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 Research ACW US War Dept. Official Records HTML Ser. I, Vol. 9, Ch. XX–Confederate Correspondence.

THE
WAR OF THE REBELLION:
A COMPILATION OF THE
OFFICIAL RECORDS
OF THE
UNION AND CONFEDERATE ARMIES.

CHAPTER XX.
OPERATIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA.
January 11-August 20, 1862.
(Roanoke Island)
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CONFEDERATE CORRESPONDENCE.

{p.418}

CONFEDERATE CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

HEADQUARTERS FORCES ON ROANOKE ISLAND, Camp Raleigh, January 8, 1862.

Brig. Gen. HENRY A. WISE, Commanding District of the Albemarle:

GENERAL: In compliance with your special order, I have the honor to submit the following report upon the defenses of this island, quantity of provisions and ammunition on hand, strength of this command, &c.

The defenses of Croatan Sound consist of four batteries, mounting in the aggregate thirty guns, all 32-pounders, as follows: At Weir’s Point (Fort Huger), ten smooth-bore and two rifled guns; at Fort Blanchard, four smooth-bore guns; at Pork Point (Fort Bartow), six smooth-bore and one rifled gun; at Red Stone Point (Fort Forrest), seven smoothbore guns. There is another battery on the Tyrrel side of Croatan Sound, at Roberts’ Fishery, already completed, but no guns have been mounted, General Hill having ordered a discontinuation of the work. Its capacity is six barbette guns. The two 32-pounders now lying on the beach at Weir’s Point will, agreeably to your orders, be mounted as soon as possible. Upon Roanoke Sound there is a small battery of two smooth-bore 32-pounders at Midgett’s Hommock. The battery at Pork Point ought by all means to be strengthened by the addition of two pivot mounted guns.

Orders have been given for the construction of bomb-proof quarters for the detachment at Fort Blanchard, but up to this time lumber ordered for that purpose has not been received. Quarters should be constructed in the immediate vicinity of Fort Huger for the accommodation of at least one of the companies by which the guns at that battery are manned. There ought also to be built at Fort Forrest quarters not only for the company already there, but for another company necessary at that fort. Most of the guns require sights; nearly all of them have nothing but the dispart sights, which I believe is very unreliable especially in the hands of inexperienced gunners. I submit that it is very necessary that the most improved sights be obtained at once, and, if needful, an expert artisan sent at once to adjust them.

Of light artillery there are three pieces at this post, one 24-pounder howitzer, one 18-pounder Mexican piece, and one 6-pounder; the latter brought to this place from Elizabeth City, N. C. These pieces are all mounted on carriages, with limbers, but no caissons. For operations upon this island I am not sure that caissons are necessary.

Ammunition on hand.-Three hundred and eighty-seven charges for 32-pounder guns, 1,300 rounds shot, 250 rifle shell, 300 match primers, 83 rounds fixed ammunition (24-pounder howitzers), 1 box percussion wafers, 150 port-fires, 98 rounds 6-pounder shot (1,000 rounds obtained from Elizabeth City, N. C.), 250 pounds powder, 315 stand grape (32), 2,000 friction primers, 500 percussion primers, 150 junk wads, 400 gromet wads, 98 canister (6-pounder), 28 spherical-case shot, 10 slow matches.

Ammunition for small-arms.-Fifty-two thousand one hundred and fifty-seven ball cartridges for percussion (16,578 ball cartridges issued), 17,183 ball cartridges for flint and steel, 3,320 balls, 150 pounds lead, 5,500 (about) percussion caps.

Quantity of provisions on hand.-Thirteen thousand six hundred and eighty-two pounds bacon and pork, 3,420 pounds beef, 598 pounds lard, 3,692 pounds rice, 649 pounds coffee, 1,570 pounds candles, 12 1/2 bushels {p.419} salt, 1 barrel fish, 20 barrels and 2,158 pounds hard bread, 265 barrels flour, 10,554 pounds meal, 54 1/2 bushels pease and beans, 3,082 pounds sugar, 460 gallons vinegar, 1,348 pounds soap, 58 gallons whisky, 5 bushels yapon [a kind of wild tea].

Aggregate number of entire command1,822
Four cooks allowed to each company92
To be subsisted1,914

Effective force, officers included, absent and sick being deducted, 1,435.

A call has been made for 250 free negroes for service in the engineer department. These will have to be subsisted, as will also the gang of 8 men on the pile-driver.

Horses, mules, and oxen in charge of quartermaster’s department.-Nine officers’ horses, 6 yoke of oxen hired by quartermasters of Eighth and Thirty-first Regiments, 2 pair mules, property of the Government. The mules and oxen are used for general purposes of land transportation.

Amount of forage on hand.-Seven hundred and twenty-five pounds fodder, 2 1/2 bushels corn, 1 1/4 barrels oats.

Orders have been given for the construction of a magazine. No regular ordnance officer has been appointed.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. M. SHAW, Colonel, Commanding.

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RICHMOND, January 12, 1862.

Gov. HENRY T. CLARK, Raleigh:

Please order at once two of your regiments now at Raleigh to rendezvous at Goldsborough. Give them what arms you can, and we will complete their armament.

It seems probable that the expedition is against your coast, but 1 do not yet rely on the information hitherto received. Act as promptly as possible.

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

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ROANOKE ISLAND, N. C., January 15, 1862.

SIR: In compliance with your orders, Lieutenant Loyall and myself have reported at this place for duty connected with the heavy batteries, and up to this time have inspected and frequently exercised them, with the exception of Fort Forrest on the other side of the sound. This we have not visited, in consequence of the weather, which has not been favorable for the past few days. We find the batteries well constructed and arranged, except that at Pork Point, which requires a flank to the southward, to prevent its being enfiladed. This has been recommended to Colonel Shaw, and orders have probably been given to have the work done. The equipment of the guns is incomplete, only one gun on the island being sighted, and the rifled guns (three in number) are mounted on navy barbette carriages, which are very unwieldy. The instruction is indifferent, but the officers and men evince such a good disposition to learn, that we hope, with the facilities offered us, to be able in a short time to report very favorably of their {p.420} proficiency. I would here state that I found Major Hill in command at Pork Point Battery. He was an old Army officer, and is no doubt a better artillerist than I am; and, as I did not desire to supersede a superior and could not suppose that you wished it, I placed myself under his command, and offered my services to him to assist in instructing his men, and detailed Mr. Loyall for that particular duty. None of the guns have locks, nor are any of them drilled for either locks or sights; but this could be very easily done here if locks and sights should be furnished. I presume they know at the navy-yard exactly what guns are here, and could make sights for them without the measures of the guns being sent. We have no shells for any but the rifled guns, and there is no shot furnace fit for use. The engineer officer assures me that the furnace at Fort Huger (the only one constructed) is worthless, and that he tried it for five hours without any other effect than to burst it. He recommends one for each battery here, after the pattern of Mr. Singleton’s, of the engineer’s office at Norfolk. The amount of ammunition on hand is not more than twenty rounds for each gun.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN S. TAYLOR, Captain, C. S. Army.

General HUGER, Commanding Department of Norfolk, Va.

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RICHMOND, January 16, 1862.

General GATLIN, Goldsborough, N. C.:

Huger telegraphs nine transports, with troops aboard, headed for the capes this morning.

S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General.

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GOLDSBOROUGH, January 20, 1862.

General L. O’B. BRANCH, New Berne:

MY DEAR GENERAL: I would come down to-night, but I hardly think they would dare to leave Roanoke Island in their rear; so in my opinion you can proceed with deliberation, though zealously, in your defenses.

I am fearful that our northeastern counties are lost. It is sad to think how obstinate the authorities at Richmond have been in regard to the destination of the fleet.

Your friend,

R. C. GATLIN.

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RICHMOND, January 21, 1862.

Maj. Gen. B. HUGER, Norfolk:

The President would approve of your taking or sending from Norfolk into North Carolina all the forces you can spare without endangering the safety of your command.

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

{p.421}

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SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 17.}

ADJT. AND INSP. GEN.’S OFFICE, Richmond, January 22, 1862.

...

XXXII. Brig. Gen. Henry A. Wise, Provisional Army, will immediately proceed to Roanoke Island, N. C., and assume command of the Confederate States troops at that place.

...

By command of the Secretary of War:

JNO. WITHERS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Goldsborough, January 24, 1862.

General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that a storm of great violence has been prevailing upon our coast since early on the night of the 22d instant; it has doubtless damaged the enemy at Hatteras, and it may be will derange his plans for some days.

As there can be no doubt but that the Burnside expedition is intended to operate in our sounds, it becomes a matter of vital importance to us to consider the means in our power to resist his advance upon the main-lands, and if the force now in the State is insufficient, to try to provide for the deficiency and that speedily.

The principal points in my department accessible from the sound are New Berne, Washington, and Hyde County.

New Berne being the most important, I have concentrated in that neighborhood all the available force at my disposal, save a new regiment held in reserve at this point. In consequence of the great amount of sickness, prevailing principally among the new regiments, that force does not exceed 4,000 effective men.

For the defense of Hyde County the effective force does not exceed 700 men, and for the defense of Washington 1,200 men. The militia called into service are not taken into consideration, as I have no reports of the number that may be expected from the adjacent counties.

Satisfied that the expedition is of such a magnitude that to resist it successfully we ought to have a large increase to our present force, I am constrained to renew my application of the 3d instant, viz, that a large reserve, with an experienced commander, be at once sent to this point and placed at my disposal.

Hoping that the War Department will take speedy action in the matter, I remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. C. GATLIN, Brigadier-General.

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HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE CAPE FEAR, Wilmington, N. C., January 24, 1862.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War, Richmond:

SIR: I have the honor to inclose extracts from the report of Captain Ward, in command of the Coast Guard in the northwestern part of this district.

{p.422}

You have already been advised of the stranding of the British ship York on our coast near Bogue Inlet. It now appears that she has been burnt by the enemy’s blockading squadron.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

J. R. ANDERSON, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

[Inclosure.]

HEADQUARTERS GATLIN DRAGOONS, Swansborough, N. C., January 17, 1862.

ROSCOE B. HEATH, Assistant Adjutant-General:

DEAR SIR: On yesterday morning about 9 o’clock my pickets reported two blockaders off this place, one a steamer, supposed to be the Albatross; the other a bark. After reconnoitering off and on until about 2 o’clock they came to anchor about one-fourth of a mile from the wreck of ship York (before reported); lowered six boats, containing each about 15 men. Three of the boats came close alongside of the wreck and threw over into it some combustible matter, which soon had the wreck in flames.

This morning early I took a detachment of 20 men and went over to the wreck and found it still burning-no vessel in sight. The enemy did not land at all. We had succeeded in securing only one flat load of rigging; the balance was ready on deck to be taken off as soon as the weather would permit the wreckers to go alongside. The captain of the wrecked ship, before leaving here, made an assignment of everything pertaining or belonging to the wreck, by power of attorney, to parties here, for the benefit of the underwriters. There are a great many tons of wrought iron about her, but will now be hard to save, if at all. I am now [convinced], and have been ever since seeing the crew and papers, that the wrecked ship York was a genuine British ship.

...

Very respectfully,

EDWD W. WARD, Captain, Commanding.

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RICHMOND, VA., January [March] 25, 1862.

Hon. GEORGE W. RANDOLPH, Secretary of War:

SIR: Yesterday I addressed a letter to Hon. J. P. Benjamin, dated the 22d instant,* calling for the copy of a report** to the Department from General Huger, stating that my brigade was “supernumerary” in his department, and giving a succinct history of my Legion from its first organization to its present state, and putting certain questions, which I respectfully asked for information. I beg to call your attention to that letter and ask its early consideration. I have now under my orders five companies of infantry under Lieutenant-Colonel Richardson, two under Col. N. Tyler, and nine companies of cavalry under Col. J. L. Davis, in all sixteen companies, numbering, I suppose, 1,100 men. The two companies of the Second Regiment of Infantry at Lewisburg have been ordered to remain there for the present, under Genera.] Heth. But my two companies of artillery, with five field {p.423} pieces, which by order of the Secretary of War were left at Great Bridge, under command of Brigadier-General Mahone, in General Huger’s department, I ask may be restored to my command, which, if done, will increase the Legion to about 1,300 men.

With this force, ordered to join me here, I can easily recruit the Legion to its original number, and if my third regiment be restored to me, now under Colonel Starke, at Goldsborough, N. C., it will have its complement of men of over 2,000 at once.

I ask, then, that my Legion may be preserved as a distinctive and independent force, under General Lee’s definition of its character whilst under his command in the West; that my third regiment and corps of artillery may be restored to my command, and that I may be allowed to recruit and organize new companies for my Legion.

I am now awaiting a reply to my call for a court of inquiry; for the arrival of my command, when relieved from special orders here and at Murfreesborough, N. C.; for further orders from the Department since the last to report to General J. E. Johnston at Manassas; and for the call of a committee of the House of Representatives of the Confederate Congress.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

* See Series IV.

** See p. 434.

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COOSAWHATCHIE, S. C., January 28, 1862.

General JOSEPH R. ANDERSON, Commanding District of Cape Fear, Wilmington, N. C.:

GENERAL: I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 24th instant.* and can sympathize in your anxiety to make a successful resistance to the landing of the enemy on the coast of North Carolina. You may be assured that nothing will be wanting on my part to give you all the aid in my power, and I should be pleased to be able to send you my whole force if required, but I beg that you will not rely upon it, but endeavor to organize a sufficient force for your purpose independent of any re-enforcement from this department. The enemy is in great strength on this coast; has command of all the communications by water, and by means of his immense fleet and the net-work of sounds, rivers, and creeks spread over the Carolina and Georgia coast, a disembarkation of a large force can be made under cover of his floating batteries at any time. Scarcely a day passes that a demonstration is not made on some point, which obliges us to keep troops always ready to oppose him. You will see, therefore, how impossible it may be for me to send you succors at the time you may most need them, as it may be expected that when an attack is made on a part of the coast the adjacent country will be imposingly threatened.

As regards the two North Carolina regiments and light battery, I understood they were to form a permanent part of the troops assigned to this department, and would be replaced in your district by [receiving?] other regiments from the State into the service. This I ha hoped had been done, as it is necessary to be prepared along the whole line. The want of arms has prevented my receiving troops that have offered their services from beyond the limits of the department, and has also prevented troops from the State coming into the service. I am sorry {p.424} to say that I am not in a condition to spare any troops, but am using every means in my power to organize additional force for service in the department.

I am, &c.,

R. E. LEE, General, Commanding

* Not found.

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Abstract from return of District of the Cape Fear, commanded by Brig. Gen. Joseph R. Anderson, for January, 1862.

Troops.Present for duty.Aggregate present.Aggregate present and absent.Pieces of artillery.
Officers.Men.Heavy.Field.
Wilmington, N. C.436779431,042
Camp Grant4697384
Camp Davis464761026
Camp Heath4778591
Camp Wyatt43637746891
Fort Fisher15232310356254
Zeeke’s Island27391993
Fort Johnston41593711794
Fort Caswell14217312348341
Camp Hopkins4707479
Swansborough36475102
Huggins Island4646468
Total1832,8373,3654,0566211

Abstract from return of the District of Pamlico, commanded by Brig. Gen. L. O’B. Branch, for January, 1862.

Troops.Present for duty.Aggregate present.Aggregate present and absent.Pieces of artillery.
Officers.Men.Heavy.Field.
Fort Macon, Shell Point, and Harker’s Island32434660749
Camp Vance42766905976
Camp Graham29497592684
Camp Fisher26470595705
New Berne627059921,313
Post of Washington641,0341,3051,457
Hyde County27464584651
Post of the Neuse971,5851,8832,137
Total3795,9557,5168,674
District of the Cape Fear brought forward1832,8373,5654,0566211
Goldsborough N. C., 34th Regiment North Carolina troops37709792910
Grand total5999,50111,87313,6406211
{p.425}

Abstract from post return of Fort Bartow,* Roanoke Island, N. C., commanded by Maj. G. H. Hill, for January, 1862.

Stations.Present for duty.Total present.Aggregate present.Total present and absent.Aggregate present and absent.
Officers.Men.
Field and staff322526
17th. North Carolina troops:
Company E36770737781
Company35276798286
Company L33774778387
Total12178222234244260

* Fort Bartow and Fort Forrest were one command. Nine heavy pieces of artillery were in the first and seven in the latter.

