War of the Rebellion: Serial 108 Page 0558 MD., E. N. C., PA., VA., EXCEPT S. W., & W. VA. Chapter LXIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

Richmond, and trust it will be determined never to surrender the city. If the city be not surrendered and the army be kept up we will have the advantage of the enemy having no foothold there on the land. If the refusal to surrender should, as it doubtless will, be followed by a threat to shell the city, the enemy cannot in the face of the civilized world commence the fiendish operation until sufficient time us given to remove non-combatants, and if they carry literally into execution their threat we will present a moral spectacle that will benefit our cause with the enemy, our own people, and mankind. After such an example we would find none on the other side who would dream of reconstructing the hated Union, and none on ours who would entertain the throught of yielding to power. The delay, however, may suggest means of destruction thatmay enable our people, if true to themselves, to prevent this ships ever getting out of the harbor. The holding of the city of Richmond, it seems to me, is essential for the subsistence of our large armies in this part of the Confederacy. If cut off I don't see how I could find bred for a week for the men even under my command, and, if that be so, what will be the consequence to the much more numerous armies drawing their supplies from that center it pains me to reflect. Hence it seems to me that it is of the last importance to hold it to the last extremity, never to give it up unless our Peninsula army is overcome and forced to leave it within the enemy's lines. Should this happen I will no doubt have timely instructions through the proper channels as to what policy I shall pursue, and trust that the Government has been able to anticipate sich an emergency in the collection of supplies at other points that will be within our reach. I don't know what progress was made at the river obstructions and batteries, but if they have been well placed, and a good iron battery has been constructed, I believe the boats may be checked; and it seems to me the work of placing stone in the river should not cease as long as that line is threatened. It would be a difficult matter to remove them under the fire of our guns. I hope you will excuse my addressing you directly on such a subject. I have long regarded Richmond as the most important point for us to hold, both in a military and political sence; not that my pecuniary interest is located there. I can smile with indifference my pecuniary interest is locatsmile with indifference when they apply the torch to all of it if our cause is to derive benefit from its sacrifice. But bread and materials of war we shall continue to want, and the supply of these will be greatly curtailed by the fall of Richmond. It is our chosen seat of Government, too, and it will be sad to give our enemy the pleasure of driving the Government away. I have had three alarms and preparations for a fight which ended in nothing, and all now is quiet. I am in hopes, however, that General Ewell may determine to combine with my force, and I think we might do something handsome.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,




Bivouac One mile and a half from Bottom's Bridge, May 15, 1862 - 12 m.


Assistant Adjutant-General:

MAJOR: Arrived at this point I encountered General Pendleton with his batteries, ordered back by General Smith, who advised me to halt