upon Richmond. It is said this force is to be swelled by a re-enforcement from Hooker.
Double vigilance and activity are now required of all. You will keep your command in the best possible order, and ready for any service at a moment`s warning. Look to your ammunition, have the countersign regularly given out, and see that the guards and officers in charge attend to their duties.
PETERSBURG, VA., June 21, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War, C. S. A.:
Suffolk has not been evacuated. Up to Thursday last, fourteen regiments of infantry, two of cavalry, and some twenty pieces of artillery were on the Blackwater. They had been there for six days, apparently trying to cross both day and night, but making very feeble efforts. This looks very much like evacuation, as they usually cover their retreats by feigned attacks. Still, I have no idea that they will fall back farther than Bowers` Hill, 8 miles from Portsmouth, if, indeed, they go back that far.
In regard to an advance upon the capital, we have but two things to apprehend. A direct advance will not be made. They will either move upon Hanover, and cut the railroad and canal, or they will land at City Point, and isolate Petersburg, crossing the Appomattox between its mouth and this city. The former movement can be met by an attack in flank and rear. The latter would be a very serious one for us. It is entirely practicable for the Yankees, and cannot be resisted by us.
Brigadier General Matt. [W.] Ransom is with his brigade at Drewry`s Bluff, and five batteries of field artillery have been sent over there also. Brigadier-General Jenkins` troops will reach here from the Blackwater to-night and to-morrow. This is the only force to guard Petersburg and this long line of railroad. A front of 300 miles, containing an infinite number of approaches, is feebly guarded by three regiments of cavalry. We are obliged to meet with disaster at some point, if the Yankees show any enterprise.
Now, this brings me to the object of this letter. I would most respectfully make two suggestions. I learn from General Jenkins that General Beauregard has more cavalry than he can use. Could not one of those regiments be ordered to this department?
In view of the threatened advance upon Richmond, would in not be well to arm and retain all the exchanged prisoners until the nature of the movement shall be fully developed? The surgeon brought up yesterday, stated that there were 30, 000 Yankees at Yorktown. I think that altogether probable. We could readily meet a much larger force if we had only one point to guard, but with our attention distracted between so many points, the result may be disastrous.
The exchanged men will get back too late to be of any service at Vicksburg, and will be on the road when they might be saving the capital of the Confederacy. These suggestions are made for the public good, and with no intention of intruding my views upon the Department.
With great respect,
D. H. HILL,