WILMINGTON, N. C., August 7, 1862.
Honorable GEORGE W. RANDOLPH:
I have just received the following from Goldsborough yesterday;
Enemy's gunboats made their appearance in the Neuse, 25 miles above New Berne, this morning. They are 6 miles below Kinston. One is iron-clad. Shelling the woods near the obstructions.
I write you to-day.
W. S. ASHE.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, August 8, 1862.
His Excellency HENRY T. CLARK,
Governor of North Carolina:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 4th instant.* I have been an eye-witness of the outrages and depredations upon private property committed by the enemy in this State, and can fully appreciate what you say of the injuries sustained by the people of North Carolina; nor am I unmindful of the importance of protecting the line of railroad and, as far as practicable, the valuable private interests in the section of country to which you refer. But it is impossible, with the means at our command, to pursue the policy of concentrating our forces to protect important point and baffle the principal efforts of the enemy and at the same time extend all the protection we desire to give to every district. The safety of the whole State of North Carolina, as well as of Virginia, depends in a measure upon the result of the enemy's efforts in this quarter, which, if successful, would make your State the theater of hostilities, far more injurious and destructive to your citizens than anything they have yet have yet been called upon the suffer.
To prevent effectually the enemy's gunboats from ascending navigable rivers would require not only batteries, but adequate land forces to defend them, which would lead to a subdivision of our forces, from which we could anticipate nothing but disaster. The selection of the troops to be withdrawn from North Carolina was made by General Holmes, who brought the most serviceable because there was most probability of their being used, the enemy being known to be here in great from North Carolina. The raw troops were left for the additional reason that it was thought they would stand the usual camp diseases better at home than if removed. General Holmes and part of his army left North Carolina before the late battles and participated in them. He brought the brigades of Generals Martin and French because, the enemy being in and upon James River, it was thought proper to provide against any attempt he might make to penetrate North Carolina and cut the railroad from the north, which might have been among his designs. With his view General Holmes was ordered back to the south side of the river immediately after the battles, where he was joined by Generals Martin and French. The information received by General Holmes led him to believe, as I do, that the principal part of General Burnside's command had been transferred to Virginia, where General I believe they mow are.
Major General D. H. Hill is in command of the district lately commanded by General Holmes, as you will perceive from the inclosed copy of the