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701 Series I Volume IV- Serial 4 - Operations in the South and West

Page 701(Official Records Volume 4)  


BETHEL, VA., November 17, 1861.

General S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:

SIR: I beg leave to state that Dr. William S. Morris, president of telegraph company, has failed to send forward the materials and chemicals necessary to keep the telegraph lines in operation which I have constructed with so much labor, and that I have sent Mr. Conner, one of the telegraph operators, to Richmond for the purpose of getting the necessary chemicals, and not having returned, so far as I have learned, I presume Dr. Morris has kept him-also. For the want of these articles the line is seldom in operation between Yorktown and Richmond even.The enemy have advanced 5 miles from Old Point to-day, and have occupied an important position, which he may desire to fortify, but which I do not wish him to do. It is nearly half way between his two position at Old Point and Newport News, he having probably at each of these places troops superior in numbers to my owl. In front of this advanced position there is a narrow but deep and unfordable river; nevertheless, if I can find the means of crossing it and driving away this force by attacking it in flank and rear, I will endeavor to do it, if he attempts to fortify it. I have refused to send the men from this department which Dr. Morris, president of Southern Telegraph Company, requires, as their services are necessary to me, and I hope the War Department will sustain me in it, and cause Dr. Morris to send Mr. Conner back, with the necessary chemicals and wire, forthwith.

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

J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER, Major-General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE PENINSULA, Bethel, Va., November 18, 1861.

Colonel McKINNEY, Broken Bridge, Va.:

SIR: I am instructed by Major-General Magruder to inform you that you will take charge of the column to proceed on the Back River road to-morrow morning, which will be formed and proceed, as usual, to Hudgings' Corner. Two pieces, one rifled and one howitzer, from Hudnall's battery, will go, as usual, instead of the Albermarle Artillery, which went to-day, and the Old Dominion Dragoons will take the lead, and be sent forward as before, when the column halts at Hudgins' Corner. Then Colonel Cobb will be sent to Mrs. Hudgins' with his Legion by the Legion. The balance of the wagons will be loaded with wheat from the fields on the right. In case an advance of the enemy is reported, the wagons will be sent back by the new road and bridge, constructed by Lieutenant McKee, through Winder's and Curtis' farms. Otherwise the column will return, as usual, by the main Back River road. I am further instructed to direct you to draw your rations, including fresh meat, from the commissary at Bethel.

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

HENRY BRYAN, Aide-de-Camp.

NORFOLK, November 18, 1861.

HonorableJ. P. BENJAMIN:

Enemy seeding troop us James River. Embarked at Newport News in steamers. Chartered gunboats., Our stammers in the river should