Today in History:

965 Series I Volume II- Serial 2 - First Manassas


tended by six of his battalion. I mention these circumstances, as they may be of interest to his friends, should they inquire concerning him at the Adjutant-General's Office.

I received to-night the inclosed letter. It is written by a negro who is perfectly reliable, and whose information has been very correct heretofore. His master, who is on my staff, and who is himself a man of great firmness of character and entirely reliable, believes the statement fully.

I go to Williamsburg to-morrow, and take with me fifteen hundred men. There will be then in and about Williamsburg only thirty-five hundred men, and five thousand here. There should be here at least seven thousand effective men, and at Williamsburg at least five thousand. The ground in front of Williamsburg affords a fine field for the play of guns of great range, and some long-range guns should be placed there if practicable. The place is very weak. There are very few guns, and they are of an inferior character. Altogether its weakness invites attack. I shall write from there to-morrow; but, in the mean time, ask for four more strong regiments, a battery of artillery, 12-pounders preferable, horsed and drilled. If there are no such batteries, then one of light artillery, well mounted and drilled. The road from Williamsburg to Richmond is plain and easy. The landing below is easy, and can be prevented only by the means pointed out by Captain Rives, who presented his views to Colonel Talcott on the subject. These recommendations involve two large guns, one at Spratley's farm on James River, to enfilade the landing, as far as or nearly to Grove Landing, and the other below the Grove, to enfilade it as far as Skiff Creek. Below this it is difficult and tedious, and involves a longer march. I am very uneasy about Williamsburg. If the enemy get that strong position between College and Queen's Creeks, they will fortify it well, will mask their work, and march up to Richmond. Nothing is easier, unless these guns are sent. As to those brought from Gloucester Point to this place, I approve of it, because it was represented by me by Major Randolph (at least I so understood it) that the 9-inch columbiad in question was so placed as to fire up the York River. As the field in front of the old English fort affords a range of mile and a half to two miles, such a gun was necessary here. Another was absolutely necessary to command the apple orchard, which itself commands all the rest of our position; therefore the enemy must not be allowed at any time to fortify it. This place taken, Gloucester Point falls. These are ny convictions. The columbiads were put up in my absence. I respectfully ask to be informed if I shall have them dismounted. I am told there are two columbiads or 32-pounders at West Point not mounted. If so, I would like to have one sent to Gloucester Point. This would save the necessity of dismounting one here. I omitted to mention that I fortified Harrod's Mills, on the York road, and then, on the 6th instant, I brought back the command, with the exception of Major Hood's cavalry and one piece of artillery, which I left with him, and at his request sent the two companies of cavalry just arrived from Ashland to report to him. He has gone down the county to-night to try and surprise some of the enemy. After sending in the troops yesterday, I visited the Poquosin River and laid off, with Captain Meade, positions for batteries on the west side of this river, which I will have fortified if the enemy gives me time. I shall inspect at Gloucester Point to-morrow, and then proceed to Williamsburg, from which place I shall write again. While I shall