most cheerfully send three regiments and a corresponding force of artillery to the vicinity of Leechville but for two considerations: First, I have not got them to spare; secondly, with the power of the enemy to throw heavy re-enforcements from New Berne into Washington it would be extremely hazardous; they might be cut off. You will readily perceive under what embarrassments I labor. With my small force I have to hold in check 25,000 at Suffolk, 2,000 at Washington, 12,000 perhaps now in New Berne, and a large force represented at Beaufort. The force I sent last week to Plymouth I hope is now on the borders of Beaufort and Washington Counties, and may bring out some supplies. You will readily perceive I cannot handle my small force as I would wish, because if I were to withdraw them from any point to operate on another for any length of teem it would be but to expose that point from which they were withdrawn. If I take the troops from Kinston to operate toward Beaufort County it exposes Goldsborough and Wilmington. If I send them from here it leaves 25,000 in front of me with only a march of 40 miles from Zuni. I am doing all I can to draw supplies from the eastern parts of the State, and even in this much depends on the cheerful co-operation of the people.
Yours, very truly,
S. G. FRENCH,
ENGINEER BUREAU, October 30, 1862.
Colonel WALTER GWYNN, Goldsborough, N. C.:
COLONEL: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letters of the 22nd and 24th instant. In accordance with your wish your son has been applied for, and as soon as the detail is granted he will be ordered to report to you in Tarborough for duty.
I have just learned from a letter of General S. G. French to General G. W. Smith that 100 negroes are ordered to assemble at Hamilton. You will therefore take immediate steps to receive and st them to work.
In your letter of the 24th, alluding to the defense of Neuse River, you write the works embrace the river batteries and will require 10,000 men for their defense. You further estimate that an armament of thirty-four guns in all will be necessary. These are works of vastly greater magnitude than I have ever contemplated or can approve. In my letter of instructions of the 9th instant I particularly called your attention to the fact that the garrisons of such forts as you might construct would be necessarily small. Instead, therefore, of building forts defending the river, in turn to be defended by covering works, I decidedly prefer, as a general thesis, and without special and controlling circumstances, one work commanding the river with strong land as well as water fronts, defiled, if necessary, to protect it from attacks on commanding ground. I most earnestly therefore call your special attention to prompt studies and actions to carry out these views. In my judgment, with rare exceptions, a permanent garrison for each position of one regiment is the utmost that can be reasonably hoped for.
J. F. GILMER,
Colonel and Chief of Engineer Bureau.