Wilmington, N. C., January 5, 1863
Colonel JOHN A. BAKER,
Commanding Forty-first [North Carolina Troops or Third] Cavalry
COLONEL: Colonel Stevens, commanding Twenty-fourth South Carolina Regiment, with Preston's battery of four pieces, has been directed to occupy the vicinity of Island Creek, on the Holly Shelter road, in advance of Northeast Bridge, as outpost there. He is erecting works of defense at that point. In like manner, on the plank road at Sudberry's, about 17 miles from here, and outpost has been established, to which Colonel Harrison, commanding Third Brigade, has been ordered with two batteries. On the advance of the enemy in force for the attack with two batteries. On the advance of the enemy in force for the attack of Wilmington you will endeavor to ascertain the route he takes with his main column. A part of your cavalry should fall back on the Holly Shelter road and report to Colonel Stevens, and a portion on the plank road, reporting to Colonel Harrison. The division of your command and the route you yourself take will of course depend on the circumstances of the enemy's approach, and is left to you. The enemy's advance should be delayed by every means in your power. The Magnolia couriers and troops most advanced in that direction might annoy their rear, retreating, if compelled, by the west side of the Northeast Branch and rejoining the command by the ferry in rear of Colonel Stevens. Colonel Harrison being in the vicinity of Captain Newkirk's camp, that officer will for the present report to the colonel for special orders, continuing of course his routine reports to you.
W. H. C. WHITING,
CHARLESTON, S. C., January 5, 1863
Brigadier General, W. H. C. WHITING,
Wilmington, N. C.:
Send the Whitworth gun soon as possible. Carriage may be made here.
G. T. BEAUREGARD.
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,
Raleigh, N. C., January 5, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I beg to trouble you in regard to a matter of great importance to the army-the increase of desertion. In most of the midland and low-land counties of this State I shall be able to make arrests and prevent serious combinations of them by means of the local militia, with the occasional assistance of the regiment of conscripts at this place; but in the mountains of the west the case is different. The enforcement of the conscript law in East Tennessee has filled the mountains with the deserters from our army, form very formidable bands of outlaws, who hide in the fastness, waylay the passes, rob, steal and destroy at pleasure. The evil has become so great that travel has been almost suspended through the mountains. The militia has become too feeble to resist them, as that section has turned out its proportion for the war with the greatest patri-