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STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Raleigh, February 1, 1862.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

SIR: The various and conflicting rumors about the destination of the Burnside expedition is now settled by its rendezvous at Hatteras. It has no doubt suffered from the late storm, but not enough to divert its object or its means of successful assault. If you will glance at the map you will readily perceive the extent of injury both to North Carolina and the Confederacy by an expedition into the interior from any part of Albemarle or Pamlico Sound. And I regret again to allude to our inability to check so formidable an expedition, whatever route it may select, and I have refrained as long as I could from alluding to re-enforcements. I am aware of the zeal you devote to the immense labors before you, and of the great strain pressing on you from every quarter, and that you would send re-enforcements unasked if you had them to spare.

But I will respectfully tender a suggestion, and be gratified if it coincides with your views; that is, to spare us two or three-regiments from the Peninsula, particularly the Fifth North Carolina Volunteers. I make the suggestion on the ground that General Magruder has had every facility in men and good, skillful officers for seven months to fortify the Peninsula; that it has been successfully done; that his intrenchments, fortifications, and guns have been so successfully and extensively done [sic] that they can now be defended with one-half of the men required some months ago; that the place will only allow a defensive warfare, and he is prepared for that, and he can now spare some of his force. A commanding general always asks for more, and never consents to give up a single company. Upon these grounds I refer you to this position, where I hope you can spare at least our own regiment.

I thank you for aid of General Wise’s Legion to the Albemarle country, but I regret to say that Roanoke, not having the benefit of engineers and skillful officers, is not much benefited by the last four months’ occupancy of [it] by the Confederate Government. General Wise writes to me that it needs everything, whereas it should have been an impregnable barrier to the Yankees and a protection for a great extent of North Carolina and Virginia. There has been culpable negligence {p.426} or inefficiency at this place. I hope Colonel Clarke’s (Twenty-fourth Regiment North Carolina Volunteers) regiment, now stationed at Petersburg, will have sufficiently recruited to be serviceable.

I have now to rely on an unarmed and undrilled militia for protection, and a draft which has been made for one-third of them has, I regret to say, developed or occasioned much dissatisfaction.

I tender these suggestions to you most respectfully. Should they fail in enlisting your favor, I shall regret to believe that there are other places besides our coast which claim your protection from overwhelming forces and need more help than we do, for I feel assured of your assistance if it could be spared.

Very respectfully, yours,

HENRY T. CLARK.

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[FEBRUARY 2, 1862.-The Confederate authorities make requisition upon the State of North Carolina for twenty-six regiments “for the war.” For requisition and the Governor’s response, of February 11, see Series IV, Vol. I.]

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WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond, Va., February 3, 1862.

Gov. HENRY T. CLARK, Raleigh, N. C.:

SIR: I have received your favor of the 1st instant, and assure you that you but do me justice in confiding in my earnest desire to do everything in my power to aid in the defense of your coast. Most fortunately the enemy’s fleet has been crippled much more seriously than you seem to be aware, and we are thus allowed some time for preparation beyond what we could otherwise have hoped.

In regard to re-enforcements, my thoughts had already been turned on the Peninsula, but there is a serious difficulty in the way there of which you are not aware. Four or five of the regiments on the Peninsula are twelve-months’ men, whose term of service is on the eve of expiring; others will expire a little later, and nothing can induce the men to re-enlist unless they have a furlough. But for this I could withdraw a few regiments from the Peninsula. We are reaping the bitter fruits of the blind folly of short enlistments, against which I have struggled with unremitting energy from the day the first shot was fired at Fort Sumter.

However all is not as bad as you supposed. I have just ordered two batteries of artillery to your aid, and have instructed General Huger to see in person to the defenses at Roanoke. He will also send 2,000 or 3,000 men, perhaps more, that can be spared from Norfolk. I have ordered a detail of men to give full efficiency to the gunboats under Commodore Lynch and to the floating battery. The regiment at Petersburg ought now to be able to move, and I will order it at once to report to General Gatlin.

I am sure I could organize the defenses of our country, wherever attacked, if I only had munitions; but, in addition to the heavy superiority in numbers of the enemy, we have to struggle on with a very inadequate supply of materials of war. Your people may suffer somewhat at points where the enemy’s superior water forces enable them to ravage the country within reach of their guns, but I do not fear, and {p.427} am sure you need not, that they can do more than this; and even this shall not be done if every possible precaution in our power can suffice to prevent it.

I am, your obedient servant,

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

P. S.-I was compelled by stress of occasion to send 1,000 flintlocks to your last two regiments, but will immediately replace them by better arms.

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CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, NAVY DEPARTMENT, Richmond, February 3, 1862.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

SIR: In compliance with your indorsement upon the letter of Maj. J. A. Johnston, quartermaster, in relation to Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, I have the honor to state that Mr. Parks has not yet submitted his bills for tolls against this Department, but from data before me I infer that since the North Carolina vessels were transferred these tolls amount to about $700 per month.

I know nothing of the condition of the canal or of the work necessary to keep it in order, but I regard it of vital importance to the defenses of North Carolina. I would suggest that a reliable officer be sent to examine the canal and to report the probable expense of maintaining it in navigable condition, which will have to be done by the Confederate States if the canal company and the State of North Carolina will not do it, and I think that the sooner the subject is acted upon the better.

I presume that with twenty-five gunboats in the waters of North Carolina the tolls would not exceed $2,000 per month, but I think that the work should be kept up without regard to this consideration. The papers are herewith returned.*

With much respect, your obedient servant,

S. R. MALLORY, Secretary of the Navy.

[Indorsement.]

ASSISTANT SECRETARY:

Have copy made of this entire correspondence, to be forwarded to General Huger, with request that he will send a reliable officer to examine and report on the whole subject.

HDQRS.

* Not found.

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FOURTH BRIGADE DEPARTMENT NORFOLK, Camp at Nag’s Head, February 7, 1862.

Major-General HUGER, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: I send you, by direction of General Wise, copies of the dispatch of Lieutenant Loyall to Colonel Shaw, with the colonel’s note forwarding the same to these headquarters, and of the dispatch of Colonel {p.428} Shaw, received about daybreak this morning. The officer who brought the dispatch first above mentioned reports that of the enemy’s fleet twenty-eight are gunboats, seven are towing steamers, and the rest transports.

A re-enforcement of ten companies was sent from this place this forenoon to Roanoke Island, leaving about 300 men to cover the retreat of our forces to the beach, should they be compelled to withdraw from the island.

Owing to continual sickness the general was unable to accompany the troops sent to Roanoke. He is very much prostrated from the illness which still confines him to his bed, and which will in all probability compel him to keep his bed for some days to come.

At 20 minutes past 10 a single gun was heard, which the general supposed to be the signal gun of Flag-Officer Lynch. At 16 1/2 minutes past 11 o’clock of this day firing on Croatan Sound commenced, and from that time to the period of closing this dispatch from 250 to 300 guns have been heard, showing a furious battle to be raging between our forces and the enemy. It is now 25 minutes past 12 o’clock, and the firing is very rapid and heavy.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. B. DUFFIELD, Assistant Adjutant-General.

P. S.-1 o’clock p.m.-The firing still continues most furious. A cannon is heard ever second.

C. B. DUFFIELD, Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

PORK POINT, February 6-1 p.m.

COLONEL: The fog has cleared away from below, and I can distinctly see that the enemy is about 8 miles from us, in full force. I can make out more than fifty vessels, either at anchor or under way in tow of steamers. I believe that they are at anchor. I am of opinion that they have stopped to consider, but it requires a bright lookout to keep the run of them.

Very respectfully,

B. P. LOYALL, Lieutenant, C. S. Navy.

[Indorsement.]

GENERAL: This was received at half past 2 o’clock. I am now leaving for the lower end, having ordered four companies down.

H. M. SHAW, Colonel, Commanding.

Brigadier-General WISE.

[Inclosure No. 2.]

HEADQUARTERS ROANOKE ISLAND, February 6, 1862-8 p.m.

Brig. Gen. HENRY A. WISE, Commanding Fourth Brigade, Department of Norfolk:

GENERAL: Your dispatch by Lieutenant Simmons has been received, and I hasten to report that I myself have been to Ashby’s. The enemy {p.429} is in full view and about 7 or 8 miles below that point. The atmosphere is so thick that I could not positively determine their number; between fifty and sixty, of which the larger part I think are sailing vessels. Two of the pieces of artillery are already at Ashby’s, where it has been for several days; the 6-pounder was moved down to another point this afternoon and four companies of infantry under a field officer.

The orders contained in your dispatch will of course be carried out.

I have to report to you that the available force at my command, exclusive of the detachments on duty at the batteries, is only about 800-808 by last report. The enemy numbers 10,000 men probably. I ask you to send re-enforcements. I forgot to say you are mistaken in supposing I have four pieces of light artillery. The number here is three. I send this by Lieutenant Cooper.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. M. SHAW, Colonel, Commanding.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, February 8, 1862.

Colonel SHAW, Eighth Regiment North Carolina Troops:

SIR: Lieut. A. D. Smith, Company G, First Regiment Wise Legion, arrived 10.30 a.m., crossed at 12.30 from Nag’s Head by Gallop’s to Powell’s Point, and rode all night. He heard the same heavy firing all day. It ceased at night.

Respectfully, yours,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General.

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NORFOLK, February 9, 1862.

President JEFFERSON DAVIS:

Ammunition was dispatched to Commodore Lynch, who is at Elizabeth City. On the afternoon of the 9th, on meeting the boat stating Roanoke Island was captured, the steamer returned. Commodore Forrest will try and send it by Dismal Swamp Canal, the lower end of which is broken.

I have no news of the enemy. I have ordered troops to move at once and protect the different approaches. Should the enemy attack in front I must be re-enforced.

BENJ. HUGER.

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RICHMOND, February 10, 1862.

Major-General HUGER, Norfolk:

Take measures for destroying all supplies at Elizabeth City as soon as satisfied that they cannot be saved from seizure by enemy.

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War

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RICHMOND, February 10, 1862.

Brigadier-General GATLIN, Goldsborough:

I am informed there are about 15,000 bales of cotton ready for shipment {p.430} at Roanoke River. Give orders to burn all that is not immediately moved into the interior out of enemy’s reach.

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Goldsborough, February 10, 1862.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch of this date, directing all the cotton on the Roanoke River not removed to a safe distance into the interior to be burned. The dispatch has been replied to by telegraph.

The only troops at my disposal, a regiment of infantry, will be sent up to Halifax to-night, with instructions to march down the Roanoke as far as Jamesville. I will place another regiment on that river, should it be placed at my disposal by Governor Clark. In my dispatch I begged that a light battery be sent to Halifax to join the infantry. This force might answer to check the advance of the enemy should he undertake the ascent of the Roanoke in force, but is not sufficient to do more than retard his progress. I would therefore respectfully suggest that large re-enforcements be sent into that section of the country.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. C. GATLIN, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

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RALEIGH, February 10, 1862.

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

Roanoke Island has fallen; its garrison captured. We must organize another army for that section. I have only two regiments, which will go down forthwith to Weldon. Avenues to our railroads must be guarded. Send what assistance you can.

HENRY T. CLARK.

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RICHMOND, February 11, 1862.

Gov. HENRY T. CLARK, Raleigh:

Your dispatch received. I am glad to hear of your two regiments ordered to Weldon. We are making every possible effort for your defense, and feel confident we can prevent access to the railroad.

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

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SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 35.}

ADJT. AND INSPECTOR GENERAL’S OFFICE, Richmond, February 12, 1862.

...

II. Brig. Gen. R. H. Anderson, Provisional Army, will proceed to Manassas, Va., and report to General Joseph E. Johnston, commanding, for assignment to the command of the South Carolina Brigade, {p.431} now under Brig. Gen. D. K. Jones, the latter to be assigned to the command of the Georgia Brigade lately commanded by Brig. Gen. S. Jones.

...

IV. Col. J. L. Davis, Wise Legion, will proceed without delay to Garysburg, near Weldon, N. C., with the following companies of the Legion, to act as circumstances may require, under the direction of the commanding officer: Captains Z. S. Magruder’s, Caskie’s, Rosser’s, Timberlake’s, and Phelps’.

...

By command of the Secretary of War:

JNO. WITHERS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 29.}

HDQRS. DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, Goldsborough, February 12, 1862.

...

III. Col. William J. Hoke, Thirty-eighth Regiment North Carolina troops, will proceed with his regiment to Weldon, N. C., and take such measures as the force at his command will permit for the defense of the bridge at that place.

He will consider himself still under the command of Colonel Leventhorpe, Thirty-fourth Regiment of North Carolina troops.

By order of Brigadier-General Gatlin:

R. H. RIDDICK, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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NORFOLK, February 13, 1862.

General S. COOPER:

I have ordered 1,000 men, Third Alabama, to Suffolk. This weakens front very much indeed. I must have more troops.

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General.

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RICHMOND, February 13, 1862.

General HUGER, Norfolk, Va.:

Col. W. J. Clarke’s North Carolina regiment is ordered to Garysburg,. N. C., from Petersburg, subject to your orders for disposition of the regiment on the line of the Weldon and Portsmouth Railroad wherever deemed best. He has been so advised and ordered to report.

S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General.

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HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE CAPE FEAR, Wilmington, N. C., February 13, 1862.

General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:

GENERAL: In my letter of 24th September last* I gave you an estimate of the least amount of force I regarded requisite to hold this place {p.432} and the railroads terminating here. I beg leave respectfully to ask your attention to that letter, and to say that I now deem a very considerable increase of force here indispensable to the safety of this command if it should be attacked by a large force by land, as it probably will be, if attacked at all.

This is the only point of importance on our Atlantic coast not hitherto threatened by the enemy, and it is reasonable to expect, in view of other expeditions, now fitting out by the enemy at the North, that an effort against this place will not be much longer postponed. That you may exactly appreciate the wants of this command I desire to call your attention to the disposition of the forces now here.

My attention has been directed principally to the defense of the approaches by water. In the works erected for this purpose I have a good degree of confidence, although I have been unable to procure all the armament required. Fort Caswell, on the south side of the Cape Fear River, about 30 miles from Wilmington, is manned by three unattached companies and one company of the Twentieth Regiment North Carolina Volunteers; aggregate strength of the garrison, 350 men. Fort Caswell is supported by the remaining nine companies of the Twentieth Regiment North Carolina Volunteers, stationed at Smithville or Fort Johnston, numbering in the aggregate 765 men.

At the Northern or New Inlet of the Cape Fear River the defenses consist of a battery on Zeeke’s Island, manned by one company, of the aggregate strength 99, and Fort Fisher, manned by two unattached companies and one company of the Thirtieth Regiment North Carolina Volunteers, aggregate 250, supported by nine companies of the Thirtieth Regiment, aggregate of which is 770, and a battery of light artillery of four 12-pounders.

The coast of the district is watched by five companies of cavalry, of which three are “local defense” companies, and four are only partially or indifferently armed. Fort Fisher is about 25 miles from Wilmington; the road very difficult, on account of deep sand.

I have at Wilmington the Twenty-eighth Regiment North Carolina Volunteer’s, aggregate 933, and one battery of light artillery of six 6-pounders.

There are several points east of Wilmington within 10 miles of the city where the enemy might land if he should choose not to attempt to pass the main batteries, but to cross with a large land force the narrow strip of land which separates the city from the ocean.

You will thus see that I have only one regiment and a light battery to oppose such a march of the enemy. Before I could withdraw the two regiments from the mouth of the river by land or water the enemy could reach the city or the railroad to Weldon, having to accomplish only 8 miles, while my regiments would have to move 30.

In this reference to my exposed line I leave out of view the coast south of Fort Caswell, on which he may land, march against Smithville and thence to Wilmington, on the right bank of the river. But were I able to concentrate all the men I have instantaneously at the point of attack which the enemy may select, you are still aware that my strength would not be sufficient to resist the force he will probably bring against us, judging by the past.

I therefore beg that Clingman’s and Radcliffe’s regiments and Moore’s battery of the North Carolina troops, placed here for the defense of this point and sent by me to Port Royal, by direction of the honorable Secretary of War, under peculiar circumstances, be ordered back immediately. These troops were sent there with the belief that they {p.433} were necessary to prevent a sudden invasion, and were expected to remain only “till they could be replaced by other troops.” And I should be doing injustice to the interest confided in me if I did not most respectfully urge that they be sent back, now that we learn a large force has come to the defense of that coast, whilst this is comparatively defenseless as to men.

I will advise General Lee of my expectations, and beg you will inform him that I have stated the case correctly, and order the return of the troops. My force would still fall very much short of what I estimated 24th September. Still, with the return of these troops and the aid of the militia, I believe we can defeat any force he will probably send.

