War of the Rebellion: Serial 108 Page 1283 Chapter LXIII. MISCELLANEOUS REPORTS, ETC.

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Opposite side the Chickahominy-

At Forge Bridge................................ 8

At Long Bridge................................. 8

At Bottom's Bridge............................. 8

About one mile from Bottom's Bridge is the

Holcombe Legion of cavalry and two pieces of

artillery, not more than....................... 250

At Charles City Court-House is the Forty-second

Battalion Virginia Cavalry (formerly the Thirty-

second Battalion).............................. 240

At Chaffin's farm, six miles above Drewry's

Bluff, is Hunting's [Hunton's] brigade,

fragments of regiments, not more than an

aggregate of................................... 800

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Aggregate...................................... 1,314

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Aggregate of force between here and Richmond... 1,367

I am certain of the correctness of the foregoing at this date. The plan I propose is this: Send all the cavalry (effective) in this department to this vicinity and organize it into a column for a rapid movement. This can be done without the knowledge of the enemy, if the cavalry can be sent here at night and encamped on an adjacent farm out of sight of the main road. While this is being done I can send out scouting parties of infantry, and by the aid of guides now here nearly if not all the pickets and couriers on this side the Chickahominy can be captured. Taken into consideration by the enemy with recent movements here, this will occasion no alarm. Then let the cavalry column start so as to reach Botton's Bridge at 3 o'clock (a little earlier would perhaps be better) in the morning. That bridge is now standing. If it should be destroyed in the meantime, no matter. We know a ford for cavalry just below it. Once across the stream we have a run of twelve miles. The Holcombe Legion would be surprised and captured or driven pell-mell into Richmond, our cavalry following, running the gauntlet of the works. Past these, we are safe, for they are not inclosed, nor are they auxiliary. The road is not obstructed. This accomplished, the remainder of the work would be easy. The exact locations of the prisons and prisoners are accurately known for our purpose. They would need no material aid from us. The terror which our presence would inspire would enable them to release themselves. The location of the arsenal is known, and also that it contains arms and ammunition enough to place in the hands of such of our men as would be able to bear them. There are officers enough there to organize and command them. Carriages and ambulances could be pressed into service to any extent needed. Whether the city could be pressed not would depend upon circumstances which cannot now be foreseen sufficiently clear to decide. There has not been a time since the war began when the auxiliary force around Richmond was so small as at this time. The city has never been before so entirely helpless for defense. The best troops in the world could scarcely recover from such a surprise as the one proposed in time to make an effectual resistance.

The garrison of Richmond at present is of the most ineffective troops of the so-called Confederacy. They would be overwhelmed completely with the shock of alarm, and the arming and organizing of our friends could be sufficiently advanced to remove all possibility of danger before any force could be gathered to oppose them. I have thought of this thing for more than a year, and have always believed it to be feasible. Now, the known weakness of our force and the activity of our scouting parties here, the feeling of confidence on the part of the enemy and his utter helplessness, all combine to make the moment propitious for striking a terrible blow. I beg of you not to understand that I would make the command of the expedition a condition of giving it my most cordial support. Not at all. I will further it with all the resources of