HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, July 30, 1864. [Received 6.30 p.m.]
Kershaw's division can march to the position indicated in previous telegram, Heth's to take the cars for Dunlop's.
W. H. TAYLOR,
CHAFFIN'S FARM, July 30, 1864.
Hon. J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: Yours of the 29th was received last night on my return from Darby's below Deep Bottom. Several respectable looking and intelligent ladies told me they saw and spoke with Sheridan there; that he advised them how to secure themselves in case of a fight, and said all his cavalry was present-6,000. At Goodman's and near Fisher's bodies of cavalry, whose numbers could only be guessed, had penetrated between Anderson's forces and Gary's on his left, and there seemed every possibility that they would endeavor to push toward Richmond, as the infantry already over was more than enough to occupy Anderson's command. In addition, the troops from the lines south of James were under special instructions for a definite object, and I could not take from them, nor would there have been time. The enemy were within ten miles of our lines, and we cannot trust always to his want of enterprise. The lines on this front were held by an unusually thin line of skirmishers, and even the Engineer Regiment had to be in the works to give that much show of force. There were two brigades kept here for the defense of the city, but they were moved to the south side six weeks ago, and now Johnson's brigade of Tennesseans are the only troops of field experience permanently stationed at this point; besides these are a small body of Lieutenant-Colonel Maury's artillery and the City Battalion, untried, I should judge. I am aware of the objections, as shown in your letter of the 29th, to employing the Local Defense troops, and beg leave to intrude these statements on the time of His Excellency the President and yourself, in order to explain my action, and if necessary receive such instructions as may be thought necessary for my future guidance. Ever since being on my present duty I have felt the want of something like a regular garrison for the city, in addition to the artillery of General Pemberton and the detachments above mentioned at this place, and it has occurred to me that if these locals were confined to the limits of the city fortifications, and then only when absolutely necessary, the place would be safer against a coup de main, and as far as they were concerned with less interruption to the Government business. As soon as I can leave this part of the lines I will confer with General Custis Lee on this subject.
R. S. EWELL,
HEADQUARTERS ENGINEER TROOPS, Blandford, July 30, 1864.
Colonel W. H. STEVENS,
Chief Engineer, Army of Northern Virginia:
COLONEL: Inclosed please find report of Sergeant Smyth, in charge of the working detachment at Pegram's salient. At Colquitt's salient