The city is defended by intrenched works on the east, but I have no men to meet them, nor is there any force in the vicinity which could be sent to my aid. I have felt it necessary to make this statement to you in order to enforce my application for re-enforcements and that you may see clearly the necessity therefor.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

J. R. ANDERSON, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

P. S.-In the enumeration of my forces I have given the aggregate, which must be abated 30 or 40 per cent for the sick.

[Indorsement.]

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Goldsborough, February 15, 1862.

Respectfully forwarded, and urgently request that the troops asked for be ordered to Wilmington without delay.

R. C. GATLIN, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

* See Series I, Vol. IV, p. 656.

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RALEIGH, February 13, 1862.

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

Weldon and the Sea-board Railroad must be defended. I am calling together the militia for that purpose, but that is very insufficient. We must be aided by your regiments from the Peninsula or elsewhere. The danger of cutting off Norfolk is great and a large supply of provisions stored in that section.

HENRY T. CLARK, Governor of North Carolina.

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RICHMOND, VA., February 14, 1862.

Gov. HENRY T. CLARK, Raleigh:

Your dispatch received. We are hard at work for you, and you will see the result in a very few days. Keep your people in good heart. The danger is greatly exaggerated

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

{p.434}

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Goldsborough, February 15, 1862.

General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that Colonel Leventhorpe, with the Thirty-fourth Regiment North Carolina troops, is at this time on the Lower Roanoke, to prevent the boats of the enemy ascending that stream; that Colonel Hoke, with the Thirty-eighth North Carolina troops, is in the vicinity of Weldon, to protect the bridge and railroad at that point; and that Bouldin’s section of a light battery has just left for the latter place. I hear from persons passing that Colonel Clarke’s regiment and other troops are at Weldon, sent front Virginia, but cannot credit the statement, inasmuch as I have received no intimation of the movement of these troops into this department from your office, nor have the commanders reported to me.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. C. GATLIN, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

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FEBRUARY 15, 1862.

WELDON N. EDWARDS, President of North Carolina Convention, Raleigh:

Your dispatch received. The defense of North Carolina occupies my anxious attention. I am sending there all the aid I can procure. I prefer not to send back the North Carolina troops referred to. The exigency which caused them to be sent to South Carolina is not less pressing now than at the time of their assignment to the defense of that locality, and they could only be withdrawn by substituting others. To be successful, the common means must be employed for the common defense, as its necessities require.*

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., February 16, 1862.

General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General:

SIR: I submit for the consideration of the Secretary of War a proposed arrangement of the brigades of this division, rendered necessary by the movements of the enemy.

I had sent the Sixth Virginia Regiment, Colonel Corprew, to the Currituck Bridge, with orders to hold that point and prevent the enemy from passing through the South Branch of the Chesapeake and Albemarle Canal.

General Wise, on his retreat from Nag’s Head, came to Currituck Bridge, assumed command, removed the battery of three 32-pounders erected there, and began abandoning the place before any enemy appeared. Soon after two or three gunboats came up, fired a few rounds, which fell short, and our troops left. The enemy have not advanced since, and our cavalry pickets are still there.

I had no report from General Wise for two days, but heard he was {p.435} falling back on Norfolk. I sent yesterday to establish batteries near Great Bridge, on the North Branch of Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal to block that passage, and visited that place to-day. I found General Wise there, with the five companies of the Sixth Virginia Regiment, five pieces of artillery, under Colonel Henningsen, and about four companies of his Legion, under Colonel Richardson. I inquired of General Wise why he abandoned his position at Currituck Bridge without orders, but could get no satisfactory answer. He said he intended to occupy a position on Northwest River, but on reaching there in a snowstorm, found no quarters for his men. He fell back to Great Bridge, 12 miles south of Norfolk, where he now is.

I must be allowed to consider General Wise supernumerary with this army, and relieve him from duty. His Legion has no doubt fine material, but I consider it entirely disorganized, and I shall feel stronger if it is removed.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General, Commanding.

* See Davis to Avery, February 18, p. 433.

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RICHMOND, February 16, 1862.

Brig. Gen. GEORGE W. RANDOLPH, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: The Secretary of War directs that you proceed forthwith to Suffolk, Va., and report for duty to Major-General Huger, under whom you will immediately proceed to fortify and defend the approaches to Norfolk and provide for the protection of the Portsmouth and Weldon Railroad between Suffolk and Weldon. To effect these objects you are authorized to call out a sufficient negro force and adopt such measures as may be necessary.

Capt. I. M. St. John, Engineers, will be directed to report to you for duty.

You will arrange with the Commissary-General for the rations of the negroes before leaving the city.

Very respectfully, &c.,

S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General.

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RICHMOND, VA., February 18, 1862.

Hon. W. W. AVERY, Richmond, Va.:

MY DEAR SIR: Your note of yesterday,* in reference to the conversation I had with yourself and other Representatives from your State, in consequence of the resolutions of the North Carolina Convention, has been received.

I have already replied to the Convention by telegraph** that I prefer not to send back the North Carolina troops referred to, for the reason that the exigency which caused them to be sent to South Carolina is even more pressing now than at the time of their assignment to the defense of that locality. The enemy seriously threatens Savannah, and occupying, as he does, a secure position on the islands in its vicinity, where, protected by his gunboats, he can mature his plans and {p.436} make his arrangements without our being able to obtain any information as to his designs or movements, he may at any moment make a sudden attack upon either Charleston or Savannah.

It will require all the ability for disposition of troops and engineering skill of our generals there to thwart his purposes and defend that portion of our extended coast.

The North Carolina troops could only be withdrawn by the substitution of others, and this change would necessarily, to a greater or less degree, disorganize for a time that portion of our line from which they are drawn and add to the burden of our overtaxed railroad transportation.

The defense of North Carolina occupies my serious attention, and I am sending there all the aid at my disposal. General Randolph has been sent to protect the railroad which connects Weldon with Norfolk, with orders to assemble the troops for this purpose at points on the road convenient for concentration at any point which may be threatened.

It may not be possible, with our limited means, to protect every point which the enemy can attack by means of his fleets, but every effort will be made to hold those positions which are of vital interest to the State and to our common cause.

Our ability to defend is limited by the supply of arms, powder, and other munitions of war. Efforts were made, as you are no doubt aware, at an early period of our troubles, to purchase arms from abroad. Some have been received from this source and we have hopes of more.

I have received no official reports of the disastrous affair at Roanoke Island. The newspaper accounts indicate that the greater portion of our men there behaved very badly. I will wait for more accurate and full reports before forming a judgment as to the cause of our signal defeat.

When the island was first occupied by our troops after the fall of Hatteras, realizing the importance of the position to us, I sent one of my aides-de-camp to make a personal examination of its condition and capabilities for defense. From his report I concluded that the condition of affairs was such as to justify a reasonable hope of successful resistance to any force the enemy could then bring to bear against it, and capable, with proper dispositions and energetic efforts in preparation, of making a creditable, if not successful, defense against any force that would be prepared for the purpose. To this end it was attached to the department of General Huger. After it became probable that the expedition under Burnside would attack this position General Huger was directed to re-enforce it to the extent of his means.

I am not sufficiently informed as to what was done after the inspection of my aide to enable me to say whether the preparation was defective or whether the fault was in the troops.

Very respectfully and truly, yours,

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

* Not found.

** See Davis to Edwards, p. 434.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Goldsborough, February 20, 1862.

General S. COOPER, Adjutant and inspector General C. S. Army, Richmond, Pa.:

GENERAL: On the 15th instant I sent my aide-de-camp to Weldon to ascertain what troops were in that vicinity other than those sent {p.437} there by my orders. He found Colonel Clarke at Garysburg with the Twenty-fourth Regiment of North Carolina troops, together with a number of detached companies. Colonel Clarke informed him that he was there by orders from your office, and was instructed to report to Major-General Huger, commanding the Department of Norfolk, and that he was then acting under his orders. As Garysburg is within the Department of North Carolina, I am at a loss to know why troops are sent there and placed under the orders of the commander of another department and I not even officially informed of it.

Already a conflict of jurisdiction has arisen between the officers acting under my orders and those acting under General Huger. I hope immediate steps will be taken to restore order. I have given orders, but they may not be obeyed. I beg to call your attention to my letter of the 15th instant in relation to the defense of the Roanoke, some portion of which is germane to this matter.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. C. GATLIN, Major-General, Commanding.

[Indorsement.]

Inform General Gatlin that the troops sent to Garysburg were not intended for his command, but were camped there temporarily, until General Huger could send for them.

J. P. B.

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RICHMOND, VA., February 21, 1862.

Hon. WELDON N. EDWARDS, President Convention of North Carolina, Raleigh, N. C.:

MY DEAR SIR: Your communication of the 13th instant,* with the accompanying resolutions of the Convention, has been received.

The North Carolina delegation in Congress had presented a copy of the resolutions before the receipt of your letter, and have received a reply, the substance of which has, I suppose, been already delivered to the Convention by them.

I am, very truly, yours,

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

* Not found. See Davis to Avery, p. 435.

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RICHMOND, VA., February 21, 1862.

A. J. BATTLE, Esq., Wilson, N. C.:

My DEAR SIR: The President has received your letter of the 12th instant,* in reference to the defense of North Carolina, and instructs me to say in reply that inadequate means have limited preparations in that State, as elsewhere, and that he had not doubted the sobriety of General Gatlin, although General Loring, an officer of higher rank, had been sent to North Carolina.

Very respectfully,

G. W. C. LEE, Colonel, and Aide-de-Camp.

* Not found.

{p.438}

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STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Raleigh, February 22, 1862.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

SIR: I have heretofore drawn your attention to the situation and defenses of Wilmington and the Cape Fear River. The defenses on the north side of the inlet, at mouth of Cape Fear River, were put up by the local authorities. There are several batteries on the river below the town of Wilmington, with some guns, but are without garrison. So you may readily see that a fleet can pass the inlet and ascend the river and destroy Wilmington. They can also land north of the inlet, and are within a march of 10 miles, with only two volunteer regiments to oppose them. The possession of Wilmington commands the Great Northern and Southern Railroad, with all its valuable machine-shops.

Ent the most attractive feature for that expedition in the eyes of the enemy is the Fayetteville Arsenal, a day’s journey up the river. The destruction of that arsenal would be a heavy blow, and would give peculiar gratification, in the Yankee eye, as the recapture of the Harper’s Ferry works.

I have just received a memorial from the town authorities of Fayetteville, asking for assistance and urging a system of defense by blocking the channel of the Cape Fear, which is necessary [sic] enough to be effected very easily.

The defense of Wilmington cannot be delayed much longer. Moore’s light battery, Clingman’s regiment, 1,100 strong, and Radcliffe’s regiment have been taken from the defense of Wilmington and sent to Port Royal. They are not permitted to return and no efforts are known to be made to supply their places, and there is the most painful anxiety for the safety of Wilmington and Fayetteville. If you have any disposable force, they could not be sent to any position where they are more needed or where they could render more valuable service.

Most respectfully, yours,

HENRY T. CLARK.

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DEPT. OF NORFOLK, HDQRS. THIRD BRIGADE, Portsmouth, Va., February 24, 1862.

Lieut. Col. S. S. ANDERSON, Adjutant-General, Norfolk:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that I returned to Suffolk and continued the works on Nansemond River and held correspondence with the different commands. On the 20th instant the news of the first attack on Winton reached me, and I moved Colonel Armistead’s Fifty-seventh Regiment of Virginia and one section of Girardey’s battery to Franklin to defend the Blackwater and block it up. He is still there. I regret to say that the three companies of South Carolina Volunteers at the mouth of Blackwater had fallen back from that position. I inclose Captain Butler’s report.* At the request of many citizens I carried the cotton (500 bales) lying at Franklin to Portsmouth. On the 21st Major-General Huger and Brigadier-General Randolph came to Suffolk and relieved me from duty. At the request of General Randolph I remained with him. The news of Lieutenant-Colonel Williams’ retreat reached me, and that Colonel Clarke had arrived at Franklin. We {p.439} started with a train of cars, and found the Fifty-seventh Virginia and Fourteenth North Carolina down the river on scout. The North Carolina regiment was-recalled, and an order sent to Lieutenant-Colonel Williams to return forthwith to Winton. I send copy of his report.* I can see no reason or excuse for his retreat. His men have lost all except their arms and what they wore. He is under command of Colonel Clarke. He left Newsom’s for Murfreesborough on the 22d. Colonel Clarke’s regiment also went there.

The want of cavalry is excessive. I have ordered the detachment of Captain Gillett’s company, which was relieved at Winton by the Nansemond cavalry, to stay with Colonel Armistead until further orders.

I have sent Captain Brewer’s Nansemond cavalry toward Edenton to co-operate with the militia in getting off the provisions in that section.

Major Brabble, First North Carolina Battalion, went into Edenton, and arrested Messrs. Norcom and Bland as traitors, in dealing with the enemy. They are sent to Raleigh. The Union men south of Chowan were arrested by Colonel Williams’ order, but escaped during the retreat. The whole country south of Chowan is more or less disaffected. I send Colonel Moore’s report.*

These two reports of mine will partially show that I have not been idle since my command was extended and that no point in the district was neglected. I must therefore respectfully ask that General Order, No. 14, of 20th February, 1862, reducing my command to a small brigade, while the youngest brigadier in the Army has charge of two brigades, be so modified as to express the opinion of the general that the service required such action and was not done from any disapproval of my conduct.

Colonel Wright, Third Georgia Regiment, has acted separately, and his reports have been sent in.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. G. BLANCHARD, Brigadier-General, P. A. C. S.

* Not found.

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HEADQUARTERS FIFTH BRIGADE, HUGER’S DIVISION, Murfreesborough, N. C., February 24, 1862.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War, C. S.:

SIR: Having been placed in command of the forces covering the large territory between the Chowan and the Roanoke Rivers, consisting of my own regiment, numbering less than 600 effective men; Colonel Williams’ Battalion North Carolina Volunteers, 400; one company of cavalry of Wise’s Legion, only 40 of whom are with me, and Nichols’ battery of four small pieces, I hasten to inform you that these forces are wholly inadequate to the important services required of them, and respectfully, but most urgently, request that an additional force of cavalry and artillery may be immediately placed at my disposal. I am using my utmost endeavors to raise a small body of mounted men in this vicinity to act as couriers and vedettes, but being wholly undisciplined and but poorly armed, they will be incompetent to meet the enemy in the field, even should I be able to raise them, which is doubtful.

{p.440}

My artillery consists of four light pieces, insufficient, both in range and caliber, to defend the rivers against the heavily-armed gunboats of the enemy. An order received from you stopped the march of two companies of cavalry of Wise’s Legion, who were at Garysburg, N. C., and were about moving to re-enforce me. I have detained Lieutenant Tucker, who was ordered to proceed to Manassas, until you could be informed of the indispensable necessity of his remaining with me until some other cavalry force should relieve him. My only means of obtaining information and keeping up communication is by means of vedettes, and these should be men that have seen service, that I may not be misled by erroneous reports. Instead of depriving me of cavalry my force should be strengthened, for if ten times as strong it would not be sufficient for the service necessary in the territory committed to my charge. By means-of one cavalry company I was enabled a few days ago to secure a large amount of Government property, which otherwise would most probably have fallen into the hands of the enemy.

Permit me to inform you that my command embraces a highly productive tract of country, which now contains provisions sufficient to subsist the whole Army of the Confederate States for at least half a year, and it is of the first importance that it should not be ravaged by the enemy The white population is sparse, and they have been so long neglected that they are perfectly demoralized. An exhibition of force, which I made a few days ago, has been of inestimable value in inspiring our people with confidence and in intimidating our foes.

I expect to be able to obstruct this (the Meherrin) river effectually by the time this reaches you, and with two 18-pounders and two 24s or 32s I could destroy any vessels that should attempt to come up to this place and at the same time effectually protect the bridge of the Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad over this river.

With two more regiments of infantry and 500 cavalry, in addition to the force now present, I could keep the enemy from advancing inland in my department.

I beg that you will countermand the order removing Wise’s cavalry, and that the whole battalion will be ordered here, and also artillery and experienced artillerists.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. J. CLARKE, Colonel, Commanding Fifth Brigade, Huger’s Division.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Goldsborough, February 27, 1862.

General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:

GENERAL: I received last night the following telegram from the Secretary of War, viz:

Send a statement as promptly as possible of your forces, their disposition, and your means and plans of defense.

I inclose herewith an imperfect return of the troops within the department.* It may answer for present purposes, but I hope to be able to forward a more complete one in a few days.

