OPERATIONS IN N. C. AND S. E. VA. [CHAP.XIII.
Eastern Shore of Virginia, giving the amount of infantry and cavalry in that country at 800 volunteers, eight pieces of field artillery, which can be furnished with horses, and about 1,000 or 1,200 fighting men of all ages, who can be variously armed.
I learn also that there are six 32-pounders at Gloucester Point, en route for the Eastern Shore. Colonel Smith, the commanding officer there, calls upon me for re-enforcements, stating that there are from 3,000 to 5,000 of the enemy near the Maryland line, I presume awaiting re-enforcements. I have answered him that I have neither the re-enforcements nor the means of sending them if I had, the only steamer, the Logan, within my command being broken down and not likely to be repaired for some weeks. I advised him to attack the enemy as soon as he crossed the line with all the force he had.
All this has no doubt been represented to the War Department, but as these counties have not been attacked to my command, I am without information as to the line of policy adopted at Richmond in respect to them.
While I sympathize deeply with the inhabitants of these counties from their present extreme peril, I am nevertheless of the opinion that it is impossible to prevent the enemy overrunning them, and that the present is the best opportunity to withdraw the troops and munitions of war from that region. The political question, however, is one for the Government and not for me, and upon that subject I offer no opinion.
I have the utmost confidence in the gallantry of these citizens, and from an interview with Colonel Smith, the commanding officer, I am favorably impressed with his ability.
Should an action take place at present between the forces opposite each other, I entertain a strong hope that a victory on our side will be the result, and that the enemy thus repulsed might find such other occupation for his arms as would relieve this region from further molestation.
In the mean time, if the Government considers me in any manner in command of the troops on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, I shall be happy to receive instructions.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER, Major-General, Commanding.
SPECIAL ORDERS, } ADJT. AND INSP'S GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 224. } Richmond, Va., November 16, 1861.
* * * *
VI. Brigadier General L. O'B. Branch, Provisional Army, will relieve Brigadier-General Hill in command of district in North Carolina. Brigadier-General Hill, Provisional Army, is assigned to the command of the North Carolina brigade in the Potomac District, and will immediately repair to Contreville and report to General J. E. Johnston, commanding the Department of North Virginia.
* * * *
By command of the Secretary of War:
JNO. WITHERS, Assistant Adjutant-General.