General Whiting. I wish you establish an infantry and cavalry force in Bertie to guard the Chowan and give notice at Franklin if any of the enemy's gunboats ascend the river. I think there can be no need of troops at Weldon except such as may be necessary to guard the bridge. I sent you four rifle guns and two Napoleons. I shall need them as soon as you may be able to dispense with them. When they are returned send them to Franklin by rail. Let me know by telegraph when they will start back.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. S.-I have this moment received your letter of the 4th. I wrote you yesterday, suggesting that you might keep Garnett's brigade if it would be of much use to you. You now say, however, that heavy artillery alone can be useful, so I suppose there is no prospect of a successful termination of your expedition. I sent authority to you to keep General Garnett and sent you six of my best field guns. As they will be of no service to you I hope you will send them back to Franklin as soon as possible. You can at least keep the enemy inside his works and haul off all supplies that may yet be able to render you such aid as you desire. You know, though, that we cannot afford to fight artillery against them, particularly when they are behind their works. The order for the return of the troops was given under the impression drawn from your letters that there was no prospect of reducing the garrison at Washington. A letter from you yesterday seems to give me hope of success and you were then authorized to retain Garnett. Now, again, you seem to have but little hope except from heavy artillery. The enemy is reported about to commence operations at Charleston, so you can go on, at least, hauling off supplies from any portion of the State. If I can get through in time or find that I can render other assistance to you I will do so promptly. I regret very much that matters have so turned out as to delay me, but we must hope for better fortune hereafter.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF RICHMOND,
April 6, 1863.
Lieutenant General JAMES LONGSTREET, Commanding:
GENERAL: I received your note this evening and hasten to answer it. The proposed diversion on the Peninsula can be made. Owing to the continually threatened riots in Richmond it would not do to move any of Rhett's command. It must be done with Wise's brigade. He has on the Pamunkey 380 men guarding and supporting the engineers in tearing up the railroad iron from West Point to White House. This cannot be disturbed. He has then left 1,563 infantry and 412 cavalry and two light batteries, making a force of 1,975 and two batteries. This, deduction under General Wise. I shall start him down the Peninsula Wednesday morning unless I receive contrary instructions from you by telegraph. There is a force at Yorktown of from 3,000 to 5,000 men. Of course Chaffin's and Drewry's Bluffs will be left without any infantry. I do not think it will be well to go far beyond Yorktown unless the force up to that point is met and whipped. Fort Magruder, you are aware, will have to be carried or the garrison forced to retire before proceeding to