completed and whether any of the troops you have in North Carolina can be spared from there? As regards your aggressive movement upon Suffolk, you must act according to your good judgment. If a damaging blow could be struck there or elsewhere of course it would be advantageous; but if the place was taken doubt whether we could spare a garrison to hold it, and storming of his works might cost us very dear.
I am, very respectfully, yours,
R. E. LEE,
P. S.-Is not the Eighth Corps, which you mention in your front, Keyes', from Yorktown?
Near Suffolk, Va., April 27, 1863.
Honorable James A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: If the reports of officers of the quartermaster's and subsistence department are to be relied upon, it will require a month to haul out the supplies of this portion of the country. If it is desirable that we should remain for that purpose the Richmond would be of great assistance to us; it would at least secure Richmond City against any sudden move of the enemy and protect my left. Unless a part of this force is necessary on the Rappahannock it would probably be well for us to hold our line as it now is instead of giving up the country back to the Blackwater again. I learned yesterday that there are a number of guns in the old river forts that were abandoned by us when this country was given up. I have sent Captain Clark (engineers) down to examine the old works and guns and report their condition. I presume that many of these guns may be made useful if we can have carriages made for them.
I remain, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS, April 27, 1863-1 p. m.
GENERAL: I started this morning at 8 a. m., and with Generals Jenkins and davis, have walked the margin of Spikes' Run from where the right of my lines strikes the run to where General Garnett is defending the ford, on old Somerton road. The distance is over three-quarters of a mile, and the run, while it is an obstacle, is no barrier to infantry. It can be crossed at any point through its length between those points by infantry. There are several log crossings in the interval. I have your note, and will have an examination made with a view to have a ford for artillery. I mention the condition of Spike' Run that it may be duly considered as a part of the general line.
S. G. FRENCH,
65 R R-VOL XVIII