Surgeon Geddings will establish a purveying depot at Winchester for the present.
I fear there will be some difficulty in transporting the necessary supplies from Staunton by road wagons.
The purveying depot needs additional assistant surgeons, which I am unable to detach from regiments.
I respectfully ask that you assign two officers competent to perform the duties.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Medical Director, Army of Northern Virginia.
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond, Va., June 22, 1863.
General D. H. HILL,
GENERAL: I have had the satisfaction of receiving your letter by a courier, informing me of the prompt disposition you are making of your forces, and offering valuable suggestions with a view to the contingency of an attack on Richmond by the enemy. Mi intelligence is positive that the enemy have left Suffolk, and that only a small force remains on the south side, at a point a few miles from Norfolk. You are doubtless right in your conjecture that the movements on the Blackwater were a feint to cover the evacuation.
The forces at the command of the enemy in Lower Virginia have doubtless been concentrated at Yorktown, but I find it hard to believe they amount even to 20, 000 men, enough to make a diversion, and, if Richmond were found defenseless, to take it, is all I think the enemy would plan under the fright which General Lee`s advance is evidently causing at Washington and in the North. Still, it is wiser to expect and prepare for the largest force they may bring.
I do not think they will attempt and advance by the south side, as Richmond is their main object, and they would, besides, dislike to open entirely their reserves, stores, and defenses at Yorktown. But if they do, by means of the bridge above Drewry`s Bluff, we can concentrate as easily on the south as the north side. Provided you have [M.] Jenkins` brigade ready to aid Ransom`s, or to be thrown to this city, I think we will be reasonably safe.
I do not think it safe just now for you to exchange Jenkins` brigade for Colquitt`s, lest we should be struck while in transitu. When things become more settled, the change would probably be judicious, and you can, of course, under your discretion as commander, at any time make the disposition.
I fear General Beauregard can hardly spare a regiment of cavalry from his line, almost as extended as yours, but I will apply to him on the subject.
The prisoners returned by the truce-boat have, I fear, through the atrocious barbarity of the enemy, been so infected with small-pox as to render it unsafe to mix them with other troops. You had better have them separated and examined. As far as you deem safe to employ them, act on your suggestion, which is approved.
Very truly, yours,
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.