more important matter-the safety of this place-which concerns not only North Carolina, but the whole country. On the contrary, from the movements of the enemy at this very time what I advocate wiith regard not only to these works but to all families living on the belt of sound, viz, their entire and absolute removal. This has been approved by General Beauregard, and no doubt will be so by the War Department. In consideration of your request, however, the works may still proceed until the War Department is heard from, unless indeed, which is more than likely, the enemy attempt the coast. Some other means than boats must be had to procure fuel, for the reasons are that I am filling all the channels of the sound with torpedoes and obstructions, and no reliance can be had that the boats may not be improperly used. Private works use no boats. There is another mattere in connection with these salt-works. If this is continued, it will furnish one additional reason for doing away with these salt-works.
W. H. C. WHITIING,
ASHLAND, July 5, 1864.*
Commanding Department, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: I am directed by Colonel Browne, commanding reconnaisance force, to report to you directly. One hundred and twelve of the enemy's cavalry arrived here at 2 o'clock this morning, burnt the depot, woodhouse, water-tank, and stationary engine, and slightly, but not materially, injured the railroad track, and left in the direction of Hanover Court-House at 4 o'clock. The telegraph line is also cut here and the first culvert below destroyed. I also learn that at South Anna bridge the enemy's cavalry and infantry, at 8 o'clock yesterday evening, attacked our forces, but were prevented from getting his artillery in position by the admirable fiere of our artillery, and were repulsed after four hours, pursued by our cavalry. Enemy's force not known. It has since been ascertained the whole force has returned across Noeman's Bridge, in King William County. This information has been derived from Mr. Villiams, and empleye on the railroad, who has visited the scene of the last fight. I have been sent out by Colonel Browne as a scout to ascertain the position of the enemy, and shall continue my efforts in the direction he has gone.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. F. ROBBINS,
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS ARRMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
July 9, 1864.
Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR,
SIR: In connection with my letter of this date suggesting the proper precautions to be taken to conceal my whereabouts from the enemy, I beg leave respectfully to recommend that no publications of papers or
*Canceled: This communication is correctly printed under July 5, 1863, in VOL. XXVII, Part III, p. 973.