War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0852 NORTH CAROLINA AND S. E. VIRGINIA. Chapter XXX.

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hear of the successful operations of the latter below Petersburg. I will send some cavalry down when I can spare it. As he is operating in front of Petersburg I think he might be re-enforced by the regiment of which he speaks in that city or any other available troops near that place, leaving a sufficient garrison there.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,


WILMINGTON, N. C., January 20, 1863.

Governor VANCE:

Information just received would indicate a formidable movement of the enemy against this place or Goldsborough. Do what you can at Richmond to have troops sent south.



Wilmington, N. C., January 20, 1863.

Major-General FRENCH,

Commanding Division, Kenansville, N. C.:

MY DEAR GENERAL: I send you a map, in case you should have none at hand. My advanced post in Holly Shelter is at Island Creek, 4 1/2 miles above the ferry at the railroad bridge, and fortified. On the Sound road my advance is about 17 miles from the city, also fortified, and additional works under construction as fast as possible. An advance by the enemy in force by land will most probably come by the Sound road, for many reasons, but a column might come down the Holly Shelter. It would be all-important to prevent the position on the Sound road from being turned on my left, which they would undoubtedly try to do. It would become, then, a question of consideration, in case you support, whether you would move directly in Holly Shelter, crossing at Bannerman's bridge (supporting the enemy did not burn it) or at South Washington, to fall in their rear, or march at once to the ferry and operate from Island Creek in their front. My opinion inclines to the latter course for your troops, leaving to the main body, under the general commanding, to operate in the rear. In case the enemy adopt the plan of endeavoring to land somewhere between my advanced position and Confederate Point, the latter course suggested would undoubtedly be your best course and would, indeed, become very necessary to insure the security of Fort fisher and the iron batteries from reverse attack. As any such movement of the enemy would undoubtedly be accompanied by a corresponding advance on the Sound road, which it would become necessary to check, I have directed the greater portion of the cavalry in advance, in case of being forced back, to retire on Kenansville. Their intelligence is communicated by both ways. They will, of course, come under your immediate control, and you will obtain information of the enemy's movements sooner than I shall, and in time to adopt either alternative, as General Smith may direct. If their attack is ascertained to be really on Wilmington, and you have to cross the ferry, I would suggest that your force keep abreast and a little in advance of their motion to enable you to take position on their front. To save trouble of correspondence, if you approve of these suggestions, I send a copy