War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0843 Chapter XXX. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - CONFEDERATE.

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Wilmington, N. C., January 13, 1863.

Lieutenant Colonel GWATHMEY,

Commanding Fort Caswell, N. C.:

COLONEL: We have reports from the enemy's lines which indicate that the enemy will commence a movement upon this place both by land and water to-morrow. Though our works are by no means as forward as we could wish, I am sure that everything has been done in our power and with our limited time, especially by your command. You will hold your position to the last extremity. If attacked by iron-clads upon which you can make no impression or which succeed in passing you, endeavor to save some of your guns for fire upon the wooden ships or transports. As soon as the enemy make their appearance send off your negro force. For this purpose a steamer will be sent you; but in case a steamer should not arrive soon enough you are authorized in the means time to impress and hold at the fort all the sail-boats and small vessels about Smithville. Should it unfortunately, from what of provisions or destruction of your armament, become necessary to abandon the work, make arrangements to blow it up and destroy it as far as practicable. Send out an intelligent officer to select the best point in such an event for crossing the marsh to the mainland and endeavor to bring off your command. The time for putting down the submarine shells is left to your judgment. The keys would seem to be the best position. I sincerely wish that the direction relative to destruction will not be tested, but relying upon God, our cause, and your brave command I hope for victory. If we are beaten it will be through no fault of yours.

Very respectfully,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.


Wilmington, N. C., January 13, 1863.


Commanding Fort Fisher, N. C.:

COLONEL: I have received reports from the enemy's lines which indicate that an attack will be made both by land and water upon this place, the movement to commence to-morrow. I need not repeat the expressions of my confidence in you and your garrison and in your determination to hold your position to the last. Some contingencies may arise in which you may require instruction. Should you find that iron-clads are too much for you and succeed in passing, endeavor to save and reserve some of your guns for fire on the wooden ships and transports. You will report by telegraph every hour the progress of events. I do not think ships alone can drive you out, though it is possible that iron-clads may be able to dismount your guns. You will therefore, even if the iron-clads pass you, continue to hold the fort as long as you are supplied with provisions. Instruct your vedettes to patrol for any indications of an attempt to land in force below Masonborough Sound and give me instant information. As soon as the enemy's fleet makes its appearance send off your negro force; a steamer will be sent for that purpose; but should it not appear in time you will send them off on foot under charge to make a forced march, say to the Riverside Salt-Works or other point where a steamer can be sent, at the same time letting