Richmond, Va., April 21, 1862


General Joseph E. Johnston,

Commanding Army of Northern Virginia:

General: I have just received your letter of the 20th instant, giving the result of your examination of the lines occupied by your army. I regret the defects they exhibit, and trust it may be in your power to remedy them or to assume a position better calculated for your purpose.

Having no knowledge of their character or condition except from report I can offer no suggestions for their improvement, but should be glad to receive your views as to what can best be done under all the circumstances that surround your position, that I may lay them before the President.

The Virginia has not been returned to dock, I am informed, since her last visit to Hampton Roads, but is at the navy-yard having her port shutters adjusted in their places. She is ready for service at any moment. Her commander is Flag-Officer Tatnall. The steamers Patrick Henry, Jamestown, Beaufort, Raleigh, and Teazer, under command of Captain Tucker, are in the mouth of James River.

I have written to-night, that my letter may be ready for your courier in the morning.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

RE Lee,





Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 11, Part 3, p. 452

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 July 26