For a detailed report of the defenses of the Cape Fear District, the {p.441} location of the troops, &c., I beg to refer to the report of Brigadier-General Anderson, dated the 13th instant,** and which was forwarded to you through these headquarters. As General Anderson will be in Richmond to-day, he will be able to explain in person anything not understood in that communication. In case he is attacked, his defenses destroyed, and his troops driven from their positions, it is understood that he is to fall back in the direction of Fayetteville, with the view of checking the advance of the enemy in that direction. It is hoped and believed that his defenses are sufficient, but he is sadly deficient in troops.

Conceiving the town of New Berne, the point most likely to be attacked, I have assembled in its vicinity as large a body of troops as in my power. They are under the command of Brig. Gen. L. O’B. Branch, who also commands the District of the Pamlico. Batteries have been erected on the Neuse below the town and the river effectually blocked. These batteries are open and the guns mounted in barbette, but it is hoped they will not fail to drive off the fleet of gunboats should they attempt to reduce them. Below these batteries are breastworks running from the river to the swamps on Bryce’s Creek, which are believed to be impassable. The breastworks are thought to be strong enough to enable our troops to resist and hold them against a large force of the enemy. I regret that I have no sketch of these works to transmit. You will perceive that a large increase to the force at New Berne should be made to place them upon an equality with such a force as attacked Roanoke Island.

In case they are driven from their positions they are to fall back upon the line of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, and take up the first defensible position, not yet determined upon, which may confine the enemy as close to New Berne as practicable.

The batteries at Harkers’ and Huggins’ Islands have been withdrawn, and the garrison at Fort Macon reduced to five companies of artillery, the largest number that could be sheltered inside the fort in case of siege. The fort has a supply of seven months’ provisions, and its commander is of opinion that he can hold it as long as powder and his provisions last. A large supply of powder is required to meet the contingencies of a siege.

The Pamlico River is protected by batteries some 8 miles below the town of Washington. They are considered sufficient to beat off the gunboats, but the force there is not adequate to contend with a large land force. In case of the loss of the batteries the troops will retreat up the Tar River in the direction of Greenville.

The troops heretofore stationed in Hyde County have been withdrawn, as it was considered imprudent to keep them there, there being but one road leading out of the county which could readily be seized by the enemy, thus cutting off all retreat. A local company still remains for such service as it may be able to render in preventing servile insurrection. Five companies taken from Hyde have been sent to New Berne; the remainder are at Washington.

You will perceive that the force under my command is very inadequate to the defense of so extensive a coast against an enemy who has possession of our sounds and can direct his large columns against any point he may elect.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. C. GATLIN, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

* Not found.

** See p. 431.

{p.442}

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RICHMOND, VA., March 2, 1862.

Brigadier-General GATLIN, Goldsborough, N. C.:

The President directs that the troops be withdrawn from the defense of Washington [N. C.], and sent immediately to General Randolph, at Suffolk, to aid in defense of that point. The artillery can be withdrawn to the line of railroad, to be disposed of as may be found best hereafter.

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

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GENERAL ORDERS, No. 4.}

HDQRS. DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, Goldsborough, March 9, 1862.

By direction of the Secretary of War, all cotton, tobacco, and naval stores within this department must be removed west of the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad; or, if distant from any railroad or navigable stream, put in such places of security that they cannot be reached by the enemy. Such of the above-mentioned products as are in exposed positions must be removed at once, and those less exposed removed or secured by the 25th instant; otherwise they will be destroyed by the military authorities.

The generals commanding the Districts of the Cape Fear and Pamlico will see that these orders are carried into effect.

It is hoped that the owners themselves will apply the torch rather than see the enemy gain possession of these much-coveted products.

Whenever it shall become necessary for an officer or citizen to destroy private property to prevent its falling into the hands of the enemy he will make a report of the facts and circumstances to these headquarters, accompanied with a statement of the property destroyed and to whom it belonged, and furnish the owner with a copy of the statement.

By order of Brigadier-General Gatlin:

JOHN W. GRAHAM, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

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GOLDSBOROUGH, March 13, 1862. (Received Richmond, March 13, 1862.)

General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General:

The enemy are in large force in Neuse River-ten steamers and one transport; are about 12 miles below New Berne. The pilot reports fifty vessels coming up. This is General Branch’s report, date 9 p.m. yesterday.

R. C. GATLIN, Brigadier-General.

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RICHMOND, VA., March 13, 1862.

Brigadier-General GATLIN, Goldsborough:

The two North Carolina regiments of Radcliffe and Clingman have been ordered to New Berne. In the mean time draw re-enforcements from Wilmington, if practicable.

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

{p.443}

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RICHMOND, VA., March 13, 1862.

Major-General PEMBERTON, Pocotaligo, S. C.:

Send Radcliffe’s and Clingman’s regiments to New Berne, N. C., to report to General Branch. Will be replaced by two regiments from Georgia.

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

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RICHMOND, VA., March 14, 1862.

Brigadier-General GATLIN, Goldsborough:

What have you done about destroying cotton? What re-enforcements have you sent to New Berne? What are your plans? Keep us constantly advised. Have you established a line of signals to New Berne?

J. P. BENJAMIN.

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GOLDSBOROUGH, March 14, 1862.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN:

An officer has just arrived from New Berne, who reports that the town fell into the hands of the enemy at 10 or 11 a.m. to-day, and that the troops are falling back in the direction of Kinston. I will try to hold the line of railroad between New Berne and this place, but to prevent the advance of the enemy large re-enforcements will be required.

A general order was issued in regard to cotton on the 9th instant.

R. C. GATLIN, Brigadier-General, commanding.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Goldsborough, March 14, 1862.

General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:

GENERAL: I had the honor to send to-day to the honorable-Secretary of War a telegram announcing the fall of New Berne. I have received no report from Brigadier-General Branch, who commanded, and I learn was on the railroad 10 miles this side of New Berne at sunset this evening with a part of his forces. I design to collect at Kinston all those who have passed General B., as at that point the several roads on which they may have retreated join. No re-enforcements reached New Berne in time to take part in the action. I have summoned General Anderson to my assistance, and will place the troops in such position as may seem best. In the mean time I will telegraph General Lee for advice as to the best line of defense it will be advisable to adopt.

My health for some time past has not been such as to warrant my taking the field, and for a few days past have been confined to my room; otherwise I should have been present to have conducted the operations in person.

A telegram from the Secretary of War to-day would indicate that he had not seen my report, accompanied by a return of the troops in General {p.444} Branch’s district. If such is the case, I beg that it may be laid before him.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. C. GATLIN, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

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SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 51.}

HDQRS. DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, Goldsborough, March 14, 1862.

I. Col. James H. Lane, Twenty-eighth Regiment North Carolina troops, will assume command of all troops in this vicinity, who have escaped from New Berne, and proceed with them to Kinston.

...

By order of Major-General Gatlin:

JOHN W. GRAHAM, Aide-de-Camp.

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RICHMOND, VA., March 14, 1862.

General JOSEPH R. ANDERSON, Wilmington, N. C.:

Send such re-enforcements as you can, to report to General Gatlin immediately. Halt, if necessary, in their stead Radcliffe’s and Clingman’s regiments, on way from North [South] Carolina.

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

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RICHMOND, VA., March 15, 1862.

Gov. HENRY T. CLARK, Raleigh:

Large re-enforcements are immediately requisite for the defense of your State. The regiments of Clingman and Radcliffe have been ordered back to Wilmington. Call on your people to arm in defense of their homes. Send all the men you can to Weldon ss rapidly as possible. I will find means to arm them all. I pray you to allow no time to be lost.

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

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STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Raleigh, March 15, 1862.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War, Richmond:

SIR: On Wednesday, the 12th, the Burnside expedition appeared in large force below our batteries on the Neuse, opened fire on the next morning about 8 o’clock a.m., and in latter part of the day effected a landing of a large body of troops, estimated about 25,000.

On Friday our force, about 5,000, engaged them in the morning, and after a severe conflict of two or three hours were outflanked and nearly surrounded.

In the mean time the fleet had passed the river batteries and entered the Trent River off the town and behind our troops, who were on the {p.445} opposite bank from the town. Our troops, thus overpowered and nearly surrounded, made such an escape as they could, and many no doubt were captured, but I have no reliable knowledge of this or of the casualties on either side.

New Berne being in possession of the enemy, we have no communication there, except from some refugees or stragglers.

The hard fighting that took place disposes me to believe that there was considerable mortality on both sides.

I suppose you will soon have official reports.

I hear much complaint and criticism among the people of the absence of General Gatlin from the field of battle and his entire neglect and inattention to the coast defenses of his command for the last five months, and they judge of this neglect and inattention from the alleged fact that he has not during that period visited and examined the fortifications and inspected the troops more than once, if at all, during his command of six months, notwithstanding his headquarters are in easy railroad communication of both Generals Anderson’s and Branch’s commands.

I am only stating what I hear constantly around me. Perhaps his headquarters is the proper place for him, but the people so deeply interested in their own homes and interests expected the benefit of his military knowledge and experience, and [are] greatly distressed that they have not had it, and regard with much anxiety his want of attention to their safety and interest and what they believe was his special business.

The present prospect is that we shall soon have our quota, five regiments, and probably more, and I am looking to you for the supply of arms.

In connection with the formation of these regiments I will take the liberty of suggesting to you some regulation or legislation to inquire by examination or otherwise into the qualification of the commissioned officers.

It seems now that there is manifest want of attention to the proper requisite for an officer. In the great number there must necessarily be many that are not qualified, but still there should be some means of ascertaining the fitness of at least commanding officers of companies, regiments, and brigades, and regulations, general in their application, would or ought to prove acceptable. Too much has to be intrusted to the commanding officer.

Very respectfully,

HENRY T. CLARK.

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SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 60.}

ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL’S OFFICE, Richmond, March 15, 1862.

...

XIV. Brig. Gen. Richard C. Gatlin is relieved from duty in North Carolina on account of ill health, and will be succeeded in the command of the Department of North Carolina by Brig. Gen. Joseph R. Anderson.

XV. Brig. Gen. Samuel G. French will repair to Wilmington, N. C., and relieve Brigadier-General Anderson in the command of that district.*

{p.446}

XVI. Brig. Gen. Carter. L. Stevenson will report to Major-General Huger for assignment with troops on the line of railroad near Weldon,

N. C.

By command of the Secretary of War:

JNO. WITHERS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* See General Orders, No. 13,dated at Wilmington, N. C., March 22, 1862, p. 450.

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RICHMOND, VA., March 17, 1862.

Gov. HENRY T. CLARK, Raleigh:

I did not request that militia should be called out. If not armed, they would be of no service. I will arm all the volunteers you send. If you have more than two regiments, send the remainder to Goldsborough. Tents, camp equipage, and blankets will be sent immediately to Goldsborough.

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

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STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Raleigh, March 17, 1802.

His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS, President of the Confederate States:

SIR: I have the honor to present to you the inclosed memorial and resolutions of the people of Wilmington, which have just been handed to me, and I feel a deep anxiety that it should receive your attentive consideration. I would not press it on your attention if I could grant them assistance myself, but I have no troops at my disposal, and a call for militia, with their tardiness of action, destitution of arms, and the requisite of a soldier, leaves no hope of benefit from them.

The only troops at Wilmington are the few that I could put there, and insufficient as they were, they have been removed by Confederate officers to other positions, till there are less than 1,500 left, which could not resist even a fourth of the Burnside expedition.

Wilmington has the great machine-shops, the railroad connections (our only means of getting salt), furnishes the materials, support, and access for the Confederate States Arsenal. Any one of these presents sufficient claims to be defended by the Confederate States, and it must be done quickly or not at all for it is doubtless the next move of Burnside, which will destroy the last connection of North Carolina with the ocean.

The people of Wilmington must know in time what to depend on, either to be defended or to seek safety in flight. If the great public interests will not secure a defense for them, they must secure their private interests as far as possible by removal to some more secure spot.

I will take the liberty of further adding that the adjacent counties to Wilmington have sent out an unusual number of volunteers, who are now absent on duty elsewhere, and presents the great difficulty of procuring within reach any amount of militia.

I take pleasure in introducing to you the committee who present these resolutions, Messrs. Strange, Thomas, and De Rosset, and hope they will enlist your attention in behalf of a cause which so munch interests both you and them.

I have the honor to be, most respectfully, yours,

HENRY T. CLARK.

{p.447}

[Inclosure.]

OFFICE OF THE COMMITTEE OF SAFETY, FOE THE TOWN OF WILMINGTON, Wilmington, N. C., March 15, 1862.

At a meeting of the Committee of Safety held this day the following resolutions were adopted:

Resolved, That Maj. Robert Strange, A. J. De Rosset, and W. G. Thomas, as representatives from the Committee of Safety of the town of Wilmington, forthwith proceed to the city of Raleigh, and confer with the Governor of this State on the subject-matter of the defenses connected with this portion of the State of North Carolina, representing to him the present condition of these defenses, the amount of the forces connected with them, and all such facts in relation to this subject-matter necessary to a full knowledge of our true condition.

Resolved, That said committee ascertain from the Governor what are his views as to the defense of this portion of the State, and if his purpose he to make such defense, that he be requested, without delay, to provide a competent force, with necessary munitions of war, for that purpose.

Resolved, That said committee, after conferring with the Governor, proceed to the city of Richmond, and ascertain, if practicable, the intentions of the Confederate States in reference to the defenses of the town of Wilmington.

S. D. WALLACE, Secretary.

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SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 61.}

ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL’S OFFICE, Richmond, March 17, 1862.

...

XV. Brig. Gen. Robert Ransom will proceed without delay to Goldsborough, N. C., and report to Brig. Gen. Joseph R. Anderson, commanding, for duty with the troops in the field.

By command of the Secretary of Wat:

JNO. WITHERS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 53.}

HDQRS. DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, Goldsborough, March 17, 1862.

...

II. Brig. Gen. Samuel G. French, C. S. Army, having reported for duty in this department, agreeably to Special Orders, No. 1, from Headquarters, Richmond, Va., March 14,* 1862, is hereby assigned to time command of the District of the Pamlico, which district embraces the counties of Edgecombe, Wilson, Pitt, Greene, Wayne, Lenoir, Duplin, Jones, Carteret, Craven, Beaufort, and Hyde.

The troops in the field in that district will be formed into two brigades, as follows:

The First (or French’s) Brigade will consist of the Seventh, Twenty-sixth, Twenty-seventh, Thirty-fifth Regiments, and Maj. L. H. Rogers’ battalion of infantry. North Carolina troops; Captains Sutton, Tripp, Rodman, Lane, Harding, Mallett, and Whitehurst’s companies of foot artillery, which will be formed into a battalion, tinder the command of Capt. William Sutton; Captains Jones and Grisham’s batteries, and Colonel Spruill’s cavalry.

The Second (Branch’s) Brigade will consist of the Eighteenth, Twenty-fifth, Twenty-eighth, Thirty-third, and Thirty-seventh Regiments North {p.448} Carolina troops; Captains Whitford’s, Mayo’s, Leecraft’s, and Herring’s companies of foot artillery, which will be formed into a battalion, under the command of Capt. John N. Whitford; Latham’s and Bunting’s batteries, and Captain Evans’ cavalry.

Any other companies or parts of companies not embraced in the foregoing will be assigned to brigades by Brigadier-General French; who will immediately report the same to these headquarters.

...

By order of [Brig. Gen. J. R. Anderson]:

R. H. RIDDICK, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* (March 15th.) See Special Orders, No. 60, March 15, 1862, from Adjutant and Inspector General’s Office, Richmond, p. 445.

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GENERAL ORDERS, No. 1.}

HEADQUARTERS, Kinston, March 18, 1862.

In accordance with Special Orders, No. 53, Headquarters Department of North Carolina, dated March 17, the undersigned assumes command of the troops in the field in the District of Pamlico, which district embraces the counties of Edgecombe, Wilson, Wayne, Lenoir, Duplin, Jones, Carteret, Craven, Beaufort, Pitt, Greene, and Hyde.

S. G. FRENCH, Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.

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HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF PAMLICO, Kinston, March 18, 1862.

General R. E. LEE, Richmond:

GENERAL: I. I have not given this section of country, as regards defense, any consideration until within the last two days, but from what I have seen of the country and the force of the enemy I have drawn certain conclusions.

II. This place cannot be defended, because it is an open, level country, with roads enabling the place to be flanked. A column of the enemy approaching by the road on the, left bank gains our left flank. The stage road and railroad cross about a mile from each other in our front, and then another crossing at White Hall, some miles above us, gaining our rear; besides, wagon roads numerously intersect them. The river is also boatable.

