of one of the generals in command. * General Dix therefore ordered its return, and sent the troops of which it was composed to
re-enforce the army of General Meade north of the Potomac.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
H. W. HALLECK General-in-Chief.
Honorable E. M. STANTON Secretary of war.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE EAST,
New York City, December 15, 1863.
Major General H. W. HALLECK
General: In your report of the 15th November, to the Secretary of war, I find the following paragraph: When the rebel army was moving north upon Maryland and Pennsylvania, General Dix sent all of his amiable force from Norfolk and Fort Monroe up the York River, for the purpose of cutting off Lee`s communications with Richmond, and of attacking that place, which was then defended by only a handful of militia. The expedition, however, failed to accomplish a single object for which it had been fitted out, the failure resulting, it was alleged, from the inefficiency of one of the generals commanding. General Dix therefore ordered its return, and sent the troops of which it was composed to re-enforce the army of General Meade north of the Potomac. As there seems to be a misapprehension on your part in regard to two or three of the most essential particulars, I desire to call your attention to them in connection with the subjoined statement of facts. 1. That I sent all my "available force * * * up the York River, form the purpose of cutting off Lee`s communications with Richmond, and of attacking that place. " The following is your order, under which I acted: Lee`s army in motion toward the Shenandoah valley. All your amiable force should be concentrated to threaten Richmond by seizing and destroying their railroad bridges over the South and North Anna Rivers, and do them all the damage possible. If you cannot accomplish this, you can at least occupy a large force of the enemy. There can be no serious danger of an attack on Norfolk now. It will be perceived that an attack on Richmond was not a part of the plan. That city is understood to be nearly as strongly fortified as Vicksburg, and only to be taken by regular siege. 2. That Richmond "was then defended by only a handful of militia. "
An intercepted letter from Jefferson Davis to General Lee dated the 28th of June, the day the last of my troops arrived at the White House, states that there were three brigades in Richmond, and part of Hill`s division, besides Wise`s brigade on the east side of the city. These were all regular troops and not militia; there was, in addition, a body of trained artillerists in the intrenchments, the Home Guards, and a convalescent brigade.
*See Dix to Halleck, December 15, and reply of December 20, Addenda, Nos. 1 and 2, following; and see, in Part II, expeditions from the White House to South Anna River and Bottom's Bridge,