every train; will have a regiment ready by Monday. What must I do with it? The people are a unit waiting for an advance on Washington.
J. W. ELLIS.
NORFOLK, May 26, 1861.
[Major General R. E. LEE:]
GENERAL: Captain J. A. Johnston, assistant quartermaster, reported yesterday. As the quartermaster's is the only department through which funds can be disbursed, everything was paralyzed until his arrival. On examination of the lines and batteries, I find the work is much retarded for want of implements. A supply of horse carts and wheelbarrows would expedite the work more than half. I could find neither of these articles in the neighborhood yesterday. I hope to get a few and must send off an agent to get a limited number as soon as possible. This is an expense which I must take the responsibility of incurring. I have reason to believe some of the troops are very scantily supplied with percussion caps, and if you have any source of supply please have some sent. With a little time and means I hope to get the defenses in order. The reports from Hampton this morning are that the troops from Old Point have occupied the town and the farm of Mr. Segar. There has been a good deal of firing near Segar's farm; whether it is practicing or someof the Hampton people have been firing at them from the woods, I am not certain. The flag-ship Minnesota went to sea last evening. This afternoon a flag of truce was received, sent by Commander Pendergrast, to request the families of persons (Irish names), seamen's wives, I presume might be allowed to leave. I notified him I would send them to him on Tuesday afternoon. The camp beyond Mill Creek is extending westward, and another transport steamer with troops arrived at Fort Monroe to-day. Monday morning at 3 a. M. Colonel Williams' regiment, from North Carolina, arrived from Richmond. Monday, 27th, at 4 a. M. two different parties met in my room, unknow to each other, both with the same story. Some 1,500 troops had landed in Camden County, ten miles south of Elizabeth City. My last report yesterday from Sewell's Point reported some more small vessels towed out to sea. They are probably collecting a large force there for a main attack from the south. I telegraphed to you at 5 a. M. and also to Governor Ellis. I propose the line from Deep Creek to Great Bridge, along the Albermale and Chesapeake Canal, as my defensive line, by will know better when I see more about it.
7.30 a. M.- A messenger just in brings the intelligence I have just telegraphed to you, viz, that the report of landing of troops in Camden County is false. I would not have credited it without further information but two sets of messengers, who had ridden all night thirty miles, met in my room. They were from different sides of the river, and each gave the same account without any previous consultation. I have stood strong circumstantial evidence before, and kept all quiet when everybody else was credulous, by they caught me this time.
8.30 a. M. - Steamer from Old Point, with boats in tow, landing troops of Newport News.
10 a. M. - The Harriet Lane has gone up James River beyond Newport News. I want some spy-glasses. Could you have them purchased in Richmond (none here) if I send requisition to the quartermaster?