Today in History:

970 Series I Volume II- Serial 2 - First Manassas

Page 970 Chapter IX. OPERATIONS IN MD., PA., VA., AND W. VA.

If it is proposed to strengthen us against the attack I suggest as soon to be made, it seems to me that General Beauregard might, with great expedition, furnish five of six thousand men for a few days.

J. E. J.


Williamsburg, Va., July 9, 1861.

Colonel GEORGE DEAS, Assistant Adjutant-General, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: I inspected Gloucester Point yesterday afternoon, and found everything in good order; but am of opinion that more infantry is needed there. The enemy can land within five miles of this place, and bring against it a great force. If the land defenses are carried, the navy or water battery falls into their hands, an this battery, though commanded by that at Yorktown, is far the most effective against shipping. I have written Captain Whittle to send down the two 32-pounders now at West Point and not mounted, and will send one or both to Gloucester howitzer 12-pounder, to assist in defending the land side. I have also to represent that the enemy can approach by the beach on York River in rear of the naval battery, and carry, or rather turn, completely the land defenses. To prevent this, and to properly man the works, there should be sent to Gloucester Point another regiment, with these additions. I think Colonel Crump will hold the place against an immensely superior force. The 32-pounders I have ordered myself, but desire the 12-pounder howitzers and the additional regiment.

The extreme importance of the place, I think, fully justifies this disposition of means, if they can possibly be spared from other places equally exposed, and among these there are none so exposed as Williamsburg. I have collected, however, a considerable number of spades from private persons in Gloucester, and, after having used them to fortify, in some degree, positions of strength below Yourktown, I brought them with me last night, arriving here at 3 o'clock this morning, and turned them over to Colonel McLaws, who commands here. The Second Louisiana Regiment arrived here last night, and is now at work.

I have carefully examined the line of defense, as established before my arrival here, of which the redoubt, which was being erected when Major-General Lee was here, constitutes the center and main work. The line from College to Queen's Creek, indicated in the full distance by Colonel Ewell as being only one and three-quarter miles in length, is represented to me by Captain Rives as being three and a quarter miles long. It cuts the city of Williamsburg at about its center, and it would be necessary to destroy more than half the town in front of it, besides, it would require more work to erect defenses on that line than to render formidable the line in front of it, where the redoubt is already finished. I have therefore decided, with the countenance of Captains Meade and Rives, of Colonel Ewell and Colonel McLaws, to erect four smaller redoubts on the advanced line, and these are now being erected, and rapidly.

I inclose a report of Captains Rives and Meade as to the armament necessary for these works, and beg that the guns and ammunition for the same be sent as soon as possible. The enemy will advance as soon as he is prepared, and that will probably be soon. I ask for the smallest means, to enable me to defend this line with any reasonable certainty of success. The field guns ought to be furnished with horses

Page 970 Chapter IX. OPERATIONS IN MD., PA., VA., AND W. VA.