RICHMOND, VA., December 11, 1862.
Respectfully referred to General French.
I am disappointed and surprised to learn that only three regiments had arrived at Wilmington on the 8th instant. I would be pleased to have all the facts stated in reference to the change of regiments and the cause of delay or non-arrival of the fourth regiment.
G. W. SMITH,
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., December 9, 1862.
Major General GUSTAVUS W. SMITH:
GENERAL: The inclosed of Governor Vance, of North Carolina, and the reply* of this Department upon the subject of the destruction of certain staple productions of that State in the contingency of the danger of their falling into the hands of the enemy, will inform you of the views of the Department as to your own conduct in that contingency. Much property has been sacrificed improperly in the South west under the act of Congress of March 17, 1862, to regulate the destruction of property under military necessity, and anxiety is naturally felt whenever there is any prospect of an exercise of the powers intrusted to the military authorities. While the Department is persuaded of the propriety of destroying property rather than it should be captured to aid the enemy in the prosecution of the war, it is solicitous that the destruction should not take place unless there is imminent danger that such a contingency will happen. You will instruct the generals and other officers of your department conformably to the views herein expressed.
With consideration and respect, your obedient servant,
By order the Secretary of War:
J. A. CAMPBELL,
Assistant Secretary of War.
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPT.,
Raleigh, N. C. December 6, 1862.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War:
DEAR SIR: The State of North Carolina is purchasing some 15,000 or 20,000 bales of cotton and storing in the interior for purpose of obtaining credit abroad, &c. The order to burn all not removed west of the Weldon and Wilmington Railroad by the 16th instant will embrace a large lot bought by the State. Can you not order General French to respect all such where the holder exhibits a contract of sale to the State? If so, I will make arrangements to destroy it myself on the approach of the enemy. I would respectfully suggest that the execution of that order will have a very unhappy effect on that portion of the country, not only producing great dissatisfaction but even distress in many instances, where people have lost negroes and stock and have nothing left but their cotton to live upon. I respectfully recommend that the order be generally delayed.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Z. B. VANCE.