gle prolonged let us not sacrifice at once the object for which e are fighting.
I have not thought it worth while to dwell in argument upon the question as to whether the mountain people can subsist after taking out every man between the ages of eighteen and forty. It will be sufficient for any one acquainted with this section to pass in imagination through almost any neighborhood and consider the matter over. In a short distance of where I now write there are seven families, living on adjoining lands, and the only man to be left for them all is ninety years old. I have mentioned this case to no one who has not been able to point out one similar to it. The usual means of subsistence seems to be cut off from great numbers.
I shall only ask you to reply to the questions presented in the first few sentences. Knowing the press of important matters that must be upon you, it is with reluctance that I have written at all, and was only induced to bring matters to your notice which are not immediately under your control by the request of a number of citizens that I should do so.
With great respect, yours, truly,
D. W. SILER.
RICHMOND, VA., November 13, 1862.
Brigadier General S. G. FRENCH,
Commanding, Petersburg, Va.:
Brigadier General W. H. C. Whiting having been assigned to Wilmington, N. C., for the defense of the Cape Fear, will report directly to Major General G. W. Smith. The Secretary of War desires your opinion as to what should constitute the boundaries of the proposed Wilmington District.
Very respectfully, &c.,
JASPER S. WHITING,
CAPE FEAR DISTRICT,
Warsaw, N. C., November 14, 1862.
Major General GUSTAVUS W. SMITH,
Commanding, &c., Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: My first and last request will be for troops the instant they are available. The Department is undoubtedly aware of the imminent need for them for the defense of Wilmington. The fever is abating rapidly and there will shortly be no danger to apprehend as to the health of the men. Then it is that I anticipate trouble from the enemy, who, aware of the undefended condition of this important place, are likely to strike before we can collect our resources. the peculiar features of the site of Wilmington as regard the ocean, the harbor at a distance of 24 miles with its two entrances, the river and the surrounding country, make the presence of a strong maneuvering force, in addition to the stationery batteries, indispensable. not less than 10,000 effective men should be collected as soon as possible, together with five or six field batteries. I hope the Department will be able to comply with this requisition, which, as the difficulty of the position is so well known, will not be considered too great. The batteries might be drawn from the reserve artillery of the army, which, in my opinion, was always in larger force than required. If any troops are on hand to start they may be sent at once to Northeast Station, on the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad.