Today in History:

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

Page 707(Official Records Volume 4)  


RICHMOND, December 6, 1861.

Major-General HUGER, Commanding, &c., Norfolk, Va.:

SIR: The Secretary of War directs that you proceed as fast as possible to erect bomb-proof batteries at Sewell's Pont and at all your other batteries not already provided with such proofs, according to the plan herewith inclosed. He also desires you to report which of your batteries are and which are not now provided with bomb-proofs.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. H. CHILTON, Assistant Adjutant-General.

WILLIAMSBURG, December 7, 11861.

HonorableJ. P .BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

I have received reliable information from Old Point that Yorktown will be attacked without a week by 40,000 troops, by land and water. All told, I have only 11,000 troops on the Peninsula fit for service, and require more troops, if possible. I request that Colonel Armistead's regiment be sent to Gloucester Point, as the citizens in Richmond can guard the prisoners. I have also requested the governor to call out the militia of the counties about Richmond. Heavy re-enforcements of infantry and a large force of cavalry have been landed at Old Point.

J. BANKEHAD MAGRUDER, Major-General, Commanding.

YORKTOWN, December 8, 1861.

HonorableJ. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

I have information from an eye-witness of undoubted reliability that there were 10,000 men on parade at Newport News yesterday and troops were also landed there to-day. As I telegraphed to-day, I have not the slightest doubt of an attack by overwhelming force. They report 40,000 men. I am making the best arrangements I can to receive them, and feel assured that McClellan's plan is to keep an army occupied at Manassas whilst he makes his real attack here. No doubt the heaviest fleet the enemy can possibly bring will also attack us by sea. We have an average of about 50 rounds per gun, which will last us at the longest moot more than five hours. I have had a meeting of most of the colonels to-night, and have taken the line of the Warwick River, which I had previously prepared in some degree, the flanks of the front line being exposed to shipping, and therefore could not be defended without heavy re-enforcements. I think I can arm 1,500 men, if they are sent me, with the muskets of the sick and absentees. Please say if my telegram that Yorktown is to be attacked by 40,000 men by land and water has been received. It comes from a source in every way reliable. Our chances are these: The ships may be beaten off and the land forces of the enemy be defeated, or the ships may succeed and the land forces be defeated. In either case we are safe. If the attack by the ship be on York River or James River, and the lower batteries are passed, the troops for the defense of Williamsburg will proceed immediately to that place. Those to constitute the garrison of YoRktown could not probably hold out long without a sufficient supply of ammunition. The number