War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0470 OPERATIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA. Chapter XX.

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

Major General 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.

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

Major General 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.

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

Major General 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 on for that purpose.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.