WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., January 8, 1863.
His Excellency ZEBULON B. VANCE,
Governor of North Carolina:
SIR: I send you herewith an extract from a letter of General Robert E. Lee, just received.* It explained his views in relation to the threatened movements of the enemy on your State and his inability to supply the re-enforcements which would be desirable for your defense. You will observe that he, like myself, relies, in the existing deficiency of regular troops, on the patriotism and valor of the citizens of your State, and seeks to know whether the presence of one of his most distinguished generals (General D. H. Hill of your State) might not prove advantageous in rousing and stimulating the people and in counseling and co-operating with the State authorities. On this subject I wish to defer to your judgment and wishes, of which I should be pleased to be advised. Before receiving this letter from General Lee I had taken the liberty respectfully to suggest for your consideration a call I had made on the Governor of Virginia for the aid of the militia, and to request, if it met your approbation, that a similar call should be made in North Carolina by the State on its militia, and by the Confederate Government on the conscripts. By such means I hope adequate aid may be obtained to repel the threatened invasion of your State.
With high respect and esteem, very truly, yours,
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
Wilmington N. C., January 9, 1863.
Colonel HARRISON, Commanding Brigade:
COLONEL: Having secured your immediate position on the road and cleared away the brush in front of the works, proceed to the full extent of your implements and force to the construction of obstacles and defensive works to the right of your position, at all points where the enemy might endeavor to turn your right, just as if you were to have 5,000 men instead of only your present command. For one species of obstacles I would recommend parties of ax-men, under intelligent officers, to follow the course of the little miry runs on the low ground to the left and right of the old field, to fell trees and make a difficult abatis on this side of the crests or rises on this side-a continuous line of log breastworks for skirmishers and riflemen; clear out brush and undergrowth in the field of fire on the opposite side, and fell trees in line and at random to throw opposing movements into confusion, taking care to have our own side masked. For road-cutters, press the negro and salt-workers generally. With a little instructions and under superintendence of intelligent officers they will soon learn. As well as I recollect the little sketch here is something like the old field.+
I would here a little in advance of the road throw up two cremaillere lines, selecting the most commanding ground, one following somewhat the direction a o toward the pond, the other that of c a, thrown well to your rear. On the right of the pond, again, similar works might be made where sufficiently open country occurs. The cover also for the batteries heretofore proposed for Sudberry's Crossing may also be constructed, together with infantry cover. I must leave a great deal to your
*See Lee to Seddon, January 5, p. 819.
+Omitted as unimportant.