III. If the rail of the road be taken up, which I would advise, it would prevent its use by the enemy hereafter, and he could, if he advances, be better and more successfully fought near Goldsborough, farther from his base of operations and in a more defensible country. Further, the country abandoned is sterile and destitute of supplies.

IV. The force concentrated at or near Goldsborough would be in a strategic position, and available for Wilmington and Suffolk.

V. From numerous sources, especially Captain Meade, Engineers, and other officers, I am informed that, should the expedition depart for Wilmington, they can land readily on the land which forms the sound south of Sandy Hall Inlet, and, as it connects with the main-land, get to the rear of the city.

The sound also is at the south end easily forded; after which it becomes deep and the main shore easily approached by boats; hence a land force in strength is necessary for the defense of the place. This might probably be sent in time from Goldsborough.

{p.449}

VI. Hence I recommend the destruction of this road to Goldsborough and concentration of forces at that point. I know, however, that you have better means of knowing the ease with which a force can be landed for the attack on Wilmington than I have collected in the two days I have been here, amidst a press of business.

The defenses against attack on Wilmington by water are represented as being good. You will excuse my making these suggestions to you, who have doubtless considered them. I have thought they could do no harm in any event. One of the surgeons who went to New Berne has returned. He reports that General Burnside told him candidly that he had 27,000 men, and that he knew every regiment and the exact nature of the fortifications at New Berne before the attack, and he named all the regiments with perfect familiarity.

Yours, very truly,

S. G. FRENCH, Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.

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RICHMOND, VA., March 20, 1862.

Governor HENRY T. CLARK, Raleigh, N. C.:

Call on every man in your State that can come with arms to rally with the utmost dispatch to defend your line of railroad.

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, March 20, 1862.

General R. E. LEE, General, Commanding:

SIR: As I reported by telegraph, I have dispatched to Goldsborough, to report to Brigadier-General Anderson, the Louisiana Battalion, the Georgia Battalion, Major Hardeman, and Col. D. H. Hamilton’s regiment South Carolina Volunteers.

This latter regiment has eleven companies, one of which (Captain McIntosh’s) has a battery of field artillery (four guns).

I last night received your dispatch to send to Goldsborough Colonel Leventhorpe’s regiment from Hamilton, N. C., Colonel Hoke’s regiment from Weldon, N. C., and Brig. Gen. Howell Cobb’s brigade from Suffolk. The orders were dispatched at once and receipt acknowledged, except from Colonel Leventhorpe, who cannot be reached so soon. The railroad has been notified and transportation arranged.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., March 21, 1862.

Maj. Gen. B. HUGER, Commanding Department Norfolk, Va.:

GENERAL: I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 20th instant, reporting the execution of orders for the movement of troops {p.450} in your department to Goldsborough. The battalions of Louisiana and Georgia Volunteers which you forwarded, to report to General Anderson, it is presumed were sent in lieu of the regiments of Colonels Clarke and Armistead; it was not intended that more should be sent than were specified in telegrams of 19th As regards the regiment of Colonel Leventhorpe, stationed at Hamilton, about which you yesterday telegraphed, I do not see that much can be gained in keeping him at that place. Should the enemy attack him, so small a force could do but little to resist him, and would afford no material impediment to his further progress. It would seem much more desirable to concentrate the troops nearer the railroad and keep them light and movable, so as to re-enforce readily any point of the road he might seriously threaten. The guns and all other munitions at Hamilton should of course be removed, and could be devoted to the strengthening of other points of defense in your department.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General, Commanding.

Unless wanted elsewhere in your department, it is suggested to send the section of Captain Bruce’s artillery which was at Hamilton to Goldsborough, where it is likely to be much needed.

–––

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 13.}

HDQRS. DISTRICT OF THE CAPE FEAR, Wilmington, N. C., March 22, 1862.

The undersigned, by virtue of Special Orders, No. 60, Adjutant and Inspector General’s Office, Richmond, dated March 15, 1862, hereby assumes command of the District of the Cape Fear, embracing the counties of New Hanover, Onslow, Brunswick, Robeson, Cumberland, Bladen, Columbus, and Sampson.

S. G. FRENCH, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, March 23, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Commanding, &c., Richmond, Va.:

GENERAL: You will proceed with the troops under your command to Goldsborough, N. C., and take command of the operations in that department. It will be your object to make arrangements to ascertain whether the enemy will advance upon Goldsborough or Wilmington, and to use your whole force to repel them and to protect the railroad. Orders will be issued placing you in command, and the troops from the Department of Northern Virginia will be forwarded to you as soon as possible.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General, Commanding.

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SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 67.

ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL’S OFFICE, Richmond, March 24, 1862.

...

XXVI. Maj. Gen. Theophilus H. Holmes is assigned to the command {p.451} of the Department of North Carolina, and will proceed to Goldsborough and relieve Brig. Gen. Joseph R. Anderson.

XXVII. The following troops will proceed at once to Goldsborough, N. C., and report for duty to the commanding general of the Department of North Carolina:

First Regiment North Carolina Volunteers, Colonel M. S. Stokes.

Second Regiment North Carolina Volunteers, Colonel C. C. Tew.

Third Regiment North Carolina Volunteers, Colonel G. Meares.

Third Regiment Arkansas Volunteers, Colonel V. H. Manning.

Thirtieth Regiment Virginia Volunteers, Colonel R. M. Cary.

Captain Cooke’s battery.

XXVIII. The troops composing General Wilcox’s brigade will be forwarded immediately on their arrival in this city to Goldsborough, N. C., and will report for duty to Major-General Holmes, commanding Department of North Carolina.

...

XXX. Brig. Gen. J. G. Walker will proceed with his brigade, and the battery attached, to Goldsborough, N. C., and report for duty to Maj. Gen. Theophilus H. Holmes, commanding Department of North Carolina.

By command of the Secretary of War:

JNO. WITHERS, Assistant Adjutant-General

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Kinston, March 25, 1862.

General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:

GENERAL: As I advised you by telegraph, I arrived here yesterday. I found some confusion in the army, arising from the recent events at New Berne. In a few days I trust order and system will be restored.

The accounts I am able to get as to the plans of the enemy are conflicting naturally, but that he will move forward in this direction or on Wilmington I presume there is no doubt.

Under these circumstances I thought it best for General French to proceed to Wilmington and assume command, though I regretted much to lose his services here. I also concluded to halt Starke’s regiment and Moore’s battery at that point for the present, and the forces coming from the north at Goldsborough, from which point they may be moved quickly, as the emergency may require.

I have the honor to forward a letter from General French, written while he was in command.* I concur in his views as to this position, and while I push my pickets down to feel the enemy’s within 3 or 4 miles of New Berne, and will send down large scouting parties with a view of annoying his progress if he commences a march, it is my opinion that it will be better to fall back gradually some 10 or 15 miles before fully testing our strength, with a view of finding more favorable ground.

Still, there is no ground between this and Goldsborough on which we can intrench without being likely to have our flanks turned by a superior force, so level and firm is the ground, intersected by various roads. {p.452} I will be pleased to have the advice of the Commanding General. In the mean time, we will do our best to watch and protect both points, Goldsborough and Wilmington.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

J. R. ANDERSON, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

* See French to Lee, March 18, p. 448.

–––

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 68.}

ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL’S OFFICE, Richmond, March 25, 1862.

...

VI. General Wilcox’s brigade will be halted at Weldon, N. C., until the object of the enemy is disclosed.

...

By command of the Secretary of War:

JNO. WITHERS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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GENERAL ORDERS, No. 6.}

HDQRS. DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, Goldsborough, N. C., March 25, 1862.

I. Under instructions from the President, the undersigned assumes command of the Department of North Carolina.

II. Maj. Archer Anderson is announced as assistant adjutant-general.

TH. H. HOLMES, Major-General, P. A. C. S.

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GENERAL ORDERS, No. 7.}

HDQRS. DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, March 25, 1862.

The enemy are before us and must advance at an early day. If we do not defeat him North Carolina will be under his worse than vandal despotism. Let us all, then, give ourselves up, body and mind, to the sacred duties of her defense. To effect this the strictest discipline must be preserved, and the commanders of companies, regiments, and brigades are required to enforce the most exact obedience to all orders and regulations. Until further orders no furloughs will be granted, nor will any officer or soldier be permitted to leave his camp without permission from his brigade commander. The most active system of drills will be instituted, and every commanding officer is held responsible that his command is ready to march at a moment’s notice.

By order of Maj. Gen. T. H. Holmes:

WM. NORWOOD, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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GOLDSBOROUGH, March 27, 1862.

General R. E. LEE:

MY DEAR SIR: There appears to be no disposition on the part of the enemy to advance in this direction. From the best information I {p.453} have I doubt if he has more than three or four regiments in New Berne, and on Monday last there were but five or six steamers at the wharves. It is believed by General Branch that their army is encamped below the town and across the Trent, which is 2,000 yards wide, and on which they have destroyed the bridges as high up as Trenton. They have established a ferry over it at New Berne, but permit no citizen, under any pretense, to pass over. I have sent secret agents to ascertain, if possible, whether they are there or not. I am waiting most anxiously their report. The inclosed sketch will show you the supposed position of the enemy and its surroundings.*

I went yesterday to examine into the position and condition of the army under General Branch. I was assured by the colonels that there was no demoralization, and that the men were tolerably well supplied and most anxious to advance. The position they occupy, 7 miles this side of Kinston,is too far from the enemy, and I shall order General Ransom, with Iris brigade, to advance 5 or 6 miles beyond Kinston to some point from whence he can more closely watch the enemy. Instead of sending General Anderson back to Wilmington I have given him a brigade. I did so because General French was already there, and perfectly acquainted with the particular kind of duty required there. If Wilcox’s brigade and the First North Carolina Cavalry are subject to my orders I shall let them remain at Weldon for the present, and authorize the commanding officer of that department to use them if the enemy makes his appearance in that direction. I have ordered six companies who have been drilled at heavy artillery to report to General French in Wilmington. This will make the batteries there secure against their Navy, and I hope to have timely notice before they can land to send troops from here to give him battle.

The Governor of North Carolina has detained the arms sent to me until he can hear from you on the subject of using them for arming certain regiments that he has organized in Raleigh. It would be a thousand times better if those regiments were sent to me here, in order that they may be properly brigaded and instructed. If possible, send General Whiting to report to me.

I am, General, very respectfully,

TH. H. HOLMES, Major-General, Commanding.

–––

GOLDSBOROUGH, March 28, 1862.

General R. E. LEE, Commanding:

MY DEAR SIR: Every appearance indicates that the enemy does not design to advance in this direction at present, but rather that he is seeking to possess himself of the counties along the coast and to invest Fort Macon. If an attack is made on Wilmington I believe it will be by other troops than those under Burnside, for I am assured that their transports draw too much water to cross the Swash Channel when loaded, and that they were three weeks entering the sound, having been obliged to unload them before doing so. I have very little doubt that the force here is able to retake New Berne, but I fear to move until it is ascertained that they will not be required at Wilmington or some other new point of attack. Please inform me what you think and wish about it. I am oppressed with the responsibility upon me. The {p.454} tremendous issue involved makes it necessary that a more able brain than mine should direct. Please, therefore my dear General, come and straighten out this tangled yarn.

Since writing the above your telegram is received.* I can drive the enemy out of New Berne, because I can transport the troops by rail; but their main army is below, and I can only reach it by crossing the Trent high up and marching down, which can only be done after I have collected transportation enough to carry provisions. See the sketch I sent you two days ago I am making every effort to procure transportation, but my quartermaster wants experience and is inefficient. Please send me Major Cone or some other who knows and will do his duty. If you think I can attack New Berne without the fear of being out of place when another point is attacked I will do so at once, though from the best evidence I have there are not more than 4,000 men there, and they can retire beyond the Trent without my being able to follow.

The people here are to a certain extent reassured. They are loyal and true-hearted, but a deep and dangerous despondency, even among the members of the Convention, had taken possession of them, and hence the great necessity of some able man to command here for if this army should meet with a reverse the political consequences would be disastrous in the extreme. If you cannot come and G. W. Smith’s health will permit it, please send him. I will assist him in every way possible, and will be pleased to serve under him if he is a good general.

I am, General, yours, very respectfully,

TH. H. HOLMES, Major-General.

* Omitted as of no present value.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., March 29, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Commanding, &c., Goldsborough, N. C.:

GENERAL: I am directed by General Lee, commanding, to acknowledge the receipt at these headquarters of the letter of General French of March 18, 1862, from Kinston, N. C., forwarded by and inclosed in one of the 25th instant from General Anderson, in reference to the disposition of the forces at Goldsborough and Wilmington, copies of which are doubtless in your possession; also of your two telegrams of the 27th instant.*

In reply the General wishes me to say that it now rests with you to assume such a line with your army as may to your judgment appear best for the protection of the railroad and the security of Goldsborough and Wilmington; and should there be no indications to lead you to infer that the enemy intend to threaten seriously either of those places, you should so dispose your command as to re-enforce Suffolk, as it is not unlikely the enemy may turn their attention to that point, with a view of carrying out a combined movement upon Portsmouth and Norfolk. Being on the ground, however, you have the best opportunity of observing the enemy’s movements and divining his intentions. Circumstances must, however, in some measure control your actions.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. A. WASHINGTON, Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Not found.

{p.455}

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Abstract from report of the troops of the Department of North Carolina, commanded by Maj. Gen. T. H. Holmes, Goldsborough., N. C., March 31, 1862.

Troops.Present for duty.Effective present.Aggregate present.Aggregate present and absent.Pieces of artillery.
Officers.Men.Heavy.Field.
Infantry92115,90916,43619,84823,574
Cavalry701,3641,4001,5811,833
Artillery1141,9942,0882,6013,167481142
Grand total1,16519,26719,92424,03028,574481142

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va. , April 1, 1862.

General T. H. HOLMES, Commanding Department of North Carolina:

GENERAL: From your telegraphic dispatches I learn that the enemy apparently is making no forward movement, nor do you appear to be able to discover that he is making any preparations with that view. That leads me to fear that while making demonstrations in that quarter and on the Peninsula against General Magruder, his real object is to attack Norfolk from both sides, with the force now collecting at Hampton and neighborhood on one side and that under General Burnside on the other. I desire you, therefore, to watch the movements of the enemy vigilantly, and at the same time so to post your troops that while restraining his operations you may readily re-enforce any point attacked. If Wilmington should be the point, you must concentrate there. If Norfolk, it will be necessary to move all your disposable force there.

With this view it might be well to hold a portion of your troops at Weldon. This will depend upon your facilities for moving, and of this you may judge.

I am, with high respect, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General, Commanding.

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HEADQUARTERS, Goldsborough, April 2, 1862.

General R. E. LEE, Commanding Army:

GENERAL: From information received from a Federal prisoner and from Dr. West, C. S. P. A., just returned from New Berne, I have very little doubt that General Burnside will confine his present operations to the coast from New Berne to Fort Macon. Hoping to reduce the latter, he is fortifying New Berne, and has divided his forces between the two places. I am convinced that none of his command have left the coast, and every appearance indicates that he is striving to conciliate the people and designs a permanent possession. His transports have been sent off, and it may be they have gone for re-enforcements, or rather for troops with whom to make an expedition {p.456} up the Albemarle Sound or against Wilmington. I much doubt if they will make any attack requiring land transportation.

Your telegram is received. I will hold my disposable force ready to march at a moment’s notice, though I do not believe it should be moved until it is certain it will all be required elsewhere. It has reassured the people here, and to a certain extent restored confidence where I grieve to say, despondency was fast generating indifference to our cause, and if the troops are removed without a necessity, perfectly apparent to the people, it will produce a panic that will be most serious in its effects. I shall therefore make no move until further instructed by you.

I am, General, very respectfully,

TH. H. HOLMES, Major-General, Commanding.

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HEADQUARTERS, Goldsborough, April 6, 1862.

General R. E. LEE, Commanding Army, C. S. A.:

GENERAL: I telegraphed you yesterday that I should not send the troops to Suffolk until further developments of the enemy’s intentions. General Burnside’s whole force is available for an invasion in this direction, and my efficient force (12,000), including the troops that were defeated near New Berne, is not more than would be required to resist him.

A serious panic will result if it be materially diminished, and as there is a general feeling that North Carolina has been neglected by the Government, the steps I have taken to reassure the people and restore confidence would be to a great extent nullified, and hence it is that I shall wait until I am certain that a blow will be struck at another point, or until, in your superior wisdom and better information, you shall direct me otherwise.

The Georgia regiments have not arrived, and yesterday the Governor of North Carolina ordered Rogers’ battalion of five companies back to Raleigh to complete its organization as a regiment. I permitted it to go, because it had not been turned over to the Confederate Government and had been ordered here only to meet an emergency.

