Today in History:

1003 Series I Volume II- Serial 2 - First Manassas


Richmond, Va., July 27, 1861.

Brigadier General T. H. HOLMES,

Commanding at Fredericksburg, Brooke's Station, Va.:

GENERAL: I regret to learn that the proposed construction of the batteries at the mouth of the Rappahannock at this time will interfere with your arrangements. I had hoped it would occupy time that could be thus advantageously used. I have, however, submitted the questions to the President, who, concurring in the general advantages of occupying the Potomac, thinks it more prudent first to shut up the Rappahannock. I shall not enter into the arguments bearing on the questions at this time, as they will no doubt present themselves to you, but will merely state that the latter object is one of defense, not merely of the banks of the river, but of the country to your rear; whereas the former is one of defense, to be entered on as soon as you are ready to oppose the resistance that will be offered by the enemy. I do not think the Rappahannock will occupy you long, if the work is commenced with promptness and prosecuted with vigor. And in this view I recommend that you undertake it with sufficient force to prevent its interruption. After the batteries are placed in a defensive position, your covering force can be withdrawn and left to the garrisons you assign them. A battery of light artillery will be necessary until some of the heavy guns are in position, and one or more good regiments, as you may determine. The garrison of the battery on Cherry Point can be organized from volunteers from the counties north of the Rappahannock. All the arrangements are left to your judgment. As soon as you get these points secure your movable force will be available for the Potomac or other location, where you must be prepared for their resistance, and I shall be prepared to send you every assistance in my power. I hope you will endeavor to close the Rappahannock as soon as possible. A request has been made to the governor of North Carolina to send you a light battery from that State.


R. E. LEE,

General, Commanding.

July 27, 1861.

Major G. B. COSBY,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of Yorktown:

MAJOR: I have the honor to report that I exceeded, in part, the instructions of the general for carrying off the negroes from below Young's and Harrod's Mills yesterday. In order to proceed with the greatest security, I moved my whole command, leaving one hundred men in charge of a sick field officer, with my caissons and transportation at this point. I sent picked men in advance to take such positions that the enemy could not leave Hampton or Newport News without my being duly apprised of it. These men were followed by my cavalry under Lieutenant-Colonel Hood, who was directed to take the Back River road. Lieutenant-Colonel Cumming was stationed at the New Market Bridge, with two howitzers, his own and Major Irby's battalions, and a