will be by land from Topsail. Possibly a feint or diversion simultaneously may be attempted with gunboats on the outer harbor. I have reported to the Department 10,000 infantry, six batteries of artillery, and one regiment of cavalry, as the very least force by which Wilmington can be rendered secure against an advance from the Sound. While the Department agrees with me in this necessity, we are so pressed everywhere that doubtless it will be unable to comply. You remark, in regard to co-operativeness, "if Wilmington is attacked, will send you assistance." It must be observed that if the attack is waited for it will be too late to send assistance. With their advance from the Sound they would of course cut off the railroad bridge over the W---- E----, and the garrison here can neither be relieved nor can it retreat against such an approach. The artillery on the river cannot be counted an element in the defense. In any case they must remain at their batteries. Clingman's brigade (when complete), Young's small battalion, and one battery is all that is here for the defense of the place.
W. H. C. WHITING,
Wilmington, N. C., November 26, 1862.
Major General GUSTAVUS W. SMITH,
Commanding District, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: Yours of the 21st is received to-day. I regret as you do the inability to supply the troops I deem necessary to secure this place. I was afraid of it, but it was necessary to represent exactly the state of affairs and the necessity in the premises. We must do the best we can. I have been in hopes that possibly a few thousand men might be spared from the western army for the winter on this coast if not from General Lee. The river defenses here are in pretty good order, and seem to be well designed. Fort Caswell is weak. If the river was the only route of the enemy to this city I think he would find it difficult. Day before yesterday a steamer entered New River and steamed up several miles. I ordered the only light battery I have to attack her. Have not yet heard from it. General French seems to be under the impression that I am under his command. Will you please to inform him that by the express direction of the War Department I report to you for orders? I shall, of course, keep him advised of everything that attains, with a view to cordial co-operation, but I am not under his orders.
W. H. C. WHITING,
Richmond, Va., November 26, 1862.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding Army of Northern Va., Fredericksburg, Va.:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 23rd was received at the Point of Rocks on Monday afternoon. Instructions were given to General French and Brigadier-General Wise and Daniel to take effective measures for procuring the earliest practicable information.