of a personal conference with the intelligent officer sent by your topress your views on the Department. The subject has been presented on several different occasions to the President, and has received his anxious consideration, aided, too, by the counsels of General Lee, who has been with him for some days. With the limited resources of the Department, and the urgent pressure of the enemy's forces at other (for the present) even more vital points, the conclusion has been that no troops beyond those already in North Carolina can be spared for the re-enforcement of Wilmington. Governor Vance has been urged to use the local troops and State militia which he has bee organizing for the defense of the line of railroad from Weldon, which would liberate the troops now stationed there and enable to effect this in a short time, for I do not see any other means of supplying additional troops to your department. You will, of course, remember that you are commanding general within that department, and must appreciate and judge of the relative necessities of different points.
To weaken the extended line of defense aginst incursions in the State would certainly be very objectionable, unless the withdrawal of troops be, in your judgment, demanded by the necessity of defending the more important point of Wilmington. During the progress of the siege of Charleston, I incline to think the attention and resources of the enemy will be too much employed to render an attack on Wilmington probable; still, it will undoubtedly be wiser if in our power to guard against contingency, and your anxiety to point out and guard against danger is both natural and laudable. The formidable modes of hostile approach have certainly been indicated by you with force; but I cannot doubt your skill and prescience are even more exercised in devising and arranging the modes of successful resistance.
With high regard, your obedient servant,
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
Wilmington, September 8, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, Richmond:
SIR: The city of Charleston may not be taken, but as Confederate port it has well nigh ceased to belong to us. The new of to-day settles that question. In this crisis the importance of this place grows hourly. At this moment there is absolutely nothing to prevent, say 3,000 of the enemy from landing at Lockwood's Folly, 23 miles from Wilmington, and turning all our positions.
In any such event the harbor and the ports must go. We shall have a repetition of the Morris Island business, perhaps worse. The danger here is not from naval attack, I believe, as against monitors and fleets; if that is the enemy's line, I am able to maintain my position and beat them. It is against land forces. As Charleston is closed in the danger increases. If the Department considers this position as worth anything, I beg that troops may be gathered here. At no time in the history of this war has it been so entirely stripped, or in so great danger.