War of the Rebellion: Serial 108 Page 0507 Chapter LXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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Richmond, March 20, 1862.

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VIII. Any proceedings taken by the authorities of the State of Virginia for the collection of the public revenue are hereby extempted from the operations of General Orders, Nos. 9, 11, and 15, Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, of March 1, 8, and 11 [14], 1862, declaring martial law.

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By command of the Secretary of War:


Assistant Adjutant-General.


RICHMOND, VA., March 20, 1862.


In reply to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 24th ultimo, requesting the President to furnish certain information in reference to the James River defenses and the defenses of the city of Richmond, with his own opinion thereon, the to cause a survey to be made of the Chickahominy and its branches, with reference to its being occupied as a defensive line, I trasmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of War, submitting a report of Captain Alfred L. Rives, in charge of the Engineer Bureau, on the subjects referred to, so far as the information obtained will admit.

The report of Captain Rives states the facts in regard to the state of the defenses of the James River and the city of Richmond; and in the views presented by him I generally concur. It may be proper, however, to add something in explanation of the facts presented, and my own impressions derived from various sources from time to time. The work at Day's Point possesses but little value for the defense proper of the James River. It was located with regard to the protection of Burwell's Bay and the counry above from foraging excursions of the enemy by water, and as a protection to our own boats in the river. A site somewhat lower down would have been preferable, according to information obtained since the location of the work; but it has thus far fulfilled its object; and as it has been well constructed, with much labor and expense, it is probably best not to disturb it expect by the addition of a small outwork to command the approaches in its rear, which I am told is being done.

The next position above, defended by the works at Hardy's Bluff and Mublerry Island, possesses great importance from being the right flank of General Magruder's chosen defensive line on the Peninsula, and the lowest point which gives the hope of a successful protection of the river against the wooden fleets of the enemy. -clad vessels, of which we have not had sufficient experience to form a correct judgment, can pass these works, as the channel is too wide and deep for obstruction, unless wrought-iron bolts, now being prepared for trial against the Ericsson battery (Monitor) and others of the same class, prove more effective than can be reasonably hoped for; but still the transports necessary for a formidable expedition ought to be keep back by the batteries so long as they are held; and it is thought that they should not be silenced by a few iron-clad vessels operating with a small number of guns at long