Headquarters Virginia Forces,

Richmond, Va., May 20, 1861

Lieut. Col. B. S. Ewell, Commanding, &c., Williamsburg, Va.:


Colonel: I have received your letter of the 16th instant, in relation to your visit to Hampton, for the purpose of calling into the service of the State the volunteers from that region. Your report, in reference to affairs at Fort Monroe, is satisfactory, and it is hoped your arrangements for procuring information will be sufficient to secure intelligence of what transpires.

You will give orders to Major Cary, commanding the camp of instruction and observation, to attend rigidly to the instruction and discipline of the troops, to keep a strict watch on all military movements, and to keep you advised. He will endeavor to quiet the apprehension of the citizens, act strictly on the defensive, and be ready at all times to take the field, under such orders as he may receive from you. Four hundred percussion muskets, with a supply of ammunition, have been ordered to King’s Mill for you.

The battery at Yorktown, with those of Gloucester Point and West Point, is under the general charge of Captain Whittle, of the Navy. Major Montague is in command of the troops stationed there for their protection, &c. The troops and operations below Yorktown are under your control and direction. There are no cadets available for duty with you. It is hoped that some young officers, acquainted with military instruction, may be sent you. The general decides, as you will perceive by the inclosed paper, that no question of rank can arise between yourself and Colonel Mallory, who is not on service. You are in command of the Sixty-eighth and One hundred and fifteenth Regiments of Militia, and invested with authority to call out such portions of those regiments as you may judge necessary to support the volunteer force.

I am, &c.,

R E Lee

Major-General, Commanding  


Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 2, p. 859

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2019 March 20