September 24, and to request re-enforcements of infantry to be sent if it was expected of me to go into active service during the cool weather now rapidly approaching. Further reflection on this subject has convinced me of the propriety of my request, and especially as regards new regiments, and I beg leave to reurge this matter and to further say that, even if it is not intended that I should make any decided movement, this place presents very great facilities as a camp of instruction for a very large body of troops and would be more available for operations on the flank of the enemy should that be rendered necessary by their retreat from Richmond or from any other cause. Even if thirty or forty new regiments be sent I will devote my personal time to drilling and perfecting them in their duties. I have several old colonels who are abundantly able to assist me in training the regiments in battalion and brigade movements.
I take measures to be fully informed through deserters, spies, & c., of the enemy's strength, preparations for defense, and movements in this department.
Between this point and Raleigh there are about 8,000 men, principally infantry, two regiments of cavalry, and a small force of light artillery. In the country between the Tar and Roanoke Rivers there is a movable force of about 3,000 men, threatening Washington and Plymouth, and fearing to attack either.
My informant says that a permanent guard of one regiment is kept at Weldon Bridge; but there are other supporting bodies that could be concentrated to the amount of 5,000 or 10,000 men before I could reach there. This, of course, is independent of any force that might be sent from Richmond or Petersburg.
At Wilmington and in the defenses at the mouth of the Cape Fear River are about 3,000 men. The extent and strength of the defenses at the mouth of the Cape Fear have been largely increased of late. On Federal Point, north of New Inlet, a long line of batteries has been erected, inclosing in their limits the light-house and terminating beyond in a large and strong work called Fort Fisher. The number of guns mounted are thirty-six, several of which are of so great caliber as to throw shot farther than any guns carried by the present blockading squadron. The force of the fort is now actively engaged in erecting a large bomb-proof casemate battery of six heavy guns. Across New Inlet is Turk's Island, on which there is a battery of six guns. At the mouth of the Cape Fear River, Fort Caswell has been strengthened, but to what extent I am unable to say; the sand-hills, however, within range of its guns, have been leveled, so as to afford no shelter.
Fort Johnston consists of, in addition to the original block-house, a battery of at least three guns. Ascending the river the defenses are, first, Fort Saint Philip, at Old Brunswick, mounting nine guns, bearing on the river - open gorge. On the east side are three batteries: First, Lazaretto Battery, mounting three guns; second, Fort French, a bomb-proof, mounting three guns; third, Fort Ellis, mounting seven guns. The first battery is about 7 miles from Wilmington; the second is within 500 yards of the first, and the third 3 1/2 miles from the first, and are all open gorge. There are also small batteries protecting the roads to Masonborough Inlet.
Epaulements for the purpose of sheltering field pieces are thrown up at intervals from Fort Fisher to Masonborough Inlet. The pieces usually sent on the beach are two heavy breech-loading English rifled guns, saved from the wreck of the Modern Greece. I have late information that Masonborough Inlet is extensively used by light-draught