that you cause in all the eastern counties, as far as practical, the enrollment of all persons capable of bearing arms into companies (that are not conscripts), whose duty it shall be to watch the enemy, and on any movements taking place to hover on his line of march and give information and join our forces as guides and skirmishers; these, on being enrolled, to meet occasionally for drill and consultation under their officers as to what each shall do on the occasion and arrangement of places of rendezvous; the rolls of such companies to be sent to Richmond to put them in the Confederate service, but not to serve unless such occasion for local service be required; the sole object of putting them in the Confederate service being that should any be taken prisoners they can be exchanged. No troops in the service of any State when taken prisoners to be exchanged, the United States Government only dealing with the Confederate Government. These men can and must remain at home just as though not in service until their officers call them out on the approach of the enemy. All the details of these duties can be arranged by the men and officers when they assemble, the whole being more particularly to gain and give information and act as guides when necessary. Such a company as this for local purposes I commanded in Mississippi long before secession and for domestic tranquillity at home. A very heavy penalty was attached to any member who did not assemble with his gun and ammunition at one of the rendezvouses, or at the nearest rendezvous to the point where his services might be required, on notice from any member of the company; consequently each knew he would meet he others there. By such a system as this all approach of the enemy could be made known and all preparation be made to meet him more successfully by our army. I deem it much preferable to calling out militia and taking them from their homes. Besides, this is a revolution of the people, and those out of the army are as deeply interested as those mustered into the service. All good citizens must aid. It has been truly said that "when a people are suddenly called upon to fight for their liberty and are sorely pressed upon, the last field of battle is the floors upon which their children have played; the chambers where the family of each man has slept; upon and under the proofs of which they have been sheltered; in the gardens of their recreating; in the streets or in the market-place; before the altars of their temples and among their congregated dwellings, blazing and uprooted;" and if the people cannot to all or part of this, they can organize and ambush the enemy by the wayside and dog his steps and harass him at every swamp and crossing in those counties. Some of the best and most influential citizens should by their presence and example be with the parties engaged in obstructing the rivers, and not sit idle, smoking the pipe of peace by their family firesides and calling solely on our poor soldiers to do all. We must all unite against a common and hazardous enemy, who disregards most of the customs of civilized viz.
Yours, very truly,
S. G. FRENCH,
Wilmington, N. C., November 26, 1862.
Commanding District, Petersburg, Va.:
GENERAL: Yours of the 23rd instant is received. I hope Radcliffe's regimen will be on shortly as well as Faison's. The attack on Wilmington
50 R R-VOL XVIII