Saturday, November 12, 2011

November 13, 1861 (Tuesday): Apprehension on the Potomac

General W. H. C. Whiting

CENTREVILLE, VA., November 13, 1861-10 p. m.
Brigadier General W. H. C. WHITING, near Dumfries, Va.:                                                                     MY DEAR GENERAL: I believe you are nearly correct with regard to your conjecture as to the future movements of the enemy. Those balloon ascensions indicate either offensive or defensive movements, most probably the former. A few days more and we will have this place strong enough to detach a brigade to re-enforce you, i. e., in my opinion, for General J. must decide, and then we could be ready to march a large force to your relief, if you could hold out for one or two days with the assistance of Holmes, who ought to sacrifice, if necessary, some of his minor positions to save Evansport. Have Triplett's and Powhatan Hills been fortified, as had been determined upon; if not, why not? Those and Talbot Hill are the keys of that position; no time ought to be lost in fortifying them, even if it were only for infantry, for if the enemy takes them, how long would the batteries hold out? Not ten minutes! Can you not have it done at once if not already done? I think also the line of the Occoquan to be very important so long as the enemy does not land below it; but where have we the forces to occupy it? We have just lost one of our most important brigades (Jackson's), which has been sent to the valley of Virginia. It would have been worth its with in gold with you at this moment. I cannot approve of withdrawing Evans from Leesburg except for a battle. We cannot afford to lose that important point on our left flank so long as we hold this position. . We are going to construct a large bridge on the Occoquan at Bland's Ford; already a small one for infantry being built there, and will be finished in two three days. I will discuss the whole subject of your letter with General Johnston as soon as practicable, and he will send you instruction for your guidance.
The above are only my own personal views.
Yours, truly,

Official Records, Series. I, Vol. 5, Part 1, Page 951.

The Confederates still held positions along the Potomac in November of 1861.  Here, Beauregard offers his opinions to General Whiting, who commanded the forces at Freestone Point who had come under observation by Lowe’s balloon the previous day.   Jackson’s transfer to the value, which so rankled Johnston, apparently did not meet with Beauregard’s approval either.

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