means of scouts, to inform yourself promptly of any move of the enemy. Have your picket-lines where they have abatis to whip back any line of battle.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
(Same to Generals Hoke and Kershaw and Colonel Logan.)
Send up quickly any information you obtain
Send up quickly any information you may obtain. In case the attack is made on General Ewell extend your line to Fort Gilmer, and be ready to extend aid to General Ewell if the attack is formidable. Have the picket-line where they have abatis to whip back any line of battle.
Wilmington, November 29, 1864.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding Army of Northern Virginia, Petersburg:
GENERAL: Under orders of the President and yourself. General Bragg took away, to meet the emergency in Augusta, one-half the garrisons of Fort Fisher and Smith's Island, together with half the supporting force at Sugar Loaf. On the 27th I received a telegram to forward the extra duty men, retained at work here, belonging to the battalions which had been taken. Inadequate as the force here was previous to the movement, and now reduced one-half, to forwarded the men reported on extra duty would be to stop everything here at once, while the number added in Augusta would be insignificant. Considering that while absent from this command General Bragg's should be approved by you, I telegraphed that under the circumstances I must hear from you before complying. In explanation, I have to say that the extra duty reported is not what may be called quartermaster duty proper, but that comprised in the defence and defensive works going on, and as necessary as the presence of the men at their guns, viz, in the engineer department, the construction of platforms, magazines, revetments, &c.; in the ordnance, gun carriages, care, and especially service of magazines night and day; the crews engaged in river transportation, in boat service, and boat picket duty, and the signaling indispensable between the forts. This is simply in explanation, as I am satisfied under the circumstances, if understood, the order would not be enforced, and is intended for men doing duty away from their commands, as cooks, teamsters, clerks, &c., whose places can be supplied. I send you the inclosed for your information.* For my own part I think attack here will be deferred until Sherman shall have reached the coast, which he seems in a fair way to do, when, with that army and his fleet, the coast will be pretty much at his disposal.
W. H. C. WHITING,
* Inclosure not found
78 R R - VOL XLII, PT III