War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0746 NORTH CAROLINA AND S. E. VIRGINIA. Chapter XXX.

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tection extended to the citizens. They are completely at the mercy of the enemy and nothing but his clemency prevents their total ruin. The people are for the most part loyal to the Confederacy and have acted with surprising prudence and faithfulness. But how long is it prudent to suffer these people to depend entirely upon the enemy for safety and feel that they are neglected, if not abandoned, by their own Government? The greater part of the able-bodied men of the county have volunteered in companies raised in this and the adjoining counties and are now in the army. Some have been taken out by the conscript law, and the attempted execution of that law has driven many of not very reliable character to the enemy at Plymouth, and many more of little better character are in readiness to repair to Plymouth or to the gunboats if its further execution is attempted. The loyal citizens have more to dread from these deserters than from the regular enemy. By the census of 1860 it appears that there are 8,000 slaves in this county and only 6,000 whites. They have as yet lost comparatively few slaves, but it is with great difficulty that the few men left here, unsupported by a show of military force, are able to guard the avenues of escape and keep up efficient police regulations. If they should attempt to remove the slaves the most of them would run off at once, and any general attempt to remove them would produce an almost universal stampede, resulting in the loss of the negroes and endangering the lives of the few citizens. But if the removal could be effected, how could so large a number be fed elsewhere, and what would become of the property necessarily left behind? But as Southern men they take another view of the consequences of such a removal. If the slave-holders, being men of means, flee upon the approach of danger and leave the poorer classes, who are unable to move, and the families of soldiers in the army exposed not only to the enemy but to the gangs of runaway slaves, it will produce a state of things and of feeling much to be dreaded. Is it not the duty of the influential slave-holder to remain and to exert himself to preserve social order and to prevent an entire disruption of society? It is hoped that the enemy will soon be drive away, and these people are bearing up under their troubles sustained by that hope, feeling that they have been and still are neglected, but yet willing to believe that the best has been done that circumstances would allow. Several months spent in this state of constant danger and anxiety has enabled the thinking men of this county to see what was necessary to be done more clearly, perhaps, than can be seen by those at a distance, even in authority, who must judge from reports only.

They met in Windsor on the 15th instant and agreed to ask the influence of Your Excellency with the Confederate authorities to adopt the following measures and such others as may be deemed most expedient:

1st. That two companies of cavalry be quartered in Bertie County permanently, and they desire especially the two companies commanded by Captains Randolph and Eure, which are now somewhere on the Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad. They ask these two officers because they know them to be men of great discretion, having the entire confidence of the people of this section. They think a force under an indiscreet officer would be of more injury than benefit. For instance, should an officer exhibit any troops upon water-courses in sight of the enemy it would cause a shelling of the whole neighborhood, and if near any dwelling would insure its destruction. They deem the character of the officer sent in this emergency of the very greatest importance, and would