Richmond, Va., November 5, 1862.
Major General S. G. FRENCH,
Commanding Department of North Carolina, Petersburg, Va.:
GENERAL: Your letter of yesterday in reference to the movements of the enemy to cut off Colonel Radcliffe is received. It was shown to the Secretary of War, and with his approval I telegraphed General Lee at Culpeper Court-House:
General French urgently asks that a brigade be sent to him at once. Can you send it immediately? It is needed. I think a division should in addition be sent here, but this is not so immediately urgent.
I inclose with this a copy of a note addressed to me by Major Beckham, ordnance officer, in reference to arms for General Robertson's troops. We will do everything we can for you. Keep me informed fully upon all movements of importance.
Respectfully and truly, yours,
G. W. SMITH,
P. S.-I have written to the Postmaster-General, requesting him to establish a telegraph station at Rocky Mount, between Goldsborough and Weldon.
ENGINEER BUREAU, November 6, 1862.
Colonel WALTER GWYNN, Goldsborough, N. C.:
COLONEL: I have just received your letter of the 2nd instant and hasten to reply to the points therein presented. In reference to the extent of the works for land defense on the Neuse River I have to say that the lines as proposed by you will form an intrenched camp, and as such the lines as proposed by you will form an intrenched camp, and as such are I doubt not well located. But this is not the character of the defense indicated by your instructions. Owing to the great call for troops to meet the enemy where he is in great strength the force that can be assigned to the defense of the Neuse, Tar, and Roanoke Rivers must be comparatively small. The proper defense therefore for these rivers is the one named in the instructions heretofore sent from this Bureau to you for your government, viz: One work with batteries bearing on the river and the obstructions therein, with water and land fronts of sufficient strength of profile to resist an assault, thus enabling the small garrisons (as small they must be) to hold out until a succoring force can relieve them. Such works as a general thing can be enfiladed from surrounding heights. This kind of work must be first established. If time be allowed for occupying the surrounding hills afterward it may be judicious to do so. Intrenched camps may have to be made by the troops when they are concentrated for the defense of a particular point. The ground at Rainbow Bend, as you describe it (being defended in part by an extensive pond and swamp) is particularly favorable. The line you are extending across to rest its right flank on these natural defenses is no doubt judiciously chosen, but you will not lose sight of the importance of a work even at this position which can be held by a small garrison, say one regiment. I will call the attention of Major-General Smith, commanding the southern portion of the Department of Virginia, to what you report in reference to want of concert in the operations of the troops in your vicinity. I approve your proposition to visit the city of Petersburg for the purpose of getting pile-drivers and hands skilled in their use as soon as you shall have made all the arrangements for the prosecution of the works. When in that city you will please call on