I have ordered a large amount of transportation to be collected here, so as to throw the command in the shortest time possible to any point where it may be required.

There are in Raleigh five or six regiments organized, or partially so, but as they have not been turned over to the Government I have no authority over them. Would it not be well to receive them as they are, in order that I could arrange for their proper instruction while waiting to be armed?

I thank you, General, for the kind confidence you so blindly repose in me, and can only pray that God will give me strength to justify it.

I am, General, very respectfully,

TH. H. HOLMES, Major-General.

P. S.-I received a letter from General Burnside, saying that he had released on parole our sick and wounded, and requested me to release certain of his prisoners. As the United States Government acted in {p.457} bad faith with us in reference to an exchange of prisoners, I did not answer his letter or take other action on it than to send to Washington for the released sick.

TH. H. HOLMES, Major-General.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., April 9, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Commanding, &c., Goldsborough, N. C.:

GENERAL: Your letter of the 6th instant is received. Your views with reference to the disposition of the troops of your command are approved. I recommend the utmost diligence in getting information as to the movements of the enemy, and that you hold yourself fully prepared to move rapidly to any threatened point.

General Huger, by telegram, dated the 8th, informs me that Colonel Ferebee, North Carolina Militia, reports to him that the enemy have landed some 2,000 men at Elizabeth City.

Your attention is specially directed to this report and to any movement in that direction. I think that if an attack be made on Norfolk it will be from the south side. The presence of the Virginia will, in my opinion, deter the enemy from attempting a movement on Norfolk from the direction of Fort Monroe or by way of Elizabeth River.

I have directed the Georgia regiments to be sent to you at once, and as soon as they arrive you will do everything in your power to arm and prepare them for service. I am informed by Major Ashe, of North Carolina, that large numbers of country rifles and other arms can be collected in that State, and I have directed him to get all he can. You will also do everything in your power to collect arms for the troops that you will receive.

With reference to the North Carolina troops, I am desirous that you should have them as soon as possible, and the Governor of North Carolina has been written to on the subject. I desire that you shall do whatever may be in your power to expedite the matter, and as soon as the troops arrive proceed to organize and prepare them for service, and after arming the Georgia troops, those from North Carolina that are unprovided with arms can be supplied with such as remain from what Major Ashe or yourself may collect or any others that may be sent to you.

With reference to the exchange of prisoners, I would state that while I believe the enemy have acted in bad faith in the matter, it is not desirable to follow a bad example. If you have, any sick or wounded prisoners of the enemy I would advise their release in return for the release of ours by General Burnside.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General, Commanding.

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HEADQUARTERS, Goldsborough, April 10, 1862.

General R. E. LEE, Commanding Army:

GENERAL: The enemy were re-enforced at New Berne on Thursday last by about 4,000 men; whether they were from the North or his reserve {p.458} brought up from Hatteras and Roanoke Island I don’t know. He has taken possession of Beaufort, and Fort Macon is invested; he is also fortifying New Berne by a line of intrenchments extending from one river to the other.

I see no signs of an advance in this direction. As near as I can ascertain, his present position is, viz: 2,000 men about Beaufort, 4,000 in New Berne, and the remainder of his army across the Trent, opposite. If I attack New Berne, he can concentrate and fight me if he thinks proper, or he can cross over the Trent and leave me to be shelled out of the town from both rivers by his gunboats. This would also imply the destruction of the town, which would not only cause great misery among the poor people who remained there, but would add to the lukewarmness that threatens to culminate here into indifference to the cause. I have no words to express my disappointment and distress at this feeling, particularly as I can expect comparatively little sympathy beyond my power to protect property.

I am, general, very respectfully,

TH. H. HOLMES, Major-General.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, April 15, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Commanding Department, Goldsborough, N. C.:

GENERAL: I have had the honor to receive your letter of 13th instant,* inclosing reports of the disposition and movements of the enemy in your front and of the state of affairs in Fort Macon. I am deeply grieved to hear of the discontent and insubordination which is reported to exist among the troops in Fort Macon. In addition to other matters, Lieutenant Fenrose tells me they complain of their fare. This is munch to be regretted, but I suppose is now beyond remedy. Indeed from the accounts given me I very much doubt whether even a tolerable resistance would be made if the fort were attacked, and you are authorized, if it be possible, to withdraw the garrison and secure such of the public property as can be brought off, if you think it advisable.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General Commanding.

* Not found.

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HEADQUARTERS, Goldsborough, April 15, 1862.

Maj. Gen. R. E. LEE:

MY DEAR GENERAL: The letters I sent you by Lieutenant Primrose showed the strength of the enemy. On this coast he has twenty regiments in the immediate vicinity of New Berne and three near Fort Macon. His only reserve is about 3,000 men at Roanoke Island. His effective force is probably about 20,000, with ten gunboats in the Neuse and Trent Rivers.

My effective force is about 14,000, three of the regiments being raw recruits.

{p.459}

I am having accurate maps made of all the country between here and New Berne, as the last service I can render to the general you must send here to command. Believe me, my dear General, this is not false modesty on my part; I know my deficiencies, and I love the cause too much to permit its vital interests to be intrusted to my management. All my life has been passed in executing the orders of others; send therefore a superior to me, or else change me for another who is capable, or who has his own as well as your confidence.

Do not ascribe this to a want of ambition or to diffidence, but rather believe that I know myself and have the honesty to sacrifice my vanity to the interest of my country. I can execute, but I cannot originate.

I am, general, yours very faithfully,

TH. H. HOLMES, Brigadier-General.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., April 19, 1862.

General J. G. MARTIN, Adjutant-General of North Carolina, Raleigh:

GENERAL: Your letter of the 16th instant to Major-General Holmes in reference to the condition, &c., of the new North Carolina troops at Raleigh, has been referred to me. I regret very much to hear of the great reduction in their strength by sickness and of the inability on the part of the State to furnish them with arms. All arms that were available have been forwarded to General Holmes, to be placed in the hands of the unarmed troops in his department. It was hoped that the State would succeed in collecting numbers of private arms for the new regiments and by this time have them ready for the field. I have been compelled to remove one regiment from General Holmes’ command and may have to deprive him of more. I had relied upon the new regiments to replace those removed. It is earnestly requested that you will spare no efforts to get them in condition for active field service.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General.

–––

Abstract from statement of the troops serving in the Department of North Carolina, commanded by Maj. Gen. T. H. Holmes, April 19, 1862.

Troops.Effective Total.Aggregate present.Aggregate present and absent.
1st (Ransom’s) Brigade4,2954,9546,211
2d (Branch’s) Brigade3,1693,8204,795
3d (Anderson’s) Brigade2,8734,0304,665
4th (Walker’s) Brigade3,6934,5205,373
District of the Cape Fear (French)3,6234,3694,962
Fort Macon (White)294375427
Total17,94722,06826,433
{p.460}

Organization of the troops serving in the Department of North Carolina, commanded by Maj. Gen. T. H. Holmes, April 19, 1862.

  • FIRST BRIGADE.*
    Brig. Gen. R. RANSOM, commanding.
    • 25th North Carolina.
    • 26th North Carolina.
    • 27th North Carolina.
    • 35th North Carolina.
    • Battalion North Carolina.
    • 9th North Carolina (1st Cavalry).
    • 19th North Carolina (2d Cavalry).
    • Evans’ North Carolina Troop.
    • Grisham’s Mississippi Battery.
    • Jones’ North Carolina Battery.
  • SECOND BRIGADE.*
    Brig. Gen. L. O’B. BRANCH, commanding.
    • 7th North Carolina.
    • 18th North Carolina.
    • 28th North Carolina.
    • 33d North Carolina.
    • 37th North Carolina.
    • North Carolina Battery.
    • Bunting’s North Carolina Battery.
    • Latham’s North Carolina Battery.
  • THIRD BRIGADE.
    Brig. Gen. J. R. ANDERSON, commanding.
    • 45th Georgia.
    • 49th Georgia.
    • 3d Louisiana Battalion.
    • 34th North Carolina.
    • 38th North Carolina.
    • 1st South Carolina (Hamilton’s).
    • Battery (section of), Lieutenant Bouldin.
    • Battery (four pieces), Captain McIntosh.
  • FOURTH BRIGADE.
    Brig. Gen. J. G. WALKER, commanding.
    • 3d Arkansas.
    • 44th Georgia.
    • 1st North Carolina.
    • 2d North Carolina.
    • 3d North Carolina.
    • 30th Virginia.
    • French’s Virginia Battery.

Official.

ARCHER ANDERSON, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* The First and Second Brigades constituted a division under Branch’s command.

** Composition of garrison not indicated.

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HEADQUARTERS, Goldsborough, April 20, 1862.

General R. E. LEE, Commanding C. S. Army:

GENERAL: I have little doubt that the force of the enemy that landed at Elizabeth City was taken from Roanoke Island, where four days ago they had a reserve of 3,000 men. I am almost certain that they have withdrawn no men from New Berne. They have repaired a bridge that we burned 7 miles this side of New Berne, and have advanced three regiments there, but as they have no transportation, I doubt if they intend a serious advance.

I have directed Colonel Deshler to make an estimate for funds to {p.461} pay for private arms. None can be had unless they are paid for at the time.

I am deeply pained and mortified at the apathy that pervades the people, and have utterly failed in my efforts to arouse them.

Relative to the Enfield rifles, I had issued them, according to your instructions, to the three Georgia regiments. There was a small overplus, which I gave to the flank companies of other regiments. If I should take them from the Georgia regiments it would produce discontent, and as most of the flank companies have rifles of one sort or another, I think it best not to disturb them.

If you do not insist on it I will not send a regiment to Wilmington for the present to take the place of Colonel Starke’s, as there is no indication of danger in that direction.

I am, General, very respectfully,

TH. H. HOLMES, Major-General.

–––

HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., April 20, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Commanding, &c., Goldsborough, N. C.:

GENERAL: The demand for arms from all sides is so great and their scarcity so keenly felt, that I deem it proper to call your attention to the importance of making a judicious distribution of the rifles recently sent you. By a letter from General Martin to you, of the 16th instant, I am advised of the inability of the State of North Carolina to arm the regiments now in camp at Raleigh. I have written to him, urging that the State make all possible efforts by procuring private arms, &c., to arm them. The rifles sent you were of a very fine quality, and I suggest that you place them in the hands of the flanking companies of the regiments, and give the balance muskets or such private arms as can be procured. The rifles will thus be made to do much towards enhancing the efficiency of each regiment. If you can use them and desire it, I can order a number of pikes to be sent you. Owing to the lack of fire-arms some of these have been sent to nearly every army in the field, and, if well handled and wisely distributed, will undoubtedly do good service.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., April 20, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Commanding Department, Goldsborough, N. C.:

GENERAL: I am directed by General Lee to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 18th instant, wherein you state that you cannot recommend the withdrawal of Colonel Starke’s regiment from your department, and to say that, the necessity having become urgent for additional troops between Fredericksburg and this city, he on yesterday telegraphed you to send this regiment, at the same time ordering one from the departments of South Carolina and Georgia to this place. No other consideration influenced him in doing this except the necessities {p.462} of the service, and he hopes that you will soon be able to replace the regiment taken from you by one of the new regiments now at Raleigh.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. H. TAYLOR, Assistant Adjutant-General.

If the regiment has not started, the General desires you to send it immediately.

–––

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Goldsborough, April 21, 1862.

General R. E. LEE, Commanding, &c.:

GENERAL: The enemy show a disposition to remain entirely quiet at New Berne. They have thrown up works extending from the Neuse to the Trent, and have cut down the forest in front of them. Their purpose there seems to be only to defend themselves.

On the 16th instant two regiments, and on the 18th instant three regiments, were sent by water from New Berne, as I think, to re-enforce the troops engaged in the investment of Fort Macon. I may be mistaken, however, as to their destination, my opinion of it being based mainly on the fact that the enemy’s force near Fort Macon has recently been represented to me as much larger than it was previously reported.

This information reached me this evening. If you think it advisable under it to withdraw any of the troops from here please do not designate them, but permit me to do so.

I respectfully request authority under the conscript law to order a board of examination upon the officers newly elected in the volunteer regiments; otherwise many very inferior officers will come into the service, greatly to its injury.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

TH. H. HOLMES, Major-General, Commanding.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., April 22, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Commanding Department, Goldsborough, N. C.:

GENERAL: General Lee directs me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 21st instant, brought by General Anderson, stating that the enemy exhibited no intention of an immediate advance, and to say that on the strength of it he has ordered by telegraph to-day that you send a brigade at once to Fredericksburg, where troops are much needed. The enemy are reported to be 5,000 strong on the opposite side of the river from Fredericksburg, and a heavy force between that and Aquia Creek, under McDowell. [If] it is [true], the necessity to re-enforce General Field is urgent. One brigade has been ordered up from your department. The General would like much to have another brigade, and wishes to know if you cannot spare an additional one from your command. You will designate the troops that are to move. Instructions based upon the conscript law are being prepared by the Secretary of War for the guidance of all concerned, and will be forwarded to you as soon as ready for distribution.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. H. TAYLOR, Assistant Adjutant-General.

{p.463}

–––

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 88.}

HDQRS. DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, Goldsborough, April 22, 1862.

...

IV. The First Regiment South Carolina Volunteers and the Third Louisiana Battalion will move to-night by rail to Richmond. The remainder of Brigadier-General Anderson’s brigade, with the exception of the Forty-ninth Georgia Regiment and Lieutenant Bouldin’s section of battery, will be held in readiness to move at a moment’s notice.

...

By command of Maj. Gen. T. H. Holmes:

ARCHER ANDERSON, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., April 23, 1862.

Brig. Gen. S. G. FRENCH, Commanding, &c., Wilmington, N. C.:

GENERAL: In reply to your telegram of yesterday,* I am directed by General Lee to say that all available arms have been given to General Holmes for distribution to the troops under his command. There are none now on hand for issue save pikes. He thinks you might arm the regiment at Wilmington by placing pikes in the hands of the men at the heavy batteries, and giving their muskets as far as they will go, to the unarmed regiment, and make up deficiency by arming some of the center companies with pikes, the flanking companies having the rifles. This is the best arrangement that can now be made.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. H. TAYLOR, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Not found.

–––

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 89.}

HDQRS. DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, Goldsborough, April 23, 1862.

I. The Thirty-fourth North Carolina, Forty-fifth Georgia, and Thirty-eighth North Carolina Regiments will move to-day, with three days’ rations, by rail, to Richmond, in the order in which they are mentioned. The baggage transported will be strictly limited to the necessary cooking utensils and tents and the field allowance for officers. The time of the departure of each train will be fixed by the chief quartermaster, Major Cone, who will make the necessary arrangements for the prompt transportation of the troops as far as Richmond. Upon the arrival of each regiment at that place its commanding officer will receive orders from Brig. Gen. J. R. Anderson.

...

By command of Major-General Holmes:

ARCHER ANDERSON, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, April 24, 1862.

General R. E. LEE, Commanding:

GENERAL: My reports from South Mills, N. C., up to 3 p.m. last {p.464} evening, represent all quiet. The enemy had not returned there, and the reported landing of the day previous at Canal Bridge, Currituck County, turned out to be only a small party, who soon retired.

General Blanchard sent the wounded prisoners up here, and I forwarded them (19) yesterday to General Wool at Fort Monroe. The surgeon I released unconditionally.

You are aware that no forces have replaced Colston’s brigade, and our batteries and the country along James River (Burrell’s Bay) are undefended.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General, &c.

–––

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., April 26, 1862.

General R. E. LEE, Commanding:

GENERAL: My report from South Mills up to 3 p.m. yesterday states all is quiet. The enemy had not returned.

I conversed yesterday with one of the North Carolina Militia (Stephen Williams), who was captured by the enemy near Elizabeth City some two weeks since (with 72 others), and has been on Roanoke Island. He was forced to act as guide to the expedition, and landed them at 12 at night 2 miles below Elizabeth City. In the dark and during the confusion of landing he made his escape. He states he was in the cabin with General Reno and Colonel Hawkins and other officers, and they spoke openly of their intention of seizing the south end and destroying the lock of the canal so we could not pass iron-clad boats into the sound, and that they would fortify and hold the position and re-enforce it to any amount and threaten Norfolk in the rear, while McClellan attacked it in front. Several of the regiments sent on this expedition came from New Berne.

If the attack is renewed troops will no doubt be sent from there. Is General Holmes strong enough to threaten them from Goldsborough? If he can, it would be well to occupy them.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General, Commanding.

