Today in History:

829 Series I Volume II- Serial 2 - First Manassas


spired with proper zeal, and you will have only toward and direct it. As regards the water defenses, you are desired to consult freely with the naval officers charged with that subject, and give them all the aid in your power. Your operations will be strictly defensive.

Respectfully, &c.,

R. E. LEE,

Major-General, Commanding.

Richmond, Va., May 10, 1861.

Lieutenant Colonel D. A. LANGHORNE, Virginia Volunteers, Lynchburg, Va.:

SIR: The number of troops from Virginia now assembling at Lynchburg may become so large as to render it inconvenient for you to provide for them. You are therefore authorized to order to report to Colonel Cocke, at Culpeper Court-House, such companies from the counties of Campbell, Bedford, Roanoke, Botetourt, and Craig as may be organized and able to move, and to this city such from the remaining counties of your district as are similarly situated. Report these instructions to Colonel Early on his arrival.

I am, sir, &c.,



Gloucester Point, May 10 [?], 1861-9.30 a. m.

Colonel J. B. MAGRUDER:

SIR: Yesterday, about 1 o'clock p. m., an armed steamer approached our battery, coming within the range of two or three miles. We sprang to our guns, and were ready for action as soon as it was manifest that the steamer was coming up the river. We all expected an attack, but she turned and proceeded down the river, and dropped anchor near its mouth. Another ship or steamer was also in the distance. During the night there was a vigilant lookout. This morning four ships or steamers passed beyond the first steamer, proceeding rapidly from north to south. About 8 o'clock this morning the attacking steamer weighed anchor and left the river. You can draw your own conclusions as well as I can of the purpose of the enemy.

I regard this point as next in importance to Fortress Monroe. I hope I may say that I am acquainted at least with the commercial wants of the State. It is, in my opinion, invaluable, both for military defense and the commercial necessities of the State. Let its importance not be underrated. This point properly secured, and no effectual blockade can continue; no ships can pass up York River; no attack can be made on Richmond, except by long land marches. If you could see the place, you would be satisfied of its great importance. To allow it to be lost would be a fatal error. The force here, consisting entirely of volunteers, are prepared to defend it to the last extremity. They are perfectly aware of the strangeness and peril of their situation, but though "there is plenty of danger, there is no fear". But if I am correct in regard to the importance of retaining this position, though the necessities of the State would not permit more men to be sent for the support of the few here, yet that force should be promptly sent for the protection of the present and future fortifications here. Blind as