the railroad north of Fredericksburg. With proper support and assistance from Major Collins and his command, I still hope all can be saved. I will communicate with General Lee on the subject. At Falmouth and other points across the Rappahannock, there are many sand bags in the Federal Batteries; possibly the men of Major Collins` command remaining at or near Fredericksburg could save some of these, if not rotten, and destroy the remainder. General Lee`s orders to the major, dated 28th of June last, require him to remove the material of the railroad, if possible, To this end he has as yet given no assistance.
Your obedient servant,
J. F. GILMER,
Colonel of Engineers, and Chief of Bureau.
HEADQUARTERS FIFTEENTH VIRGINIA CAVALRY,
July 22, 1863.
Commanding, &c., Richmond:
GENERAL: I have just received orders from General R. E. Lee,
dated Jun 28, directing me to destroy the railroad from Fredericksburg to Aquia Creek, and have the material removed, if possible and, in order to facilitate its removal, to let the agents of the railroad have the material, and also directing that everything that cannot be removed must be destroyed.
The bridge over the Potomac River is still standing. I think it important it should be destroyed, but it should be allowed to stand if the iron on the other side is to be removed. I have no means of removing this material whatever, but should any immediate necessity arise, I can have it torn up and the bridge burned. If those in charge of this matter are taking steps to have this material removed, I will wait their action, but I think that it should be hurried up. If my command was larger, I could spare some men for this purpose, but cannot well do so now.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. R. COLLINS,
Major, Commanding Fifteenth Virginia Cavalry.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF RICHMOND,
July 24, 1863.
Respectfully referred to Colonel Gilmer, chief of Engineer Bureau, with that this paper be returned as soon as possible, with his remarks.
By command of Major-General Elzey:
T. O. CHESTNEY,
July 25, 1863.
Respectfully returned to Major-General Elzey. i have just had an interview with the Honorable Secretary of War in reference to the removal of iron from the railroad between Fredericksburg and Aquia Creek, and he desires me to say to you as follows: That