–––

HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., April 26, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Goldsborough, N. C.:

GENERAL: The arrival of arms in Wilmington enables me to distribute some to the troops organized in North Carolina. If I am correctly informed as to the numbers received I will assign to you 2,400, which, with the arms of the country, which I hope have been collected by the Governor for these troops, will enable you to arm six regiments. We can only now, in the present scarcity of arms, distribute 400 to a regiment, which will enable you to arm the flank companies with the improved arms and the center companies with the State arms.

In distributing the arms you are authorized to issue to the flank companies of the old regiments those improved arms, and take from them the arms they now have and issue them to companies of the new regiments.

{p.465}

An officer of the Ordnance Department goes on to Wilmington to receive and distribute the arms, and you are desired to give him any assistance he may require. Should the equipments accompany the arms they will be issued to the troops in proportion to their quantity, as compared with the whole number of arms. The troops thus armed will re-enforce your army and enable you to send another brigade to Fredericksburg, which I desire you to do as soon as possible. The selection of the brigade I leave to you, but should you have more transportation than is required for the troops in your department, I desire that you will forward such as can be spared for service with the troops in this. Should you have an engineer and an ordnance officer whose services can be spared, I request that they be ordered for duty with the troops near Fredericksburg.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General.

–––

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Goldsborough, April 27, 1862.

General R. E. LEE, Commanding C. S. Army:

GENERAL: Your favor of yesterday is received. As soon as the arms are received I will organize a brigade out of the troops in Raleigh, and I will be much obliged if you will send me a brigade general to command it. I greatly fear it will be some time before the country arms can be collected in sufficient numbers to arm six regiments, as the Governor has but 1,400 of all sorts, and Major Ashe thus far has sent none. I will order Major Thompson to report to you as an engineer. Colonel Deshler is the only ordnance officer I have, and he cannot be spared, as he is also my chief of artillery. I will send Ransom’s brigade to Fredericksburg as soon as I can relieve it, unless you will be satisfied with the new one to be organized out of the troops at Raleigh. I shall be left with but two brigades (Walker’s and Branch’s) that can be at all relied on if Burnside advances.

I am, General, very respectfully and truly,

TH. H. HOLMES, Major-General, Commanding.

P. S.-If it be possible please send me General Pettigrew; he is from North Carolina, and I need his strength to discipline new recruits rapidly.

–––

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Maj. W. H. TAYLOR, Goldsborough, April 27, 1862.

Assistant Adjutant-General, Richmond:

MAJOR: I send herewith, for the information of General Lee, a copy of a letter just received from Capt. W. S. G. Andrews, who commands a small body of troops near Tarborough. The intelligence it contains is corroborative of accounts from other sources.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

TH. H. HOLMES, Major-General, Commanding.

{p.466}

[Inclosure.]

HEADQUARTERS, Tarborough, N. C., April 26, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Commanding Department of North Carolina:

GENERAL: James A. Corey and W. G. Andrews, two men who were wounded at Hatteras and have been prisoners at Annapolis, arrived inside our lines from New Berne last night. They left New Berne on Wednesday last. They have been confined in the jail there for two weeks, but have been permitted to converse freely with the soldiers and to walk about for a limited time each day. They were furnished by General Burnside with passports to cross the river, which they did at New Berne, and saw no enemy’s pickets on this side. What they relate is not of their own knowledge, but the substance of numerous conversations with the soldiers. They were examined separately and agree in nearly every particular. Their statement is, General Burnside left New Berne on Wednesday morning with all the gunboats but two, and 1,300 men. There is but one regiment in the town. About 9,000 troops around the town at Fair Grounds, across Trent, and at Deep Gully. They were expecting an attack from the Confederate forces. The opinion expressed was that General Holmes could take the town, but could not hold it. General Burnside declared his intention to be to reduce Fort Macon at once, making a “breakfast spell” of it, and then to go immediately to Kinston and Goldsborough. This was spoken of by every one they conversed with. Never heard Wilmington mentioned; the talk was always Fort Macon, Kinston, Goldsborough. No re-enforcements but those previously reported by me. The small-pox was spreading among the troops and many were dying with it.

These men are reliable and honest in their intentions. They have served under me, and I know them well. I have a man in an oyster boat gone to Core Island, and hope to hear direct from Fort Macon by Wednesday next.

Very truly, your obedient servant,

W. S. G. ANDREWS, Captain, Tenth Regt. North Carolina Artillery, Comdg.

P. S.-Since I wrote the above my messenger has got in from Albemarle Sound. Six gunboats are still at Elizabeth City with the expedition to destroy the canal. They are probably awaiting re-enforcements to attack Colonel Wright again. No increase in gunboats or troops at Roanoke Island. Some of the citizens went from Washington County to Roanoke Island to get the enemy to send forces to Plymouth. They have not returned. A company of cavalry is needed there to arrest such men and keep the people quiet. Eight citizens went. No gunboats in the sound except those at Elizabeth City.

Very truly, yours,

W. S. G. ANDREWS, Captain, Tenth Regt. North Carolina Artillery, Comdg.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, April 28, 1862.

General R. E. LEE, Commanding:

GENERAL: I have tried to make out a report of the battle near South Mills on 19th.* I have given a detailed account of the arrangement of

* See p. 326. {p.467} the ground, which seemed to me judicious and showed resources. At last accounts, yesterday, the enemy, with an increased number of boats, were still on board their vessels off Elizabeth City, thus threatening our line from Powell’s Point to the Blackwater. He may land at Elizabeth City or any other point on the Chowan he pleases. I am too weak to scatter troops. Suffolk is particularly weak. If any additional force can be spared from anywhere it should be sent there.*

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General.

* Further correspondence between Lee and Huger will be printed in Series 1, Vol. XI.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., April 28, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Commanding, &c., North Carolina, Goldsborough, N. C.:

GENERAL: I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 25th instant relative to the removal of a brigade from your command, and giving your objections to a further decrease of your force. You will have learned since the date of your letter, as I informed you in mine of the 26th, of the arrival of arms at Wilmington, and the assignment of a portion of them to your order, for the purpose of arming the new troops within your department. The number turned over to you, together with those collected by your agents and those of the State, will enable you to arm, it is hoped, six new regiments. The need for troops in the vicinity of Fredericksburg is very urgent, and they can contribute to the defense of North Carolina as materially at that point as they would in assisting to prevent an advance from the enemy now occupying the eastern waters of the State.

In view of the pressing necessity for re-enforcing the army operating in Northern Virginia, and of the assignment of arms to troops in your department, I determined to order a brigade of your forces to the vicinity of Fredericksburg, as you were advised on the 26th. You will please forward the command you may select without unnecessary delay, and lose no efforts to supply their places by some of the new regiments at Raleigh. I would also request that, if it can possibly be spared, you will forward some of the land transportation heretofore used by the troops which have been withdrawn from North Carolina. Wagons and teams are much needed by the army collecting near Fredericksburg.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., April 30, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Commanding, &c., Goldsborough, N. C.:

GENERAL: Your letters of the 27th instant and telegram of 29th are received. Information received by General Huger confirms the report of Captain Andrews with regard to the continued presence of the enemy at Elizabeth City. It does not seem to me that there are any indications of an advance toward Goldsborough by General Burnside {p.468} at this time. I think your force will enable you to prevent such a movement, and in the mean time I hope you will be able, with the improved arms that have been sent you and the country arms, to prepare a sufficient number of the new regiments to supply the place of the troops that have been withdrawn from you. It would not be well to send the new brigade to be organized at Raleigh to Fredericksburg instead of Ransom’s. The new men would no doubt suffer greatly, and their efficiency be much impaired by the usual diseases of the camp. They would suffer less if retained in North Carolina.

General Johnston writes that the situation of affairs in the Peninsula is such that it is impossible for him to spare General Pettigrew.

With reference to the promotion of Colonel Daniel the Secretary is unwilling at this time to increase the number of brigadiers. There are two now without commands, Generals Wise and Pryor, either of whom can be ordered to you if you desire it.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General,

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HEADQUARTERS, Goldsborough, April 30, 1862.

General R. E. LEE, Commanding C. S. Army:

GENERAL: I telegraphed last night, asking permission to retain the brigade ordered from me to Virginia.

I know you will not consider me importunate when I tell you that it will be better to withdraw all the troops from North Carolina except a few regiments for the defense of Wilmington than to reduce this command, because that would give you material aid in Virginia, and the demoralization of the people here would be scarcely less than it will be if I am deprived of the means of fighting Burnside.

General French has made a positive and stern demand on me for troops and I must send them, because the great uncertainty and mismanagement of the trains will not justify me in trusting to them for defending Wilmington by the troops that are here.

As for the troops at Raleigh, it is doubtful when I shall get them and still more doubtful when they will be armed. The military camp there is a sort of hobby with the authorities, and they require all the arms they have to exercise their men.

I wrote immediately on the receipt of your letter for six regiments. This was three days ago, and yet I have had no word in answer and no evidence the regiments are coming, and if they do come they will be nothing better than raw militia.

Immediately on the receipt of your order yesterday I sent to the railroad authorities for transportation for the brigade, and was informed it could not be furnished before to-morrow, the 1st May.

I am, General, very respectfully and faithfully,

TH. H. HOLMES, Major-General, &c.

P. S.-The common council of Wilmington has sent a committee to the Governor and to me begging for help.

{p.469}

Abstract from monthly report of the troops of the Department of North Carolina, commanded by Maj. Gen. T. H. Holmes, for April, 1862.

Troops.Present for duty.Effective present.Aggregate present.Aggregate present and absent.Pieces of artillery.
Officers.Men.Pieces.Horses.
Cape Fear District1793,0033,1553,8904,502
Greenville69494116132
Infantry59310,25810,68013,39615,006
Cavalry691,4501,5241,7512,0682,058
Artillery24579591669753129543
Grand total87115,38416,04219,82222,4611292,601

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HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Suffolk, May 1, 1862.

Col. S. S. ANDERSON, Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: As the enemy is threatening the coast throughout this division I respectfully request to know whether the troops stationed at Roanoke River and ordered to Goldsborough have been asked for again. That portion of the division is more exposed than any other, and is at the same time important, as several roads meet at Weldon, and nothing to prevent the enemy from coming up the river with their gunboats except an obstruction now in progress of construction below Hamilton.

There can be no doubt but that troops have left New Berne for Roanoke Island, and General Holmes can doubtless spare those sent him from this division.

I inclose to-day a dispatch from below, showing that the enemy are now near Edenton and Roanoke River.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. W. LORING, Major-General, Commanding.

I have to-day sent Captain Poor, engineer, to the Roanoke, to select a place for a battery near Halifax.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. W. LORING, Major-General, Commanding.

[Indorsement No. 1.]

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., May 2, 1862.

Respectfully forwarded. A similar application was sent from these headquarters on 14th April.

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General.

[Indorsement No. 2.]

RICHMOND, May 3, 1862.

Respectfully returned to General Cooper. The movement of General Johnston renders re-enforcements to General Huger necessary if they were available.

R. E. LEE.

{p.470}

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., May 3, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Goldsborough, N. C.:

GENERAL: That you may better understand the movements of General Burnside I must explain to you that it is in contemplation to withdraw the troops from Norfolk. As soon as he learns it I think he will move in that direction. be prepared to strike at him if he offers the opportunity. I do not think it advisable therefore to move your troops to Wilmington until the indications are such as to induce you to believe that he is preparing to attack that city.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., May 3, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Commanding, &c., Goldsborough, N. C.:

GENERAL: I am directed by General Lee to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 30th ultimo, and to say that it was with great reluctance and regret that he found himself compelled still further to reduce your command. Such, however, is the strength of the enemy near Fredericksburg, and threatened as the rear of the Army of the Peninsula would be by a column advancing from the Rappahannock, it was imperatively necessary to re-enforce our army operating in that quarter, in order to enable it successfully to resist any advance from that direction. He has to-day telegraphed Governor Clark, requesting that he would send you the unarmed regiments from Raleigh, and he trusts that with the arms you now have, with such additional as he hopes to be able to give you, you will soon have a number of armed troops sufficient to replace the brigade of General Ransom ready for active service.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. H. TAYLOR, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., May 7, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Commanding, &c., Goldsborough, N. C.:

GENERAL: I have instructed General Huger to have Colonel Clarke’s regiment in North Carolina, with others, to report to you. The withdrawal of General Huger’s command from the Department of Norfolk renders the transfer necessary. With the accession of this regiment you will, I hope, be able to afford some protection to the railroad and aid the citizens of the counties adjacent to the sound in their endeavors to move their grain and provisions to places of security.

It will be advisable also to send a regiment to Weldon if you can spare one for that purpose.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General.

{p.471}

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HEADQUARTERS, General J. G. MARTIN, Richmond, Va., May 8, 1862.

Adjutant and Inspector General North Carolina, Raleigh:

GENERAL: Your letter of the 1st instant is received, and I am much gratified to hear of the six regiments already ordered to move, and hope the others will soon be ready also. The President is not authorized by law to accept troops in larger organizations than regiments. He is required to organize the brigades and divisions and appoint the commanding generals. You will perceive that he has no authority to accept the troops referred to in your letter as a division. In organizing them into brigades and divisions the necessity of the service may require the separation of these troops and their distribution among the different divisions in the field. You will thus perceive that it is not in the power of the President to receive these troops as a division with yourself as major-general, and that the question of their organization into a single division must be determined by the exigencies of the service.

From these facts you will understand that the President is unable to appoint you as a major-general to command these particular troops, as you request. My impression, derived from a conversation with the President, is that he does not consider it expedient to appoint another major-general at this time. The law to which I have above alluded is the act approved March 6, 1861, No. 48.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., May 13, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Commanding Department, Goldsborough, N. C.:

GENERAL: I have received your telegram of yesterday reporting that the enemy was being re-enforced at New Berne, and asking if it was desired that you should keep Colonel Clarke’s regiment at Murfreesborough. As well as can be judged from this distance, this seems to be a good point to hold in defending that line of road, and it would appear advisable to retain it in that vicinity. It is thought that the movements of Burnside are merely intended to divert our attention from other seriously-threatened points, and that no advance in force is contemplated by his column. Such is the pressure in Virginia that it is imperatively necessary to concentrate our forces to enable us successfully to meet the heavy columns of the enemy. It may be necessary to draw still further from your department, and you are to make every exertion to get the State troops down from Raleigh and do all in your power toward arming them. All that we can hope is to hold and protect the line of road leading south through Weldon, Goldsborough, and Wilmington. Whatever force may not be necessary for this purpose should be advanced to Virginia and united with the army north of Richmond. The re-enforcements reported at New Berne are in all probability some force returning which has been moving about the sounds. Burnside has received none, as far as can be ascertained, from any other quarter.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General.

{p.472}

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., May 13, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Commanding Forces in North Carolina:

GENERAL: I fear it will be necessary to draw still further from the troops under your command for the defense of Richmond and its neighboring approaches. You are being weakened much more than is desirable, but the necessity is unavoidable. The troops which have been withdrawn from you will be replaced by the new levies now being organized in North Carolina. It is highly important that these should be brought to the field with as little delay as possible. General James G. Martin and Colonel Clingman will be appointed brigadier-generals, and will report to you. Their brigades will be formed from the North Carolina regiments. Enjoin upon them the importance of speedily organizing and equipping the new levies that may compose their brigades.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., May 19, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Commanding, &c., Goldsborough, N. C.:

GENERAL: I am directed by General Lee to say that all of General Huger’s command will be withdrawn in this direction, and that it will be necessary for you to replace the regiment now stationed at Weldon. Col. S. R. Harrison, commanding First Louisiana Volunteers, is now there in command. As soon as practicable you are desired to send a regiment to relieve him, that he may proceed with as little delay as possible to join the balance of General Huger’s division.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. H. TAYLOR, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., May 22, 1862.

Brig. Gen. S. G. FRENCH, Commanding, Wilmington, N. C.:

GENERAL: I have received your letter of the 20th instant, reporting attack on Fort Fisher, and asking for additional guns of long range. Colonel Gorgas has been directed to send to you as soon as possible two 32-pounder rifled guns, which are the only suitable ones that are available at this time.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General.

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RICHMOND, VA., May 23, 1862.

His Excellency HENRY T. CLARK, Raleigh, N. C.:

You know the importance of maintaining communication South. Will you send a brigade, under General Martin, to Petersburg for that purpose, {p.473} the whole line of railroad to Wilmington being under General Holmes. By taking arms from ineffectives here I can add to the arms you have already furnished to four of your regiments enough to complete their armament. Will send arms to Petersburg to meet troops and will add two light batteries to brigade. Urgent.

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

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SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 127.}

ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL’S OFFICE, Richmond, Va., June 3, 1862.

