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[523] road from Richmond to Fredericksburg would not only be in position to cutoff any advance from the Peninsula, but also to defend the city itself. If a force of infantry was posted at Fredericksburg, it could put such works across the Northern Neck that Kilpatrick could not get by without very great assistance from Meade. Perhaps, too, a battery on the lower Rappahannock might be of great service in preventing transports from approaching Urbanna. I advise that scouts should be sent from my command to obtain reliable information of the movements of the enemy at Gloucester and Yorktown.

The boats on the Pamunkey and the Mattapony should be removed. Whilst at Tunstall's Station I made a reconnoissance of the positions there and up to Hanover Courthouse. The Mattadaquire Creek can be forded only at two places with artillery—one, the lower ford, near Hampstead, Mrs. Webb's place, where the ground is very defensible, and the other at Rowland's Mill, the dam of which is now broken. If this dam is repaired, a large inundation would be formed, preventing any crossing for some distance up. There is an intermediate ford which can be used only by horsemen, and which, I am told, can be easily blockaded. I have not availed myself of my leave of absence, as the weather has been so favorable for the movements of troops; and if my presence here is longer necessary, I will cheerfully forego my visit home. I beg you will let me know what disposition, if any, you have made for the proposed relief of Butler's brigade, and what orders have been given to General Rosser. I forward General Young's report as to the recent crossing of the enemy at Ely's Ford. From this it appears that no blame can be attached to the officer commanding the pickets, but the line of pickets and couriers seems to have been defective. I shall give such instructions as will guard against the recurrence of a similar unfortunate affair. I make the suggestions contained in this letter merely to bring them to your attention, and if you think them of any value, you can communicate them to the General Commanding, or can make whatever use of them you think best.

I am, very respectfully yours,

Wade Hampton, Major-General. Major General Stuart, Commanding Cavalry.

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W. Gourdin Young (1)
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