Today in History:

830 Series I Volume II- Serial 2 - First Manassas

Page 830 OPERATIONS IN MD., PA., VA., AND W. VA. Chapter IX.

Lincoln and Cabinet appear to be, they must see the importance of taking this place. A land attack by a large force would probably do this. We would dispute every inch of ground with them; but however valiant our defense, it would not repay the loss of this place. I believe it can be easily defended from a land attack. Access from our rear is over ground perfectly level, and mostly open. The enemy must march through a space not over i mile or mile and a half wide. Defend this by a rude fort of logs even, and it would greatly contribute to our defense. It will require a much larger force to do this. But the plateau in the rear of this is the most beautiful as well as extensive field for drill I have even seen. A brigade could well maneuver upon it. Send down, therefore, some of your raw troops of infantry, and let a school of instruction be placed here.

The Federal troops may land below, but they must pass through the level interval or over Sarah's Creek. They cannot pass Sarah's Creek without boats, and its defense is very easy. I have not time to say more.

Please submit this to General Lee and the governor and council. Let the public not hear of it till the plan is executed.

Excuse haste and the excitement of a camp life, and the errors of composition produced by constant interruptions and camp tables.

Respectfully, yours,


Captain, &c.

Richmond, Va., May 11, 1861.

Major R. M. BOYKIN, JR., Grafton, Va.:

MAJOR: Your letter of the 7th has just been received, and I regret to learn that the prospect of assembling the Virginia forces at Grafton is so unfavorable. You must persevere, however, and call out companies from the well-affected counties, and march them to Grafton, or such other point in that vicinity as you may select. Four hundred rifles and some ammunition have been ordered from Staunton to Major Goff, Virginia Volunteers, at Beverly, Randolph County, who has been directed to communicate their arrival to Colonel Porterfield, and take his directions as to their disposition. You can by this means arm certain companies and prepare them for service, preparatory to receiving those from Harper's Ferry. I do not think it prudent to order companies from other parts of the State to Grafton, as it might irritate, instead of conciliating the population of that region. On Colonel Porterfield's arrival at Grafton communicate this letter to him.

Very respectfully, &c.,

R. E. LEE,

Major-General, Commanding.

P. S.- Major Goff has been directed to assemble troops in his vicinity for the protection of the arms and their safe conveyance to the point required.

Richmond, Va., May 11, 1861.

B. M. JONES, Esq., Danville, Va.:

SIR: I am instructed by Major-General Lee to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of May 9, respecting the construction of a railroad

Page 830 OPERATIONS IN MD., PA., VA., AND W. VA. Chapter IX.