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Richmond, Va., March 22, 1862


General J. B. Magruder,

Commanding, &c., Yorktown, Va.:



I have received your letter of the 20th instant, and having to start to North Carolina to-morrow morning have but little time to reply.

The fleet in the Roads which you refer to has gone to sea, as I am informed, for the purpose probably of re-enforcing Burnside’s or one of the other expeditions against the Southern coast. This will relieve you of immediate apprehension from this source.

With regard to obstructing the river, of course the lower down the better. This is now being done at Drewry’s Bluff, some 7 or 8 miles below this city. It has no relation to your operations, however, but was commenced to meet the emergency occasioned by the appearance of the Monitor in Hampton Roads. An arrangement has been made to allow our vessels to pass the obstructions. Upon inquiry I am told that a sufficient number of hulks cannot be obtained to obstruct the river at any point without too seriously interfering with the supplies of your army and of this city.

A system of piling has been arranged by Captain Rives which promises to answer at least as good a purpose, and I will cause his immediate attention to be called to the question of obstructions at Jamestown Island or at such other point as in your opinion may be considered best.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R E Lee





Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 11, Part 3, p. 391

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 June 13