Today in History:

977 Series I Volume II- Serial 2 - First Manassas


ing everything behind me in such condition as would cause my absence to be injuriously felt.

I will not weary you with details of delay and mismanagement, but I could not permit you to suppose that I had allowed any rule to stand in the way of the one great object of giving to our columns capacity to take the offensive and prevent the junction of the enemy's forces. I recollect Captain Pendleton well, and when we were all younger esteemed him highly as a soldier and a gentleman. I some days since directed that he should have rank as a colonel and be put in command of the batteries of your army. General Lee's attention has been called to your remarks about intrenching tools and the muskets which had been promised. He will endeavor to supply your wants. I realize the difficulty to which you refer of a retreat, and feel that it would expose Virginia to temporary, if not permanent, disintegration; it is therefore only to be contemplated as a necessity, and the evil consequences only to be repaired by such a vigorous attack upon the enemy east of the mountains as would drive them across the Potomac, and, by threatening the capital, to compel the withdrawal of Patterson within the strong intrenchments from Alexandria to Arlington Heights; the results would certainly by doubtful, and if it failed nothing would remain to prevent the enemy from occupying the valley and cutting off the communication between our army and Richmond. I have therefore resorted to a call for the militia in all the counties north of James River from the Alleghany to the Atlantic. If they come with promptitude and spirit and the sixteen regiments which I hope for from the cotton States should arrive in time, we may yet drive the invaders from Virginia and teach our insolent foe some lesions which will incline him to seek for a speedy peace. I need not assure you that my confidence and interest in you both as an officer and as a friend cause me to turn constantly to your position with deepest solicitude.

I recollect but imperfectly the country about Winchester, and have feared that the position had but little natural strength if the enemy can turn it. He will not hazard an attack upon your intrenchments if he has the little sagacity which would be necessary to show him the advantage of pressing to the rear to seize the Manassas Railroad, and occupy the strong places in the mountains through which it passes.*

* * * * * * *

Very truly, your friend,


Jamestown Island, Va., July 13, 1861.

[General R. E. LEE:]

SIR: After a careful examination of the defense here, I have directed the immediate erection of a redoubt for two guns at the eastern point of this island, so as to prevent a landing there and to defend the mouth of the creek, as well as to sweep the space between the redoubt, half way down the island, and that about to be erected at the point. In addition to this, the battery about to be erected will afford assistance to that on Spratley's farm, so as to prevent a landing, if possible, on the beach on the mainland, between the mouth of the creek and King's Mill. To furnish the work at the point with guns, I have directed the withdrawal of two of the four heavy guns now in the square redoubt in the middle of the island, leaving there two heavy guns, which will


*Remainder of private and personal nature.