Today in History:

961 Series I Volume II- Serial 2 - First Manassas


many houses, which the enemy had pillaged the day before, and captured some negroes. We found a most respectable man (Captain Smith) and his family still living on their place, but subject to the threats, annoyances, robberies, and abuses of these unprincipled foes, who threatened their lives, as well as to burn their property, on the ground of their being secessionists. After leaving his house I addressed a letter to Colonel Phelps, in command at Newport News, calling his attention to this improper and uncivilized conduct, and stating to him that it was not to be expected that the courtesy and humanity that had characterized our treatment of those who had fallen into our hands would continue if such conduct on the part of his officers and men was longer tolerated. I am satisfied this savage and cruel course towards individuals is in pursuance of orders from Washington, and in most case s to the disgust of the respectable portion of the officers, who are obliged to carry them out.

I leave Lieutenant-Colonel Dreux, with his battalion, here, and Stanard's battery, with instructions to fortify his flanks and front, and to hold this position. I am in hopes that the demonstration of force made on this road now will rid the inhabitants, at least for a time, of the presence of the enemy.

The traitors in the neighborhood of Fort Monroe, through which we were compelled to march, no doubt communicated the fact as soon as we passed, for about daylight signal-guns were fired from the fort to give warning to Newport News.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


P. S.-I leave for Williamsburg, via Yorktown, to-morrow morning.

Richmond, Va., June 30, 1861.

Brigadier General T. H. HOLMES, C. S. A.,

Commanding, &c., Fredericksburg, Va.:

GENERAL: I have received your letter of the 28th instant,* inclosing the report of Colonel Ruggles, in reference to Mathias Point. You will perceive, by my letter to you in reference to the erection of a battery, which you proposed at Evansport, that the establishment of one at Mathias Point cannot be decided on until you ascertain which point is the most preferable. I have, however, requested three 9-inch columbiads, with their carriages, ammunition, &c., to be forwarded to you, that you may have them in readiness for whichever point may be determined on. While this matter is undecided, I would recommend that you adopt such measures as may be in your power to allay the apprehensions of the enemy as to the occupation by us of either point. Before breaking ground at the point that yo may select for the battery, it will be necessary to have everything in readiness for its speedy construction and a sufficient covering force prepared for its protection. I will endeavor to send you another regiment as soon as one is available, and have to request that you will endeavor to recruit your force from volunteers of the surrounding counties.

Very respectfully,

R. E. LEE,

General, Commanding.


*Not found.