I believe the Department to be fully impressed with urgency of the case and aware of its necessities; but pressed so heavily at so many points it has so far been unable to supply here but a very small part of the number of troops I consider indispensable to a successful defense of Wilmington. In the mean time I endeavoring to make the best use I can of the mens at my disposal. In view of my small force and the undoubted intention of the enemy to attack this place at no distant day, I recommend Your Excellency to take speedy and strong measures to secure to your people the large supply of slat now on hand in the city. It should at once be placed, at the expense of the owners, out of the chance of capture by the four routes-Wilmington and Manchester Railroad, Charlotte an rutherford Railroad, Cape Fear River, and Wilmington and Weldon Railroad. Should the place fall (and I cannot say it will not, unless I am heavily and speedily re-enforced) the salt-works must be lost. I should do all in my power to aid in securing it. The accompanying letter will explain to you the difficulty of this position.
W. H. C. WHITING,
CHARLESTON, S. C., December 7, 1862.
Brigadier General W. H. C. WHITING,
Wilmington, N. C.:
Look out for Weldon, if they are not going to James River.
G. T. BEAUREGARD.
Wilmington, N. C., December 8, 1862.
Major General GUSTAVUS W. SMITH,
Commanding, &c., Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: I understand that your first order directing four regiments to be sent here to me assigned the two which had been taken from here by General French, viz, [Paul F.] Faison's and Radcliffe's. Neither of the latter have arrived. It is reported that Colonel Jordan's regiment, which has come, was substituted for Colonel Faison's by General French, on the ground that Colonel Faison's was too good a regiment for him to spare and he preferred sending an indifferent one; but as I have but very few troops with which to perform or attempt a great work I much prefer they should be as good as can be had. I therefore respectfully request that you will cause General French to carry out the original order. General Clingman is may authority for the circumstance of the substitution. So far three regiments have arrived here-Cantwell's, Shaw's, and Jordan's. Should it be in your power to forward at any time additional troops, and I cannot have any of my old Mississippi regiments, I should like to have Colonel Leventhorpe's North Carolina regiment sent here.
I have not so far been able to ascertain the destination of the fleet reported to have left New Berne. It has not to our knowledge passed to the southward.
W. H. C. WHITING,