WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., January 13, 1863.
General L. E. LEE, Commanding, &c.:
SIR: At the suggestion of the President I inclose for your consideration a letter from General Smith, covering another from Brigadier-General Pryor. They were received day before yesterday, but under the impression that the greater needs of the army in North Carolina would require all the re-enforcements you could safely spare, I had forborne to press them on your attention.
With high esteem, most respectfully, yours,
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
GOLDSBOROUGH, N. C., January 9, 1863.
(Received January 10, 1863.)
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
I have the honor to inclose copy of letter from Brigadier-General Pryor, and to request that either Colonels Ball's or Chambliss' regiment of Virginia Cavalry, and the Sixty-first Virginia Infantry (properly belonging to the Richmond command, but now with General Lee's army), be sent to General Pryor. I have not the force to spare, but am satisfied that General Pryor should be furnished with the little aid he asks for the enable him to accomplish such important results.
Very respectfully and truly, yours,
G. W. SMITH,
HEADQUARTERS FORCES ON BLACKWATER,
January 6, 1863
Major General [GUSTAVUS W.] SMITH:
GENERAL: It is just a month since I assumed command of the forces on the Blackwater. The day before I arrived within sight of headquarters the enemy routed a portion of our forces, captured a section of artillery, and carried away a number of prisoners. We never thought then of crossing the line with any aggressive purpose, and our utmost exertions were devoted merely to the maintenance of our position on this side the Blackwater. The enemy had absolute control of the country between this point and Suffolk. I am happy to assure you, general that such is not now the case. A most formidable attack upon one point of my line I repulsed with a handful of men and drove the enemy back to Suffolk. I assumed the offensive, and, as you know, with a very inferior force I have repeatedly driven in the enemy's pickets almost within sight of his stronghold. The result is that I have shut up the enemy in Suffolk. I have delivered all the intervening country from their desolate sway. When I arrived here forage and provisions were all drawn from Petersburg. Since I assumed command not a pound of meat nor a grain of corn, not a bundle of fodder, has been derived from that source. I have subsisted by own command within the enemy's line and have furnished General French's quartermaster 5,000 pounds of beef and 50,000 pounds of salted pork, all procured from within the enemy's lines. Meanwhile I have strengthened my line throughout