Richmond, Va., April 7, 1862


General B. Huger,

Commanding Department, Norfolk, Va.:

My Dear General: It appears from the maps in my possession that the Nansemond River is defended by a number of small batteries scattered along its banks, erected from time to time to meet the emergency then existing. Singly these batteries are weak against a serious naval attack, and are more or less, liable to be taken and destroyed by a sudden night attack by land. I think it would be better, if practicable, to collect the guns from these scattered batteries and place them in position at some point where they can be concentrated on an obstruction in the channel of the river. A position at or near Town Point seems to be a suitable one; and if so, under this view, the guns from Cedar Point (Page’s battery), and perhaps Pig Point and Barrett’s Neck batteries, might be dispensed with and the main defense made at Town Point or any other position you may select. Of course the guns should not be removed from their present positions until the works are ready to receive them at the new position selected. My information on the subject is so meager that I do not pretend to advise, nor even to suggest, but merely to call the matter to your personal attention.

It would be a relief to know your views on the subject, your plans, and how far they have been carried out; for without such knowledge I can neither satisfy my own mind nor answer the numerous questions propounded to me.

I am, &c., your obedient servant,

R E Lee,

General, Commanding




Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 11, Part 3, pp. 425-426

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 July 18