War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Page 1006 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter XLVIII.

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will command the country and threaten the city lines to the south and east. I expect an attack to-day, certainly very soon. The force here, about 5,000 present of all arms, according to the return, including militia, is not adequate to maintain a position under so many disadvantages, and unless supported it will not be probable that I can save the town - hardly the troops. I do not think it prudent to accumulate stores here. I shall do the best I can, but as to the position of affairs I must say that with the enemy on the James and strongly fortified between the two rivers, neither Richmond nor Petersburg can long be held except by force superior to the enemy's - this place especially.

Very respectfully,

W. H. C. WHITING,

Major-General.

So much for the situation. Now for what we may be able to do. I wish to fight for the place to the last extremity. If pressed in heavy force on the north side of the river my reliance must be in a prompt and vigorous attack of the army at Drewry's on the enemy while I holds them back as long as possible. I hope this will be done and successfully, for the safety of this place is vital to Drewry's and to Richmond. The convalescent sick and all that can be moved ought to go on return trains to the hospitals in Halifax. They are not wanted here. Surplus stores, if any, must be put at the Danville Junction. The South Side road was cut yesterday 27 miles from here. I expect hourly to hear of the line of the Weldon road being again cut - the raiders moving in a circuit.

HEADQUARTERS,

Petersburg, May [15?], 1864.

General BRAGG:

All my cavalry have gone after raid and to protect line of Petersburg and Weldon Railroad. Have recalled them. Available force will be about 3,000, unless the railroads are given up. Four regiments off on that duty. All the wagon trains of Hoke, Pickett and Martin now between here and Weldon.

W. H. C. WHITING.

HEADQUARTERS,

Petersburg, May [15?], 1864.

General BEAUREGARD:

Dispatch received 11 a. m. Time is rather short, but will do my best. Number of wagons very small; not yet arrived. If any come to-day will forward. Sent train for Hoke and Kemper; ought to be along if raid has not cut road. I think Butler is feinting in your front. He is after Petersburg.

W. H. C. WHITING.

MAY [15?], 1864.

General BEAUREGARD:

Dispatch received. My road to Weldon threatened by large body of cavalry. Same has just cut South Side Railroad and telegraph. Bragg telegraphed attack to be made on enemy. My action must