their own officers on all matters connected with their duty. The other regiments have not been brigade, but are acting separately, making their reports directly to myself. This keeps me constantly at this post, so that I have not been able to visit the lower part of the district at all. I respectfully recommend that the troops in this district be brigaded as follows: First Brigade, to be commanded by General Trimble-First, Second, and Third North Carolina State Troops, Twentieth and Fortieth Virginia Volunteers, stationed at or near Aquia Creek; Second Brigade, to be commanded by Colonel J. G. Walker, C. S. Army-First Arkansas Volunteers, Second Tennessee, Twelfth North Carolina, Forty-seventh Virginia Volunteers, stationed at or near Evansport; Third Brigade-the Fifty-fifth Regiment Virginia Volunteers and the unattached companies of local volunteers and militia, on the Rappahannock, to be under the command of Colonel George E. Pickett, C. S. Provisional Army. The lower Rappahannock was looked on by General Lee, when he commanded, as of primary importance, and it was with much difficulty that I dissuaded him from detaching a considerable part of my force here for its defense, he believing that Urbana was a point from whence the enemy could operate against Richmond. If the general commanding coincides in opinion with General Lee, it is important that another regiment should be sent there with instructions to erect and defend a battery at Gray's Point, which would prevent a fleet from passing up the Rappahannock effectually. My own opinion is there is no danger in that quarter, and that the troops now there are sufficient to reassure the people and to prevent the absconding of slaves. The nine regiments and four light batteries that [are] near here and Evansport are ample for the defense of the heavy batteries on the river against any force the enemy will probably send, having no other object than their destruction in view, and I have no doubt that General Whiting's brigade, aided by them, will be abundantly able to defend the line of the Occoquan against any army that may be sent there to turn General Beauregard's right; but, in order that this should be beyond per-adventure, it would be well if the fords of that river were fortified with breast-works, &c. If, however, the general commanding thinks there is no danger there, and that General Beauregard may require aid elsewhere, I think he may with perfect propriety order me to march with six, or even seven, regiments to his assistance, and thus leave the batteries to be defended temporarily by two or three regiments-enough to defend them against men landing from their war vessels. In reference to the condition of my division I am much pleased to inform you that the health of the troops is steadily improving, their discipline excellent, and that they are tolerably well instructed. I think the batteries at Evansport have accomplished the object for which they were constructed, and that the few vessels that pass them at night are unimportant to the great interest of the enemy cut off by them.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
TH. H. HOLMES,
Major-General, Commanding District.
Centerville, November 2, 1861.
As Brigadier-General Trimble was assigned to the command of the post near Dumfries, this proposed organization is respectfully referred to the War Department.
J. E. JOHNSTON,