Today in History:

893 Series I Volume II- Serial 2 - First Manassas


Yorktown, Va., May 29, 1861.

Colonel R. S. GARNETT,

Adjutant-General Virginia Forces:

SIR: I sent to Hampton for the two pieces left by Major Cary's command, and succeeded in bringing them up. I sent last night a detachment of light artillery, acting as cavalry, to bring up some spades, shovels, &c., with a large quantity of rope, &c. They have arrived. I hope to be able to leave here to-morrow, with some cavalry and light artillery, to protect the people near Hampton at least, and would like to take down my command of infantry, except three companies of the Virginia battalion, if I thought that troops from Richmond could be sent to Williamsburg, and between that place and this. I do not like to leave Yorktown exposed to be taken from Grove Landing. I am anxious to attack, to make the enemy stay within his own immediate neighborhood. Lieutenant Thornton, who is now sick, is my acting assistant adjutant-general. He has had no experience. I have nobody but my nephew, Mr. Magruder, who is a citizen, and Mr. Stanard, who is a private. Captain Lambert, assistant quartermaster, is at Williamsburg, where a quartermaster ought to be stationed. I must have an efficient one here. The whole of my time nearly is occupied in doing other people's duties. I merely speak of this, as it prevents me from being as useful as i desire. I think that Lieutenant-Colonel Johnson, if he could be spared, would be of great service here.

There is corn and long forage enough in the lower part of the peninsula and about here for one thousand horses, as I am informed by Major Cary, Virginia volunteers. He knows the country. The defenses here and at Williamsburg and vicinity are progressing rapidly.

More troops are necessary at Williamsburg, and between that place and this, or rather facing Grove Landing. All the property of the citizens near Hampton, except that of Union men, will fall into the hands of the enemy, except also that which I can cause to be saved. To-day, for the first time, I have had the use of cavalry. Captain Douthat marched forty-seven miles yesterday, and joined me last night at 11 o'clock. I sent him to-night near Hampton, with Captain Brown's artillery, to protect the people, save their property, and, if possible, to cut off some of the enemy. The number of Federal troops at Newport News is probably between five and ten thousand, as they were landing troops from Monday, perhaps half the daylight, till after dark on Tuesday. There are no vessels there this morning. I do not think there are more than five thousand men at the most. I shall probably go down in person to-night or to-morrow morning.

This place has been most carefully examined by me as to its capabilities of defense, at a distance or near, and I am satisfied that it cannot be taken by any number of men that can be brought against it, if it is properly intrenched and defended by a sufficient number of men; that is, as long as the mouth of the river is secured by the batteries on this side and on Gloucester Point, which I think will be the case when all the guns are in position that are contemplated. There are here, of all arms, two thousand five hundred and four officers and men. I left Colonel August's regiment at Williamsburg because I saw that it (Williamsburg) was unprotected. Two regiments of infantry, in addition to the present force, would make this place I think perfectly safe. Since I last wrote, it has been greatly strengthened. Two regiments of infantry, more if possible, should be sent to Williamsburg. I have invited the magistrates of the adjacent counties to meet me here this afternoon, at 5 o'clock, to have all the wagons in the counties collected, and to be