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Richmond, Va., March 29, 1862

Maj. Gen. J. B. Magruder,

Commanding, &c., Yorktown, Va.:

General: Your letter of the 28th, relative to the promise of the Secretary of War to send you an unarmed regiment of 1,000 men and the arrival at Yorktown of the two Alabama regiments, has been received. These were the only troops which were here and available. I am fully alive to the importance of increasing your command, and all that is possible is being done in this way. General Wilcox’s brigade leaves City Point to-day for the Peninsula to join you. As regards the brigade of General Colston, it was not intended that he should move until there was positive evidence that the intention of the enemy was to attack you in force. Full instructions to that effect have been forwarded to him. You are desired to keep him fully advised as to the movements and probable designs of the enemy. A steamer for the necessary transportation has been placed at Stone House Wharf, subject to the orders of General Colston.

The enemy is pressing us on all sides, and a call for re-enforcements comes from every department. It is impossible to place at every point which is threatened a force which shall prove equal to every emergency. As yet the design of the enemy in your front is somewhat vague and undecided. The movement against you may be a feint, and the real attack may be on Norfolk. When it is unmistakably ascertained that he shall attempt to force his way up the Peninsula every exertion shall be made to enable you successfully to resist and drive him.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R E Lee,

General, Commanding  




Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 11, Part 3, p. 412

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 April 18