War of the Rebellion: Serial 045 Page 0023 (Untitled)

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the mere fact that there is such an interior line will weaken us. The troops would be formed on this line as the one indicated for defense. All skulkers and cowards would fall back to it, as being more secure than the front. All troops without orders might march to it, instead of marching, toward the enemy, unless their officers happened to know that this line was only intended to prevent a cavalry raid, and that it had been improperly located, even for that purpose; and, besides, the troops defending the first line would not be willing to spend all their energies in defending it, if they supposed, as many of them might do, that they had an interior line, to which they could retreat in safety. In conclusion, I will say that I noticed that some one is driving piles at the angle of the bridge over Hunting Creek, on the Accotink road. The men at work there informed me that they were going to build a block-house. All I wish to remark on this particular point is, the fact that such a block-house could have been built at the north end of the bridge, without the expense of a pile foundation; that it would have effectually guarded the bridge against cavalry crossing it in either direction, and that, if it had been placed on the mainland, it could more readily have been re-enforced in case of necessity. I make this communication because I think it is my duty to make it, and because I conceive my self-respect demands it. I think these additional obstructions are insufficient to accomplish the object proposed, an I think they are improperly located. I have had nothing to do either with their location or construction, and yet I find that I am very generally credited with being their author, and, of course, with being responsible both for their location ad construction. Independently of both these considerations, we have a line of defense inclosing both Washington and Alexandria. This line has been carefully studied during the last two years; upon it we have expended a great amount of study and labor, but, notwithstanding all this, it is still incomplete. Now, if the energies and labor of those persons who are putting up these auxiliary works could be directed by the engineers to completing the line we have chosen, and upon which we propose to fight, we can greatly strengthen it, and render it more secure against a cavalry raid than any interior line is likely to be made without proper direction. I do not know who is the author of the defenses to which I call your attention, and have purposely refrained from asking, in order that any remarks I may conceive it my duty to make in relation to them could not be supposed, to be prompted by improper motives.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

B. S. ALEXANDER,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Aide-de-Camp.

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FIELD ORDERS,

HEADQUARTERS, CAVALRY CORPS,

No. 1

Warrenton, June 6, 1863.

III. Until further orders, the First Division and Reserve brigade will form one command, under Brigadier-General Buford.