The roads in this section have dried astonishingly, but the storm of Saturday has again surrounded us with mud and water. I cannot say whether General Hooker will advance or not, though, as before stated, all the information I receive from every sources goes to show that it is his intention to do so, and that he is prepared. It may be a part of their general plan to deceive us while re-enforcing their western armies; but as soon as I can move I will endeavor to find out. In the mean time I do not think it prudent to weaken the force here, but should be require more strength I think it better that you call on General Elzey for Wise's brigade and such artillery as can sent you from Richmond. I have written to General Elzey on the subject.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
April 6, 1863.
Lieutenant General JAMES LONGSTREET:
MY DEAR GENERAL: I sent up yesterday some Yankees taken by dearing. From what I could gather from the sergeant a good many enlistments would soon expire, and he seemed to think the men would not re-enlist and thought they would not be forced in. Schriver is here yet. I would have sent him down yesterday to Suffolk. He says he will have no difficulty in reaching Suffolk by that route, but much by any other. In order to send him that way some little money will be necessary. I have none except Confederate money, which will not pass. I think $40 of State money would answer and would be well expended. He could return (by starting on Wednesday) on Sunday or Monday next, and could bring back accurate information if he chooses. I think it worth trying, and if you have any funds and hand for such purposes and wish the venture made please send down by first train. If not I will immediately return Schriver to his company.
I am, general, your obedient servant and friend,
GEO. E. PICKETT.
P. S.-Mr. Riddick hears from Chuckatuck that the Yankees have not crossed the river tat Reed's Bridge, but are repairing the bridge; will take probably three days. When completed it gives them a chance to sweep the country. Shall I send expedition down after forge and at same time burn bridge?
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., April 7, 1863.
Lieutenant General JAMES LONGSTREET, Commanding, &c.:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 6th instant* reached me this morning. Gratified to learn that you contemplated an important movement at so early a day. I was anxious to aid in making it as effective as possible and lost no time in conferring with the Secretary of the Navy to secure the co--operation of such vessels as could be commanded to cut off the enemy from retreat and effect their capture. The Secretary had every disposition to meet your views, and though at first that iron-clad
*See p. 910.