BEVERLY, April 16, 1863.
Colonel Oley has returned from Crab Bottom. The rebels have regiments of infantry and five of cavalry in that vicinity, and all the indications are a move by them in this direction. Nothing further accomplished. No news from Franklin yet.
Colonel Second Virginia Infantry.
BEVERLY, April 16, 1863.
The information I have from scouts goes to confirm Colonel oley's account of the force. the Twenty-fifth and Thirty-fifth Virginia Regiments have been secretly sent from the east. They were secreted in this country. General William L. Jackson is in command over Imboden, with headquarters at Warm Springs. Colonel Oley reports indications of an advance, and says the citizens along the route were expecting it. All Imboden force was reported under marching orders. I do not consider Beverly in danger.
I sent about 250 of the Second Virginia Infantry, on Saturday last, toward Franklin, and about the same force of the Eighth in the direction of Crab Botton. The foregoing are the reports so far. It is beyond doubt the intention of the rebels to attempt an attack upon my forces, but it seems to me improbable that they have gathered in so large a force, yet it is possible, and preparations should be made to meet it. I need artillery and cavalry. My quartermaster has not a dollar of funds to pay spies and scouts, or for any other purpose.
B. S. ROBERTS
WASHINGTON, D. C.,
April 17, 1863.
Fort monroe, Va.:
GENERAL: If the enemy has given up his attempt upon Suffolk and Norfolk, it is probably on account of a movement of General Hooker.
I think that Lee's main army will be massed between Richmond and the Rappahannock. This would, of course, give you an opportunity to operate in the direction of Hicksford or Weldon, to destroy the railroads connecting with the south. But would that be a safe operation? Moreover, would it not be contrary to principle? The enemy would be between you and Hooker's army, ready to strike at either. Would he not in his center position have the same advantage over you and Hooker which he had last year over McClellan and Pope? It certainly seems so to me. Moreover, while you were operating south of James River might not the enemy recapture Williamsburg and Yorktown? Would it not be more in accordance with principles for you and Hooker to act as nearly together as possible, and at the same time to secure your smaller force from the enemy's heavy blows? Suppose, while General; Hooker operates against the enemy's front, you threaten his flank and rear by the Pamunkey and Mattapony in such a way as to secure your own retreat, would there not be greater chance of success? It seems to me that West Point furnishes you a most excellent base for such an operation. With the gunboats and a few heavy guns put in battery, it could be made secure against greatly superior numbers. moreover, while affording assistance to Hooker's operations, it will serve as a protection to your line Williamsburg and Yorktown. I am, therefore, of opinion that the moment you can safely withdraw troops from the south side of James River, you should occupy West Point and operate
15 R R-VOL XXV, PT II