HEADQUARTERS, September 9, 1864.
Major General WADE HAMPTON,
GENERAL: I have received your letter of 9 p. m. yesterday. The only difficulty of importance I see to your project is your return. I am not sufficiently acquainted with the country to say how that can be effected if embarrassed with cattle or wagons. That you must see to and have well arranged, taking such a circuit as to give ample space for your flank pickets to notify you of danger. Gregg is said to be near the Weldon railroad. His exact position should be ascertained and the troops left upon your present line should close upon him and watch him closely. I can move two brigades of infantry down the plank road behind Dearing. Let your movement depend upon the report of your scouts, and let me know your route, &c. Should time permit, a personal conference would be more satisfactory.
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS, Petersburg, September 10, 1864.
GOVERNOR: Your letter of the 5th instant has been received. I am much gratified at your readiness and ability to render all the aid in your power in the defense of Wilmington. Of the former I never doubted, and think by combining all the forces of the Confederate and State Governments the security of the city may be insured. Your suggestions touching its defense have been in a measure anticipated. General Beauregard is now there with a view of examining into its defenses, armament, and garrison. One of the objects of his visit is to see whether a portion of the letter cannot be replaced by troops of experience, &c. It is uncertain yet whether the enemy will attack Charleston or Wilmington, but it is my desire to give to General Beauregard the defense of whichever place may be attacked. I hope nothing may prevent his services being thus applied. As soon as I receive and answer to my dispatch as to the number of arms you require for your State force I will endeavor to furnish them. Please state to what point they must be sent. The prospect of peace and independence depends very much upon the success of this campaign. I need not, therefore, inform Your Excellency of the importance of bringing and maintaining in the field all our available force. The life and safety of the people demand it.
I am, with great respect, Your Excellency's obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, September 10, 1864.
General G. E. PICKETT:
General Lee requests that the 3-inch gun that was to have been put in battery last night to fire on the Yankee tower by Captain Stuart open fire on the tower as soon as possible.
W. H. STEVENS,
Brigadier-General and Chief Engineer.