brigade. When that is restored, any troops parted with by General Hill in the interim might, if in your judgment safe, be restored to him.
Your proceedings in regard to Suffolk are deemed judicious and fully approved. I concur in thinking the object not worth the sacrifice to be entailed by an attack. I regret not having been able to receive the co-operation of the Navy, but the President has not deemed it wise to open the obstructions without fuller information as to the effect on the remaining obstructions, and the consequence that might ensue in case of sudden attack. The subject is still under investigation by the engineers, and their report is awaited before a final decision. If it be decided to send out the Richmond, you shall be promptly informed. Meantime it is not unlikely the enemy may pour in re-enforcements to Suffolk and give you some chance of action with them in the open field. They are greatly agitated and alarmed by reports of the operations of yourself and General Hill. The main object of your expedition is, I am happy to believe, being fully accomplished. It will, however, be difficult for you to bring out with dispatch the subsistence supplies you can command. The transportation we can afford is lamentably deficient. I would recommend the impressment of all wagons on both sides of the Blackwater, with their teams, to get the subsistence supplies to a safe point on this side. I need not, however, make suggestions on the subject, as doubtless your own attention, with fuller information, has been engaged in securing the utmost dispatch and efficiency in this business.
With high esteem, very truly, yours,
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
April 18, 1863.
Lieutenant General JAMES LONGSTREET,
GENERAL: Your provost-marshal in Petersburg (Mr. Pannill) to-day forwarded some disloyal North Carolina citizens as conscripts to this army, on a suggestion of General D. H. Hill, approved by yourself and the Secretary of War. The facilities for desertion are so great here that these men cannot be kept a week. They will be worth nothing as soldiers and will convey all the information they can to the enemy. Will it not be better always to try disloyal citizens in their own State, in order to avoid jars and all ill-feeling? They had best be sent to the interior somewhere, as they will do us but little harm, unless they can communicate with the army. Three of these men I send back, as they are not off the conscript age.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS, April 18, 1863.
Major General S. G. FRENCH, Commanding, &c.:
GENERAL: It is a question with me whether it is best to put the long guns in battery below Western Branch or above it. Please give me your views.