gunboat Richmond, with another light steamer, might be ventured to aid your operations. He had, however, to consult his naval officers and likewise to learn whether the obstructions could be removed or widened in time to allow he ships to pass. Unfortunately, it has been ascertained that the vessels could not pass without such removal of the heavy obstructions as to render it very doubtful whether the work could be accomplished in time. At the same time the replacement of the obstructions after the termination of the expedition, it is estimated, would require much time and expenditure. I have required a fuller report than I yet have to satisfy me of the inexpediency of attempting the present removal; but Colonel Gilmer, the head of the Engineer Bureau, expresses himself so strongly against the feasibility of the speedy removal that I fear that portion of your plan will have to be relinquished. Should I conclude otherwise I will promptly inform you; but you had better proceed without counting on naval co-operation. I have arranged with Major-General Elzey to make an expedition down the Peninsula with some 2,000 men, as if to threaten Yorktown and Fort Monroe, and at the same time to have a few companies of cavalry threaten the enemy at Gloucester Town, as if there was a purpose, by combined attack, to carry all the posts of the enemy on the Peninsula. These movements, it is hoped, will agitate and alarm the enemy, so as to make their resistance to your real attack less serious and effectually preclude their drawing any re-enforcements from this side.
With my best wishes for the success of your operations, I remain, with high respect, very truly, yours,
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS, April 7, 1863.
Major-General ELZEY, Commanding:
GENERAL: In giving instructions to General Wise you had better direct that the should not pass Yorktown any considerable distance with his entire force unless he finds that he will by doing so draw out the force at yorktown, but that instructions must not prevent him taking advantage of any favorable opportunity that may occur.
I remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. S.-It would probably be well to magnify his command as much as he can. The enemy likes to be deceived, or rather to have good excuses for reverses. People who play tricks are always the easiest tricked. He might give it out that you are behind him with any number of troops. I want half a dozen 20-pounder Parrotts for my expedition. I have the men and horses for them if you cannot spare them.
Petersburg, Va., April 7, 1863.
Major General D. H. HILL, Commanding:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 5th instant is just received. You should remember that my orders are based upon information that I receive. Up to the 2nd instant you gave me no reason to hope that you