Today in History:

903 Series I Volume II- Serial 2 - First Manassas


I came down, I did not interfere. It is intended to strengthen our left by making works which will require regular approaches, if we have time. When once strongly fortified, I shall always be able to defend this works, at least until an army from the interior can raise the siege by beating the besiegers. We expect to be very strong by the end of this week. While this is going on, abatis will be thrown across many of the roads leading to this place, only two being left open for public use, and defenses will thrown up at all favorable points. The axemen, to make the abatis for exterior defense, go out to-morrow.

I have directed Captain Meade to state how many additional guns he considers necessary for the defenses about to be erected and those now in existence, and how many men will be required to man the various works. I will forward it to the General-in-Chief as soon as made out. I shall be able to supply corn and hay all the cavalry from this part of the country, if wagons can be sent to me. There are very few about here. I have made a requisition for fifty. Instead of waiting for the whole number, I request that as many as can be obtained be sent, with drivers and teams of course. Tents are absolutely necessary for troops acting in the field. The cavalry, with the exception of Douthan's company, have no tents, and the houses here are all occupied. I have directed the assistant quartermaster to-day to get boards from a steam saw-mill about seven miles above this place, with which to build sheds for mules and horses. Requisitions for tents for the Third Virginia Regiment are in the hands of the Quartermaster's Department, and approved, but they have none. Not more than one-third of the force works on the defenses; the rest are drilling. Colonel Ewell has been directed by me to cause the men under his command to work at the defenses instructed to him, and also to employ, or impress, if necessary, as many negroes as he requires for this purpose.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel, Commanding.

Fredericksburg, Va., June 3, 1861.

Colonel R. S. GARNETT, Adjutant-General Virginia Forces:

SIR: I received last evening the General's views respecting my telegram to Governor Letcher of the 31st ultimo. The views expressed are admitted, on general principles, as correct. The General is not probably aware of the return through my office, on the morning in question, if my memory serves me, of the question of Captain Walker for ammunition, made some days previously, without having been filled, on the ground of an omission to state the amount of ammunition on hand. I have been informed also that the General was then absent at Manassas Junction. As I approached the scene of action that morning the firing had become rapid and heavy, and there was reason to believe that a crisis was rapidly approaching. Under these circumstances I wrote the telegram, and instructed a clerk, sent to Fredericksburg for that purpose, to send it to the governor, and also to your office. I had been authorized, on entering on duty, immediately on the secession of the State, to communicate directly with the governor on matters deemed by me of material importance. The effort to sustain our cause and to supply Captain Walker's rifled guns was thus accomplished, enabling me to carry under my personal charge a full supply of ammunition for it upon the field in the midst of the action on Saturday.