War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 1137 Chapter LIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,

Richmond, Va., October 6, 1864-5 p. m.

General R. E. LEE,

Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia:

I send further following telegram just received from operator at Gordonsville, dated 6th:

The enemy have burned Rapidan bridge and advancing on this place. Scout just returned.

JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War.

SPECIAL ORDERS, ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE,

Numbers 237. Richmond, October 6, 1864.

I. Captain James Mitchell, assistant adjutant-general, now on duty with Evans' brigade, Gordon's division, Army of Northern Virginia, will report without delay to Major General J. L. Kemper, commanding reserves, for assignment to duty.

* * * * * *

By command of the Secretary of War:

JNumbers WITHERS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS,

Wilmington, N. C., October 6, 1864.

Honorable S. R. MALLORY,

Secretary of the Navy, Richmond:

SIR: I have received your reply to my letter of the 27th [ultimo*]. I only wish to say that I fear you have entirely misapprehended my reasons for making the request as to the Tallahassee and the Chickamauga, if it is supposed that I ever thought of them as fighting vessels in any way or needed them to resist the enemy's men of war or shot. Their weakness and notable incapacity as ships of war might be an argument against their going to sea; but I should never think of employing such vessels to fight. It is the men and guns that are wanted as well as the ships, not only to man the naval batteries now being substituted for the North Carolina and the Raleigh, which were to defend the inner bars, but to guard or picket the entrance and river, a duty devolving upon the navy, and for which there are neither forts nor vessels here. This is a matter for very serious consideration at all times. It is not only perfectly possible for the enemy to send in their armed boats by wide entrances at night, but they do and have done so repeatedly. Three night since the Banshee, after passing the bar, was fired upon three times from and armed launch lying inside and in wait. They have repeatedly ascended the river to within a few miles of town, concealed themselves in the marsh during the day, and rowed out again at night, with muffled oars. On one occasion they surprised and carried off the mail-carrier from Fisher and cut the telegraph wire. They boast that they set fire to the cotton when we had our great loss and the Government cotton and the navy-yard was burned. I doubt this, but it is possible, and they assert it. If I had a sufficient land force, if I had

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*See Part II, p. 1297. Mallory's reply not found.

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72 R R-VOL XLII, PT III