War of the Rebellion: Serial 040 Page 0777 Chapter XXXVII. CORRESPONDENCE,ETC.-UNION.

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RICHMOND, VA., May 5, 1863.

Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War:

SIR: The city volunteers can only be assembled by ringing the alarm bell, which I presume you do not wish done unless the enemy are approaching. There, is however, a force available for a temporary guard at the prison. When I was organizing the volunteers, Dr. [A. G.] Lane, of the Winder Hospital, reported to me for orders with 300 convalescents able to bear arms. I armed them, and placed them under the command of Colonel Joseph Selden for the defense of the River road. Doubting my authority, however, to issue further orders t these men, I deem it best to inclose the order* to you. My purpose was to bring them into the city to-morrow in order to have the arms returned, and them to disband and send them back to Camp Winder.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. W. RANDOLPH.

CAMP ON MECHANICSVILLE ROAD, VA., May 5, 1863-7 a.m.

Major General ARNOLD ELZEY,

Commanding, &c.:

GENERAL: All is quiet on this road to this hour, and reports concur that there is no enemy now on his road. One party, it seems, tried to pass the York River Railroad; were met and repulsed by a battalion of my Forty-fifth [Virginia], under Colonel [R. T. W.] Duke, and the other party, I am credibly informed, crossed the river at Piping Tree. This confirms my first impressions, that the enemy's mode of passing out of our lines would be by descending the York and James Rivers, and the York and Piankatank Peninsula, respectively, to Gloucester Point and to Yorktown. I respectfully recommend a strong force now on the York Rive Railroad of infantry, artillery, and cavalry. The portions of my brigade withdrawn lately from the Peninsula would suffice, if the enemy have not already passed, by their being withdrawn, as is possible. Last night at 12 o'clock Major Stark communicated to me the within order.* I was ordered to this road, and yet this order is addressed to my subordinate. This was done in repeated instances yesterday to the Forty-fourth North Carolina Regiment, on the Plank road; twice or thrice to Major [A. W.] Stark, and once to the Eleventh North Carolina. You will please not consider me as stickling, general, on any point of mere rule or regulation or etiquette, but as reporting that this irregularity caused confusion at a moment deemed critical at the time.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE,

Brigadier-General.

HEADQUARTERS, May 5, 1863-9.30 a.m.

Major General ARNOLD ELZEY,

Richmond, Va.:

Your dispatch of this morning is received. Have your forces at different points along the west and southwest of the city, in small parts,

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*Not found.

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