say about 450 strong each. I think with these I can hold the place against any attempted raid. I would mention that since my former communication upon this subject the Twenty-first Connecticut, two light batteries, two companies of the Second Massachusetts, and two of the Thirteenth New York have been withdrawn from the defenses of this place.
The major-general commanding has undoubtedly perceived ere this that the enemy, being cut off from the Valley of Virginia and being pressed for supplies, may be tempted to make an attack here. I do not anticipate any serious attempt except by way of Suffolk. I have endeavored to take all the precautions against it that the exceeding small forces at my disposal will admit of. After passing the old line there are, including the railroad, four roads by which the enemy may approach the second line-the new road, the Deep Creek, and the old county roads. The small redoubts have been arranged with reference to holding these roads, and all the forces I have will only garrison these works. I have deemed it my duty to candidly submit to the major-general commanding my views. Being in command of the whole, he can best judge of the proper disposition of his troops; still, it is possible, in the multiform duties he is called upon to discharge, the deficiency of the force at this point may have escaped his attention. Having invited his attention to it I shall have discharged my duty. There is another point to which I would respectfully invite the attention of the major-general commanding. By the inclosed telegram you will find that the telegraph operator is sometimes stationed at Bowers' Hill and sometimes at Bernard's Mill, eighteen miles from this city. Whenever there is any reason to anticipate an attack he is at the latter post and can give me timely information of it. I presume the major-general commanding is aware of the importance of this station or he would not have permitted the operator here to have remained when he has takes upon himself, without any consultation with me, to displace an important auxiliary to the defense of my position. The order does not sending it, and I am thus to all intents and purposes subject to the orders of my juniors. The officer does not simply relieve the operator, but discontinues the station and orders the machine to be sent to Old Point. The individual sending this order is not in a position to judge of the importance of the station to the defense of this place. Probably even if he were on the ground he would not possess either the knowledge or experience that would justify his giving an opinion. He certainly cannot at Washington. As this order is a direct violation of General Orders, No. 129, from the Headquarters of the Army, of this year, and as I have no reason to suppose that the operator was withdrawn, either with the knowledge or consent of the major-general commanding, I request that he may be sent back, and that measures may be taken to prevent the recurrence of such irregularities in the future.
I would also call the attention of the commanding general to the importance of having a gun-boat placed at my disposal for patrolling the Nansemond and other streams in this vicinity. Such a vessel would add materially to the means of defense and could be made very useful.
I am, colonel, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers.