that after attack it will be too late to re-enforce. I have also been somewhat restive under the delays which have been made in complying with your orders and with the change in designated regiments made by your juniors rank, apparently without your sanction. General French writes me a note explaining the delay, but not the change in the regiments. I needed, also, very much more field artillery, and that was an army which I presumed, from my knowledge of the Army of the Potomac, there could be no difficulty in supplying. I have received, both from Richmond and General Beauregard, telegrams relative to the starting of the enemy's fleet. They do not so far seem to be intended for me; most probably, in my opinion, for Mobile. They have has ample time to reach Charleston or this place. I think that we can make a pretty fair fight against a naval attack, but as I have frequently explained, my force is utterly inadequate on land. The report shows quite a large aggregate of heavy artillery, but that cannot be included at all in the estimate for the land defense, nor indeed can the heavy artillery defend itself against land attack. I wish yo could come and see me. In two hours' observation you would learn more of the situation than from a dozen of my letters, though I do not think you would differ materially from me.
Very truly, yours,
W. H. C. WHITING,
HEADQUARTERS FORCES ON THE BLACKWATER,
December 4, 1862.
MY DEAR GENERAL: My position in command of the forces at this advanced post places me in frequent and full communication with friends within the enemy's lines. They afford me information which I generally find correct. From a letter, dated yesterday, written by my most reliable correspondent in Suffolk, I think proper to furnish you the following extract:
I would further state that I also learn a simultaneous attack will be made on Fredericksburg, Weldon, and Charleston. They will attack Charleston, they say, with 200 vessels, and that very soon.
This you will take for what it is worth. In the New York Time of the 28th, in the local column, is a paragraph to the effect that Banks' expedition of 300 vessels is about to start, with the design of inflicting a destructive blow on the heart of the rebellion. Perhaps it means Charleston. In abundance of precaution I have thought proper to possess you of these rumors.
Confident in your ability to repel any assault, I have the honor to be, truly, your friend,
ROGER A. PRYOR.
Wilmington, N. C., December 6, 1862.
Governor VANCE, Raleigh, N. C.:
SIR: I send you herewith a copy of letters addressed to the War Department since my assignment to the defense of the Cape Fear, touching the importance of the matter in hand and the men and means required.