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

Page 704(Official Records Volume 4)  


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE PENINSULA, Yorktown, November 26, 1861.

His Excellency JOHN LETCHER, Governor of Virginia:

SIR: I think Matthews and Glucester will certainly be attacked very soon. I am informed of it through gentlemen who have left the Eastern Shore, and have heard the fact stated by the enemy. I have no doubt of it. There were six 32-pounders here on their way to the Eastern Shore of Virginia. They are of 45,000 pounds' weight, and are the very pieces to be put in position at once on the coast of Matthews and Gloucester. Captain Page, of the navy, has been ordered to send them back to Richmond by the Navy Department. Three were shipped yesterday and three to-day. Please see the Secretaries of War and Navy,m and get them ordered back without delay. An inspection of the map will show you what disastrous consequences must follow their invasion, if successful, both to the people of that region and the operations of the Army of the Peninsula. There are but few men on the Gloucester side of York, and none can be spared from here. Something must be done at once or it may be too late. I shall order out all the negroes that may be necessary at once to build works, but must have the cannon, if possible. I have not been able to get the guns or the promise of them before; therefore did not think to right to take the hands form their owners to construct works which without guns would be useless. I am now in hopes that the immediate vicinity of the enemy may induce those in their return to Richmond. Please ask them to send me also as many artillery companies, with or without guns, as can be sent, and at least four regiments of infantry-all that you can get. I write the substance of the above by telegraph.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER, Major-General, Commanding.


EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, November 28, 1861.

This letter, received to-night, is respectfully referred to the consideration of the honorable Secretary of War. The letter is so earnest in its language, that I lose no time in laying it before you.

I am, truly,


YORKTOWN, November 26, 1861.

His Excellency JOHN LETCHER, Governor:

Please ask the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy to cause the order to Captain Page, of the Navy, to send back to six 42-pounder guns intended originally for the Eastern Shore of Virginia to be countermanded, and these guns ordered to be used for the defense of Gloucester and Matthews. These guns are now at West Point, en route to Richmond. Ask for four companies of artillery, with or without pieces; also, if possible, four regiments of artillery-as many as you can get.

J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER, Major-General, Commanding.