...

XIV. That part of North Carolina west of the Blue Ridge, and adjoining East Tennessee, will be embraced within the Department of East Tennessee, under Maj. Gen. E. K. Smith.

...

By command of the Secretary of War:

JNO. WITHERS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, ARMY OF THE PAMLICO, Camp Johnston, June 17, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Comdg. Department of North Carolina, Goldsborough, N. C.:

GENERAL: On the 1st of this month I assumed command of this brigade, consisting of four regiments of infantry, one of cavalry, three batteries of light artillery, and two independent companies of cavalry; also Captain Whitford’s company of heavy artillery, acting as Partisan Rangers, and Captain Nethercutt, with about 20 men, on the same duty, the whole force making an aggregate of 5,329, of which only 3,928 were reported present for duty.

The rest of the command were sick in hospitals in camp, some absent sick, with a few on detached service and furloughs.

My first attention was called to the large amount of sickness in camp and the probable cause, with the view to remedy it if possible. The ground on which the troops were camped was low, without any drainage, and a swamp on the side of each regiment.

After careful examination in every direction in the vicinity of Kinston I found it necessary to remove my camp to Falling Creek, where there is a high and dry encampment on the railroad, and to all appearances healthy, at least as much so as any place in this section of the country. There is an excellent drill ground at the camp, large enough for the entire brigade.

I left one regiment of infantry on picket around and 6 miles in advance of Kinston. The cavalry pickets extend to within a few miles of New Berne, nearly to Deep Gully, on the Trent road, and from the railroad near Tuscarora, running across to the Neuse. This duty was done by five companies of cavalry, which I intend to strengthen by three more.

On the other side of the Neuse, on Swift Creek, Captain Carraway’s company of cavalry and Captain Whitford’s Partisan Rangers picket and keep the enemy close to New Berne in that direction. Captain Tucker’s cavalry company picket on the Tar River from Greenville to within a short distance of Washington. Captain Nethercutt, with his {p.474} Partisan Rangers, operates with the cavalry near Deep Gully and across the Trent River, in Jones County.

On account of retiring 6 miles from Kinston I desire to strengthen my cavalry pickets by a regiment of infantry and a battery of artillery to support it, should there be any necessity for it. There is also another reason: There is a large amount of grain and meat in that section of the country which I want to secure. As soon as the three additional companies of cavalry are sent there instructions will be given them to collect all the grain and provisions possible and send them to a safe place to the rear, from which point I expect to haul it to Kinston.

The most reliable information that can be received of the enemy’s forces at New Berne estimates it from 8,000 to 10,000. The balance of General Burnside’s forces are with General McClellan in Virginia. Should the enemy take Richmond or withdraw from the Peninsula, Burnside’s forces will doubtless return to him, and he will at once commence his onward march through North Carolina. He has a large number of wagons and means of transportation at New Berne. He is also making arrangements for railroad transportation and is rebuilding the railroad bridge across the Trent. Several engineers have already been sent to him, and it is supposed some engines and cars are at Beaufort. He is building at New Berne two iron-clad cars or batteries, to carry six guns each.

The railroad track was taken up from Core Creek to the Dover road, about 10 miles, when I took command. Since then I had strong parties to work on it. The ties have been burned and the iron bent so as to render it useless. Several additional miles of the track are being taken up and the iron taken to a safe place by the railroad. This would render the enemy’s advance by railroad, should he attempt it, slow and laborious. In his advance, should he take either of the roads along the Neuse or Trent Rivers, I could offer but feeble resistance with my present force. An advancing column can march on both sides of the roads for any distance that its strength will permit it to extend. Should he take the Trent Road it would be extremely hazardous to go below Kinston with my command, as there is only one bridge, and that a very poor concern, and the river not fordable. If the enemy should march on the south side of the river, instead of crossing at Kinston, little or no resistance could be offered to him to White Hall.

The river is at present navigable to Kinston, and is higher than it has been for years. The obstructions placed in the river below Kinston are entirely covered by several feet of water, and I fear damaged, if not washed away.

As far as I have been able to examine, this section of the country is level and intersected by many roads, making it extremely difficult to defend. The enemy can only be met with any degree of safety by a force equal to his own and well supplied with transportation.

Since I assumed command of this brigade it has been increased by two small new infantry regiments, who report less than 400 men each present for duty. My aggregate effective infantry force to-day fit for duty is 3,887 men-cavalry, 648, and 212 artillery. The cavalry are deficient in arms and equipments, and I have been informed by the ordnance officer at Goldsborough, in answer to a requisition made on him, that he cannot supply any.

The batteries are greatly in need of men. In their present weak condition they cannot be expected to render good service. A few days ago one of them did not have a sufficient number of men for duty to drill with four pieces. An officer should be detailed from each of these {p.475} batteries to recruit, and furnished with money to pay the men their bounty.

The entire command is deficient in transportation. About one-half of what is on hand has been furnished by the State, for which the Confederate States have refused to refund the State or give a per diem.

I will make requisitions on the depot quartermaster at Goldsborough for the amount of transportation required, and hope you will order it to be furnished. As the Tar River district has only been attached to my command temporarily (as I understand it), I will say nothing of that section, or the troops there, in this letter.

I thus explain my position as far as I can at present, so that you may clearly understand it, and, in case of the enemy’s advance, that you may have a sufficient force with which to meet him.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. MARTIN, Brigadier-General.

[Indorsement.]

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Goldsborough, June 19, 1862.

This report is respectfully referred to the Adjutant and Inspector General, with the remark that General Martin’s force has since been reduced by ordering three of his infantry regiments to Petersburg.

TH. H. HOLMES, Major-General.

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SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 134.}

HDQRS. DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, Goldsborough, June 19, 1862.

I. Brig. Gen. J. G. Martin will assume command of the troops on Tar River, and direct the operations in that vicinity.

...

By command of Major-General Holmes:

ARCHER ANDERSON, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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GENERAL ORDERS, No. 30.}

HDQRS. DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, Petersburg, June 21, 1862.

The following order is published for the information of the troops:

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 140.}

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, June 21, 1862.

...

VII. The department of Maj. Gen. Theo. H. Holmes is hereby extended to the south bank of the James River, including Drewry’s Bluff. He will establish his headquarters at Petersburg, or at such other point as he may deem more convenient.*

...

By command of General Lee:

A. P. MASON, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Correspondence relating to operations on the James River will appear in Series I, Vol. XI.

By command of Major-General Holmes:

ARCHER ANDERSON, Assistant Adjutant-General.

{p.476}

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 143.}

HDQRS. DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, Drewry’s Bluff, July 5, 1862.

...

II. Brigadier-General Martin will move with two of the regiments near Kinston, and the Forty-fourth Regiment North Carolina troops without delay by rail to Petersburg. He will report his progress en route to these headquarters, so that orders may reach him on the arrival of the first regiment of his command at Petersburg.

...

By command of Major-General Holmes:

ARCHER ANDERSON, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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Abstract from the report of the troops of the Department of North Carolina, commanded by Maj. Gen. T. H. Holmes, for July 15, 1862.

Troops.Present for duty.Effective present.Aggregate present.Aggregate present and absent.Pieces of artillery.
Officers.Men.Pieces.Horses.
Daniel’s brigade1251,9432,0092,4543,488
French’s brigade771,3441,4291,8002,123
Martin’s brigade1362,0922,1132,5283,413
Ransom’s brigade1532,5882,6753,1094,708
Walker’s brigade1993,0283,1654,1334,762
District of the Cape Fear1302,2652,4653,0493,37987
Drewry’s Bluff12157163211261
Near Kinston511,0151,0981,3041,44114196
Near Petersburg1171,9341,9712,4502,98640
Near Weldon12127129158227
Grand total1,01216,49317,21721,19626,826141196

–––

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 165.}

JULY 17, 1862.

...

XVI. Maj. Gen. D. H. Hill is assigned to the command of the division and district lately commanded by Major-General Holmes.

...

By command of the Secretary of War:

JNO. WITHERS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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GOLDSBOROUGH, N. C., August 7, 1862.

Maj. Gen. D. H. HILL:

GENERAL: There are some matters in relation to which, before acting, I should like to be instructed.

From the condition of things on this side of New Berne, and more particularly of Washington, I think the enemy have no difficulty in getting information through our lines.

{p.477}

Captain Lawrence, stationed in Pitt, says that the enemy get the Richmond papers and other news regularly.

Satterthwaite, a member of the State Convention, lives within the enemy’s lines unmolested, and has been allowed to come through our lines to Greenville whenever he wishes it. This is only one of many cases.

I fear, as you suggest, that Colonel Williams is not in all respects fully qualified for the position he holds, but the other two colonels there are much less so. In fact, Williams complains of their want of discipline, &c. The greatest difficulty, however, arises from the small force on the lines, In Pitt there are two cavalry companies, divided by the Tar River, and they are not sufficient to prevent intercourse, even if the officers were efficient, which they are not.

Negroes are escaping rapidly, probably a million of dollars’ worth weekly in all. It is estimated that one-third of the negroes in the State are east of this line of railroad, and gentlemen complain, with some reason, that that section of the State is in danger of being ruined if these things continue.

It strikes me that, if we had force sufficient to accomplish the object, negroes and other movable property of value within or near the enemy’s lines should be brought away and intercourse prohibited. I think it unwise to attempt it, however, until there is an effective force, because an alarm might cause the enemy to run away negroes more rapidly than they are doing. If the force could be had, a regiment of infantry might be well employed in the vicinity of Greenville, Pitt. I think Washington could be taken; but probably the best line of attack would be from Williamston, in Martin, there being no stream to cross.

If there were two or three reliable regiments here they might be moved by rail to Tarborough, Kinston, Wilmington, and Weldon, and could thus aid either in striking or defending those points.

If the separate cavalry companies could be united into regiments or battalions under proper officers they might be made effective, while at present they are almost useless.

I had written the above, general, when your dispatch reached me.

If the companies of Partisan Rangers are collected at this place they leave a number of the richest counties (eastern) entirely unprotected, and those having most slaves. If the enemy are allowed to establish themselves within 30 miles of the railroad, they can by cavalry dashes constantly interrupt it; whereas if we can confine them to the coast, we save the negroes and the growing corn crop, as well as secure the road.

I suppose I must send all applications for furlough to your headquarters, no matter how urgent the case.

The telegraph wire to Kinston has been interrupted for an hour-what I get I will send by telegraph, if worth it. I have felt it my duty, general, to lay before you the late dispatches from Kinston, as they come from persons said to be reliable. While I hope there may not be a formidable attack, yet if one were made, I fear that it would not be successfully resisted.

My anxiety is increased because I cannot just now either ride a horse or walk. Coming from Petersburg inflamed my foot somewhat, but it is getting better, and, unless hurt again, in three days I can be on horseback, I think. I then hope to get matters in better shape.

I hope you will excuse the frequency and length of my letters.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. L. CLINGMAN, Brigadier-General.

{p.478}

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WILMINGTON, N. C., August 7, 1862.

Hon. GEORGE W. RANDOLPH:

I have just received the following from Goldsborough yesterday:

Enemy’s gunboats made their appearance in the Neuse, 25 miles above New Berne, this morning. They are 6 miles below Kinston. One is iron-clad. Shelling the woods near the obstructions.

I write you to-day.

W. S. ASHE.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, August 8, 1862.

His Excellency HENRY T. CLARK, Governor of North Carolina:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 4th instant* I have been an eye-witness of the outrages and depredations upon private property committed by the enemy in this State, and can fully appreciate what you say of the injuries sustained by the people of North Carolina; nor am I unmindful of the importance of protecting the line of railroad and, as far as practicable, the valuable private interests in the section of country to which you refer. But it is impossible, with the means at our command, to pursue the policy of concentrating our forces to protect important points and baffle the principal efforts of the enemy and at the same time extend all the protection we desire to give to every district. The safety of the whole State of North Carolina, as well as of Virginia, depends in a measure upon the result of the enemy’s efforts in this quarter, which, if successful, would make your State the theater of hostilities, far more injurious and destructive to your citizens than anything they have yet been called upon to suffer.

To prevent effectually the enemy’s gunboats from ascending navigable rivers would require not only batteries, but adequate land forces to defend them, which would lead to a subdivision of our forces, from which we could anticipate nothing but disaster. The selection of the troops to be withdrawn from North Carolina was made by General Holmes, who brought the most serviceable because there was most probability of their being used, the enemy being known to be here in great force and it being believed that most of his troops had been withdrawn from North Carolina. The raw troops were left for the additional reason that it was thought they would stand the usual camp diseases better at home than if removed. General Holmes and part of his army left North Carolina before the late battles and participated in them. He brought the brigades of Generals Martin and French because the enemy being in and upon James River, it was thought proper to provide against any attempt he might make to penetrate North Carolina and cut the railroad from the north, which might have been among his designs. With this view General Holmes was ordered back to the south side of the river immediately after the battles, where he was joined by Generals Martin and French. The information received by General Holmes led him to believe, as I do, that the principal part of General Burnside’s command had been transferred to Virginia, where I believe they now are.

Maj. Gen. D. H. Hill is in command of the district lately commanded by General Holmes, as you will perceive from the inclosed copy of the {p.479} order** assigning him to it He will no doubt be very glad to confer with you as to the best means of protecting the country you refer to, and I should be most happy if your plan of retaking the places on the coast now held by the enemy can be carried out. I am most anxious to do all in our power to accomplish so desirable a result and extend the best protection to the people our means will permit.

I regret to hear what you say of the character of the officers appointed to command the troops in North Carolina.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General.

* Not found.

** See p. 476.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, August 12, 1862.

His Excellency HENRY T. CLARK, Governor of North Carolina, Raleigh, N. C.:

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that Brig. Gen. J. G. Martin has been assigned to the immediate command of the troops in the State of North Carolina. It is hoped and believed that his position as an officer of the Confederate States Army will in no way interfere with the discharge of the duties devolving upon him in his capacity as Adjutant and Inspector General of the State, and that under his immediate supervision the troops ill the State will reach a high degree of efficiency and nothing be neglected which can advance and protect the interests of North Carolina. I have desired that he will render such aid as he can toward collecting and enrolling the men liable to military duty, so that the regiments from the State may be speedily and fully recruited.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, August 12, 1862.

Brig. Gen. J. G. MARTIN, Commanding, &c.:

GENERAL: I am informed by the Adjutant and Inspector General that your resignation has not been accepted, and that you have been directed to report to me for duty. You will report for further orders to Maj. Gen. D. H. Hill, commanding the Department of North Carolina. I trust you will be enabled to perform the duties, devolving upon you as an officer of the State as well as of the Confederate States. I particularly desire that you will render such assistance as may be in your power, as commanding officer of the Confederate troops in the State, toward collecting and enrolling the men liable to military duty under the act of Congress of April 16, 1862, as it is all important that the ranks of the regiments so reduced by sickness and battle shall be filled. After the old regiments have been recruited the surplus men should be collected in camps of instruction and there organized and prepared for service in the field.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General.

{p.480}

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 180.}

HDQRS. DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Petersburg, Va., August 18, 1862. ...

III. Brig. Gen. J. G. Martin is assigned, in accordance with instructions from the General Commanding the Army, to the District of North Carolina, extending from the right banks of the Roanoke to the South Carolina line.

Brig. Gen. J. J. Pettigrew will relieve General Martin of the charge of his brigade.

Brig. Gen. T. L. Clingman will assume command of the troops at Wilmington, N. C.

Brigadier-General Martin will render all the assistance in his power toward collecting and enrolling the men in the State subject to military duty, so that the ranks of the North Carolina regiments may be speedily recruited.

After this duty has been done the surplus should be collected at camps of instruction and organized and prepared for active service in the field.

By command of Maj. Gen. D. H. Hill:

ARCHER ANDERSON, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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PETERSBURG, August 19, 1862.

General S. COOPER:

Tell General D. H. Hill that Clingman reports enemy landing at Swansborough from transports. Have been joined by cavalry and artillery.

S. G. FRENCH.

Library Reference Information

Type of Material: Book (Book, Microform, Electronic, etc.)
Corporate Name: United States. War Dept.
Main Title: The War of the Rebellion:
a compilation of the official records of the
Union and Confederate armies.
Prepared under the direction of the Secretary of War
by Robert N. Scott.
Washington, Govt. Print. Off., 1880-1900.
Published/Created: Washington : Government Pub. Off., 1880-1901 (70 v. in 128).
Description: 70 v. in 128. 24 cm.
Subjects: United States. Army--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Sources.
Confederate States of America. Army--History--Sources.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Regimental histories.
LC Classification: E464 .U6