War of the Rebellion: Serial 069 Page 0860 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter XLVIII.

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Thus officially called upon I replied on the same day by the letter which you request my consent to publish. This official correspondence I consider to be under the control of General Beauregard. If the call upon me and my reply are both published, I have no objection whatever, but I wish the idea to be excluded that I publish it or appear to volunteer any information or its publication from any personal motives. I should not have spoken of the order at all but for the fact that General Whiting spoke of it freely himself in my presence to others without any confidential injunction or restraint. I have no personal hostility to General Bragg, and wish to avoid the appearance of expressing any, or of seeming to instigate the expression of any personal hostility to him.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



MAY 31, 1864.

Colonel T. M. R. TALCOTT, First Engineer Regiment:

COLONEL: I am directed by Colonel Rives to suggest to you the propriety of ordering a company of pontoniers to the James River to take charge of the boats now being collected near Drewry's Bluff. I have already a bridge across the river at Drewry's Bluff, and will have within two days over forty boats in the river.

General Ransom is anxious that sufficient boats should be in readiness to bridge the James at any point should the necessity arise. In such a case the only troops available for such duty are about 30 men, under Lieutenant Sully. This, of course, will be too small a company to handle fifty boats. A telegram was sent you at headquarters asking that your pontoon train be ordered to Richmond. The answer came from General Lee authorizing Colonel Rives to order them down. Eight boats are expected to-night, but the reserve is still at Gordonsville, and Lieutenant Smith writes that he has no transportation to bring them down. We will have with the eight boats from Goochland Court-House forty-two boats in hand, and will be able to make two boats per day. If you could get the ten from Gordonsville we would have sufficient to throw a bridge across at almost any point. We had to pile about half the bridge at Drewry's Bluff. Colonel Rives has been sick and confined to his bed for several days.

I have requested Mr. Herbert to forward the maps for which you write. They were put up yesterday, but by some accident were not delivered to Lieutenant Meade.

Respectfully, & c.,


Captain, Engineers, & c.

RICHMOND, May 31, 1864.

His Excellency WILLIAM SMITH, Governor of Virginia:

DEAR SIR: At your request I called, with the note of General Bragg to you of this date, on General Bragg, who referred me to Major-General Ransom. The substance and result of an interview had with Major-General Ransom is as follows: He expresses surprise at the smallness of the effective force of the militia, and thought that we could muster about 2,000 men. He thinks that the