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Correspondence and orders concerning the army of Northern Virginia.

Headquarters, Richmond, Va., May 30, 1862.
General Joseph E. Johnston, Commanding, &c. :
General,--I went as far to-day as your pickets at the bridges on the Chickahominy, where the telegraph road and the old stage road cross that river. Lieutenant-Colonel Walker, commanding at those points, informed me that he had a skirmish last evening at the latter point, [273] called Halfsink, with the enemy's cavalry. This morning he ascertained by his skirmishers that the enemy had disappeared and that nothing had been seen of them to-day. Captain Fox, who represented himself as a scout, and who I found had come into the cavalry pickets on the telegraph road beyond the Chickahominy, stated that the enemy had retired from Atlee's and was nowhere west of the railroad in that vicinity. Dr. Fontaine, of the Fourth Virginia Cavalry, stated to me that he was last night as high up as Hanover Courthouse and that he saw and heard nothing of them in the region west of the road from Ashland to that point. He also reported that there was no enemy on the stage road from Fredericksburg this side of Gouldin's, eighteen miles south of Fredericksburg. It was reported by citizens that there was a force of the enemy marching by the Amelia road, but of that he knows nothing. I think it probable, from what I learned to-day, that the enemy, being satisfied with temporarily breaking up our railroad communication north, have withdrawn east of these roads, with a view, probably, of concentrating his force nearer Richmond.

I omitted to mention in the statement of Captain Fox that he met a citizen of his acquaintance who had been seeking the restoration of some property, and was referred by the parties to whom he applied to General McClellan, who was stated to be at a point four miles from Atlee's, on the road leading from Richmond to Pamunkey. He inferred that the main body of his forces was in that vicinity. You may probably have received more accurate accounts of the position of the enemy from your scouts.

I have the honor to be your obedient servant,

R. E. Lee, General.

Headquarters Department of Northern Virginia, May 30, 1862--8.40 P. M.
Major-General Huger:
General,--The reports of Major-General D. H. Hill give me the impression that the enemy is in considerable strength in his front. It seems to me necessary that we should increase our force also. For that object I wish to concentrate the troops of your division on the Charles City road, and concentrate the troops of Major-General Hill on that to Williamsburg. To do this it will be necessary for you to move as early in the morning as possible to relieve the brigade of General Hill's division now on the Charles City road. I have desired General Hill to send you a guide. The road is the second large one diverging to the [274] right from the Williamsburg road; the first turns off near the toll-gate. On reaching your position on the Charles City road, learn at once the routes to the main roads to Richmond on your right and left, especially those to the left, and try to find guides. Be ready, if an action should be begun on your left, to fall upon the enemy's left flank.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. E. Johnston, General.
P. S.--It is important to move very early.

J. E. J.

Headquarters Department of Northern Virginia, May 31, 1862.
Major-General Huger:
General,--I fear that in my note of last evening, of which there is no copy, I was too positive on the subject of your attacking the enemy's left flank. It will, of course, be necessary for you to know what force is before you first. I hope to be able to have that ascertained for you by cavalry. As our main force will be on your left, it will be necessary for your progress to the front to conform at first to that of General Hill. If you find no strong body in your front, it will be well to aid General Hill; but then a strong reserve should be retained to cover our right.

Yours, truly,

J. E. Johnston, General.

Headquarters right wing, Fairfield Course, Virginia, May 30, 1862.
Major T. G. Rhett, Assistant Adjutant-General:
Sir,--I have the honor to draw the attention of the Commanding-General to the great extent of my line, reaching from New bridge on my right, to one mile to the left of the Meadow bridges. The protection of this line was necessarily incumbent upon my troops, even so far as beyond Brook Run, until General A. P. Hill took possession on my left. I have a regiment stationed beyond Brook Run, with which the rest of my command find some difficulty in communicating. I therefore desire to have that regiment replaced by one from General Hill's division, which is nearer, and can communicate with it much more readily than I can. I deem it necessary to mention that even after this [275] change, in consequence of the extent of my line, it may be broken by a vigorous assault from the enemy.

I am, Sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. B. Magruder, Major-General Commanding.
P. S.--I do not anticipate this at present, but only wish the Commanding-General to have it in mind.

J. B. M.

Special Orders, No. 22.

I. In pursuance of the orders of the President, General R. E. Lee assumes command of the armies of Eastern Virginia and North Carolina.

The unfortunate casualty that has deprived the army in front of Richmond of the valuable services of its able General, is not more deeply deplored by any member of his command than by its present commander. He hopes his absence will be but temporary, and while he will endeavor, to the best of his ability, to perform his duties, he feels he will be totally inadequate to the task unless he shall receive the cordial support of every officer and man.

The presence of the enemy in front of the capital, the great interests involved, and the existence of all that is dear to us, appeal in terms too strong to be unheard, and he feels assured that every man has resolved to maintain the ancient fame of the Army of Northern Virginia and the reputation of its General, and to conquer or die in the approaching contest.

II. Commanders of divisions and brigades will take every precaution and use every means in their power to have their commands in readiness at all times for immediate action; they will be careful to preserve their men as much as possible, that they may be fresh when called upon for active service. All surplus baggage, broken-down wagons, horses and mules, and everything that may embarrass the prompt and speedy movement of the army, will be turned into depot. Only sufficient transportation will be retained for carrying the necessary cooking utensils, and such tents and tent-flies as are indispensable to the comfort and protection of the troops.

