War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0767 Chapter XXX. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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ENGINEER BUREAU, November 4, 1862.

Captain JAMES W. COOKE

C. S. Navy, White Hall, N. C.:

CAPTAIN: Colonel Walter Gwynn sends the following extract from a letter of yours to him:

According to the understanding with you in Richmond I have commenced work at White Hall, and if you think the river cannot be defended in time to protect the work I will thank you to inform me of the fact through Colonel Gilmer or the Secretary of the Navy.

To which Colonel G. replies in his letter to me:

My opinion is that with a sufficient force the obstructions we at placing in the Neuse River can be defended against any force the enemy are likely to send against it. They, as well as the land defenses, will be completed, I think, in six weeks; but unless the south side of the Neuse is occupied, if the enemy possesses any enterprise at all they will most assuredly destroy the gunboat which Commander Cooke is building at White Hall.l A force stationed at White Hall might, however, prevent such a disaster. You will please communicate this opinion to Commander Cooke.

If further information with regard to troops for defense be desired it is respectfully suggested that Major General S. G. French, commanding at Petersburg, be addressed on the subject.

Very respectfully, yours,

J. F. GILMER,

Colonel and Chief of Engineer Bureau.

ENGINEER BUREAU,

Richmond, Va., November 4, 1862.

Captain WALTER GWYNN,

Dept. of Eastern North Carolina, Goldsborough, N. C.:

COLONEL: I have to acknowledge your letter of October 31, just received. Your views regarding the safety of the Roanoke River and the propriety of continuing the construction of a gunboat at Hamilton shall be promptly communicated to Commander James W. Cooke, of the Navy. I am of the decided opinion that the cost of screw-piles and the difficulty of obtaining them renders their use injudicious. With regard to the two pile-drivers called for by you I would suggest that definite descriptions and plans should be prepared, and that they should be executed in Petersburg. The bureau cannot attend to such details, and the workshops of Richmond are so crowded with work for the Ordnance Department that they should be the last called on for other work. Three thousand pounds each strikes me as an excessive weight for your hammers; 1,200 pounds would be far better. If you need another assistant it is suggested that you employ Glaucus E. Olds, a member of Captain William W. Carraway's company (unattached), of the Forty-first Regiment North Carolina Troops. The company is now at Kinston. His services can probably be secured at once by communicating with his captain, and in the mean time, should you desire it, an application will be made to the Secretary of War for his regular details.

Very respectfully, yours,

J. F. GILMER,

Colonel and Chief of Engineer Bureau.