War of the Rebellion: Serial 109 Page 0748

Search Civil War Official Records

Page 748

Richmond, August 1, 1863.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:

SIR: During the six month's occupation by General Lee's army last winter and spring of the vicinity of Fredericksburgh it was often found that to transport to it the men, munitions, and supplies which it needed taxed to their utmost capacity the new machinery and depot accommodations in Richmond of both this railroad and the Virginia Central Railroad. The severe and constant use of that machinery, with little or no opportunity for repairs, greatly deteriotared and disabled it, and has since made some of it temporarily or permanently uselles. The brief interval since elapsed and the very great scarcity of mechanics have repairs which otherwise might have been made. And if all the machinery of both companies were in good repair and at the command of this company the want of adequate space and accommodations at the Richmond terminus of this railroad (the first constructed and by very the most contracted in the State) would render it impossible to perform the transportation exclusively on this road and from its depot in Richmond required by such an army. This is no theory, but the practical result of six months' experience. These facts need no comment to demonstrate the present importance-necessity, indeed-of protecting from interruption by the enemy the Virginia Central Railroad not only at its South Anna bridge, but between that point and Richmond, for had it been interrupted and patrially destroyed while General Lee's army was encamped near Fredericksburg, as it was after it had passed into Maryland, it would have forced on General Lee, for want of communication and subsistence, a precipitate retreat to Richmond. To afford this protection it seems absolutely necessary to have some force stationed below Hanower Court-House, where the Central road makes a great bend eastward, and probably near Old Church, Hanover, supported by the expeditionary force posted beyond the North Anna, concerning which I recently wrote to you, as well as by any force which may be posted on the New Kent road or elsewhere astward of Richmond. All these forces from Caroline to New Kent would still constitute a part of the force defending Richmond, and by the railroads, if protected from injury, easily and rapidly concentrated at any desired point, and also kept supplied from the stores sent from Richmond.

Hoping you may be able to secure to these important means of transportaion the security demanded by their importance, I am, sir, with highest respect, your obedient servant,

P. V. DANIEL, Jr.,
President Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad Company.

[First indorsement.]

August 5, 1863.

The best protection that could be afforded has always been given to the railroads and will be continued if possible.



748 CHAP. LXIII.] MD., E. N. C., PA., VA., EXCEPT S. W., & W. VA.

[Second indorsement.] ADJUTANT AND INSPECTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE. August 8, 1863.

Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War.

Assistant Adjutant-General.



With the many regrets at leaving those whom he has commanded for some time and with whom he has been so pleasantly associated for a much longer period, the colonel commanding must at the same time claim the privilege of returning his thanks to the differnt regiments of the brigade and to Hart's battery for the creditable manner in which each one behaved on 1st instant when engaged by a greatly superior force of the enemy at Brandy Station; to the officers for their assistance in handling their respective commands and for their coolness under fire, and to the men for their great bravery in repelling such great odds by the impetuosity of their charges, in which they repeatedly hurled back the proudly advancing columns. The commander desires to express before the brigade his indebtedness to Captain Barker, of General Hampton's brigade, for his great and efficient aid on that occasion. Again he expresses to the brigade feelings of the kindest respect and highest administration, and reaassures them of the reluctance with which he is compelled, by wounds an other circumstances, to sever those ties which are nearest and dearest to a soldier's heart. Farewell is given with the hope and belief that your deservedly high reputation may never be tarnished, and that when we shall have gained our independence it will be a source of pride, as it is now, to say that you belong to Hampton's brigade.

By order of Colonel Baker, commanding brigade:

Lieutenant and Adjutant.


August 2, 1863-8,30 p. m.

[General R. E. LEE:]

GENERAL: I have the honor to reply to your favor of this evening that the heavy pickets on the river-bank make it necessary for the scouts to go so far round as to make their information rather old. I wrote to-day that on Friday Meade's quarters were near Warrenton and his army were disposed partially on the turnpike toward Waterloo, the springs, and along the railroad. Fitz. Lee and Collins both report that at 10 a. m. yesterday there was no move toward Fredericksburg. It is certain, too, that the enemy is well closed up on Warrenton and Warrenton Junction. Nothing toward Salem or Fairfax except a 2,000 (a division), under King, at Centerville. To-day in our immediate front there has been great activity of wagons on the other side. I am waiting now to get the latest indication from the pickets. The wagons appeared to move down below the brigade, a large array of shelter-tents on each side. Five brigades of cavalry maneuvering all day in front of the brigade. I consider it certain that there is a large force about the bridge, and its reconstruction is no doubt going on, though no point could be found from which a view of it could be obtained. There was

Page 748