War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0847 Chapter XXX. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - CONFEDERATE.

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SPECIAL ORDERS,

HDQRS. ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, Numbers 14.

January 14, 1863.

I. Major General D. H. Hill, Provisional Army of the Confederate States, will immediately proceed to Richmond, Va., and report to the Adjutant and Inspector General, C. S. A.

* * * * *

By order of General Lee:

W. H. TAYLOR,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

General S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General, C. S. A.

GOLDSBOROUGH, January 14, 1863

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War, Richmond:

MY DEAR SIR: I have sent several telegrams within the last three or four days all tending to show that the enemy are re-enforcing rapidly in North Carolina and actively preparing for an offensive campaign. The force here is, as I have often stated before, inadequate for the protection of the important points from Wilmington to Richmond inclusive and we have no force as a reserve ready to take the offensive and meet the enemy whenever they come out in force. I have asked that Ransom's force be placed at my disposal, and have urged that additional troops be sent. Of course if this cannot be done we must get along the best we can without them. But it is my business to speak plainly upon these subjects and to continue to speak thus so long as there is any probability that the necessary measures for preparing to resist successfully the invasion that is now impending will be adopted. I remember well what force we had last winter in the Army of the Potomac holding position farther north than that now held by General Lee, and it was then not only decided to be impracticable to re-enforce the Army of the Potomac but detachments were made from it and sent here. What I mean to say is this, that General Lee in command of an army at Fredericksburg is not in the same point of view,, and evidently does not see things precisely as they appeared to him when General Johnston commanded that army, and he (General Lee) was overlooking and judging of the whole general operations from Richmond. This is natural, and perhaps could hardly be avoided by any one. But it is for the Government to decide whether when active operations are evidently commenced in force against important points in this State it is not necessary to diminish somewhat the army under General Lee at Fredericksburg.

Before I was reduced in relative rank in this army it was a question whether General Lee or myself should command the active forces in Northern Virginia, the other to command in Richmond, &c. Now I would like this subject brought up for a moment and considered under the supposition that I commanded in Fredericksburg and General Lee here. Would he allow me to retain the army at Fredericksburg whilst the attack in force was preparing against Wilmington? You are aware that my visit to Richmond in the latter part of December was for the purpose of conveying to the Government and to General Lee my convictions in regard to the condition of affairs in this State and to prepare in time. You saw my letter to General Lee and his reply. I received a telegram from you on the 10th instant stating that General Lee opposed