By order of General Lee.

W. H. Taylor, Assistant Adjutant-General.


Richmond, Virginia, June 1, 1862.
Hon. G. W. Randolph, Secretary of War:
Sir,--I informed General Lee yesterday that Captain Lee, in command of naval forces at Drewry's Bluff, reported to me that the supporting force to his battery had been withdrawn, with the exception of about three hundred troops, and that a land force was necessary to protect his handfull of seamen who man the batteries.

Inclosed herewith I hand you Captain Lee's dispatch of this evening, announcing the ascent of the river by iron vessels of the enemy, and the landing of troops from his transports, seven miles below the battery. Unless troops are immediately sent down the batteries may be carried by a small land force, and I suggest that a sufficient force be sent at once. The steamers at Rockets will transport them.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. R. Mallory, Secretary of the Navy.

Headquarters, Richmond, Virginia, June 1, 1862.
Colonel E. F. Keen, Commanding Fifth Regiment Virginia Volunteers, Drewry's Bluff:
Colonel,--Your telegram of yesterday has been received. General Lee directs me to say to you that the command of the troops at Drewry's Bluff having devolved upon you, you will take all the necessary steps for protecting the defenses on the river. You will guard carefully all the approaches towards the batteries from the direction of City Point, sending forward your pickets on all the roads leading in that direction, with instructions to watch carefully the movements of the enemy, and report any appearance of an advance. You will oppose to the last extremity any attempt upon your position. You will report promptly any movement of the enemy. There is a brigade of General Holmes's command at Petersburg. You will endeavor to keep a system of communication with this force, as there is a material dependence upon yours and this force.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. L. Long, Colonel and Military Secretary.

General,--In reply to your letter of the 28th ultimo, I am directed [277] by General Lee to say that under all the circumstances it would appear that the dispositions which you have ordered are the best that could be made to meet the present emergency. He hopes that you will be enabled by energy and perseverance to make up for the small means at your command, and in a short while to gather a considerable force from the country in which you are operating.

As regards the infantry force from General Ed. Johnson's army to which you allude, the General suggests that you correspond with the officer in command in reference to any movement or cooperation which you think advisable, and which would not jeopardize the safety of that line.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. H. Taylor, Assistant Adjutant-General.

If you have not left Petersburg, proceed at once with your entire force to Drewry's Bluff. Reply immediately, and state the number of your troops.

G. W. Randolph, Secretary of War.

Petersburg, Virginia, June 1, 1862.
Hon. G. W. Randolph, Secretary of War:
Your dispatch to General Walker is received. He went to Richmond this morning with his brigade. I have left me here not more than four hundred well men, and they are very indifferently armed. I arrived here but a few hours ago.

R. Ransom, Brigadier-General, Commanding Department of Appomattox.

Drewry's Bluff, Virginia, June 1, 1862.
S. R. Mallory, Secretary of the Navy, Richmond, Virginia:
Reported four transports landing troops at Howlett's Landing, seven miles below, and two gunboats coming up, firing occasionally to clear the banks. We have only a small force to prevent them from outflanking us. I do not know who commands the forces outside.

S. S. Lee, Captain, Commanding.


Petersburg, Virginia, June 1, 1862.
Hon. G W. Randolph, Secretary of War:
Two gunboats and one transport passed our pickets at Giles's Landing, on James River, at 12 M. on their way up the river. No particulars.

Your obedient servant,

James F. Milligan, Captain and Signal Officer.

The Thirtieth Virginia left here at 10 P. M., and the Forty-eighth Georgia at 11. A train has also [been] ordered, as I understand, to take up the Arkansas regiment of Colonel Manning at Port Walthall Junction. These troops could be stopped in Richmond and ordered back to Half-Way Station, thence take the line of march for Drewry's Bluff.

Richmond, Virginia, June 2, 1862.
Senior Officer at Drewry's Bluff, Va.:
We have just heard from Petersburg that seven or nine gunboats and six transports, with barges in tow, passed up James river since sunrise. Reinforcements are on their way to join you.

G. W. Randolph, Secretary of War.

Adjutant and Inspector General's office, Richmond, Virginia, June 2, 1862.
Special Orders, No. 126.

* * * * * * * *

II. By direction of the President General Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army, will assume the immediate command of the armies in eastern Virginia and North Carolina.

* * * * * * * *

By command of the Secretary of War.

John Withers, Assistant Adjutant General.

Headquarters, Dabb's house Virginia, June 3, 1862.
Major W. H. Stevens, Chief Engineer Army of Northern Virginia:
Major,--I desire you to make an examination of the country in the [279] vicinity of the line which our army now occupies, with a view of ascertaining the best position in which we may fight a battle or resist the advance of the enemy. The commanding points on this line I desire to be prepared for occupation by our field guns, and the whole line strengthened by such artificial defenses as time and opportunity may permit. My object is to make use of every means in our power to strengthen ourselves and to enable us to fight the enemy to the best advantage. It is not intended to construct a continuous line of defense or to erect extensive works. Having selected the line and put the works in progress of construction, I desire you to resume the examination and see what other positions can be taken nearer Richmond in case of necessity. You will please make requisitions upon the commanders of divisions in the vicinity of the works to be constructed for such working parties as may be necessary. You must also make arrangements to collect such tools as may be with the army, and I have to request that you will push forward the work with the utmost diligence.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. Lee, General.

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