and a weak battery at every point where the enemy might land. The consequence has been that we have been in detail. For the last two days I have been engaged in answering questions proposed by a committee of the House of Representatives on the subject of the Roanoke Island disaster. In the narrative of events prepared for the committee I have tried to show the folly of this system. Thus, at Hatteras there were two forts, Clark and Hatteras. The first was carried without a shot being fired in support of it from the second, and then Hatteras was taken in turn. It was the same thing at Port Royal. At Roanoke Island I found two forts, not in supporting distance, the weaker next to the enemy. I ordered its abandonment, but I see that the order was not executed. The smaller fort was taken, and the really effective one did not fire a shot. At New Berne I found three forts. I ordered one of them to be demolished, but instead of doing it they constructed a fourth. This fourth was the only one attacked, and when it fell the others were abandoned. And just as soon as our batteries have been scattered, so have been our forces. I had 3,000 men at Leesburg and could have been innihilated at any moment the enemy pleased to make the effort. Our forces are now partly concentrated, but it is only so on this line. In North Carolina there are forces in Hyde County, at Washington, &c., which can be destroyed or captured at the pleasure of the foe. Can any madness or foly excel this? With the water facilities of the Yankees they can strike where they choose, and it is nonsense to guard every point, especially when the guard is so imperfect and so hazardous. I stated to the committeed that the batteries on James River were so scattered that the enemy could steam up to Richmond without being delayed more than half a day to reduce them all. I trust that you will excuse me for intruding upon your time, but I have mourned over these follies until it has almost set me crazy. I am just recovering from a similarone at Yorktown. It has been my misfortune to have been in command of a post since the breaking out of the war, and the sedentary life has been very injurious to one afflicted with spinal disease. It was my hopes to have been a soldier in this war, but I have only been a passport clerk.
With great respect,
D. H. HILL,
Richmond, Va., March 22, 1862.
Major General R. HUGER,
Commanding Department of Norfolk:
SIR: The Governor of this State has sent tome an opinion of the Attorney-General touching the legality of certain acts of the officer appointment by you with the title of "civil and military governor of the district composed of the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth and the surrounding country to the distance of ten miles from said cities." This opinion is given upon several acts of the officer alluded to which have been made the subject of complaint to the Governor, and which will be more specifically pointed out as soon as the papers connected with the matter shall have been submitted to the President. In the meantime, to avoid further complaints, I desire that the attention of the officer above alluded to be directed to several facts with regard to which he evidently has fallen into a misapprehension. The establishment of martial law does not, as that officer seems to suppose, suspend all the
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