War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0438 OPERATIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA. Chapter XX.

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Raleigh, February 22, 1862.

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

SIR: I have therefore 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.

But 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, s 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. Moor'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 need or where they could render more valuable service.

Most respectfully, yours,



Portsmouth, Va., February 24, 1862.

Lieutenant Colonel 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 moth of Blackwater had fallen back from that position. I inclose Captain Butler's report.* At the request of many citizen 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 William's retreat reached men, and that Colonel Clarke had arrived at Franklin. We


*Not found.