War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Page 1024 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter XLVIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

[Inclosure Numbers 1.]


Drewry's Bluff, Va., May 14, 1864.

General B. BRAGG,

Commanding C. S. Armies, Richmond, Va.:

GENERAL: Considering the vital importance of the issue involved, and resting upon the success of the plan I suggested to you this morning, I have deemed it advisable and appropriate that their substance should be briefly communicated in writing. General Lee's army, at Guiney's Station, and my command, at this place, are on nearly a right line passing through Richmond. Grant's army is on the left flank and Butler's on the right. Our lines are thus interior. Butler's aim is unquestionably to invest and turn Drewry's Bluff, threatening and holding the Petersburg and Danville railroads, opening the obstructions in the river at Fort Drewry for the passage of war vessels, and necessitating the return of General Lee to the lines about Richmond. With the railroads held by the enemy, Grant in front and Butler in rear of the works around Richmond, the capital would be practically invested, and the issue may well be dreaded.

The plan submitted is: That General Lee should fall back to the defensive lines of the Chickahominy, even to the intermediate lines of Richmond, sending temporarily to this place 15,000 men of his troops. Immediately upon that accession to my present force, I would take the offensive and attack Butler vigorously. Such a move would throw me directly upon Butler's communications, and, as he now stands, with his right flank well turned toward his rear, General Whiting should also move simultaneously, and Butler must necessarily be crushed or captured, and all the stores of that army would then fall into our hands, an amount, probably, that would make an interruption of our communications for a period of a few days a matter of no serious inconvenience. The proposed attack should be accomplished in two days at furthest after receiving my re-enforcements. This done, I would move with 10,000 more men to the assistance of General Lee than I drew from him, and Grant's fate could not long remain doubtful. The destruction of Grant's forces would open the way for the recovery of most of our lost territory, as already submitted to you in general terms.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,


General, Commanding.

[Inclosure Numbers 2.]


Richmond, May 19, 1864.

Mr. PRESIDENT: I have the honor herewith to submit to Your Excellency copy of a letter just received from General Beauregard, and the following remarks thereupon. The plan proposed by General Beauregard in the inclosed paper was opposed for the following reasons, viz:

First. It involved such delay during which the enemy held our railroads from the south as to entirely exhaust our small stock of subsistence on hand.

Second. It allowed the enemy now closely around us at Drewry's Bluff to intrench his position, so as to overcome the proposed advantage of re-enforcements to our side.