has surrounded it, but he fears that time alone will reduce the garrison. He complains of want of artillery. It is through that there are no iron-clads on the coast of North Carolina, and if I am correctly informed there is but one in the James River. General Hill is ordered and urged to be prompt in this operations. If he finds that too much time will be consumed in reducing the garrison at any point he is to draw off as soon as he gets out the supplies from the eastern counties. I hope to be able to cross the Blackwater on Wednesday or