the recent storms on the coast they would have been out in force before now.
There is at this time only one battery behind; it is expected to-night and is intended for Kinston, which place has been fortified since the recent raids, and the bridge rebuilt. I think Evans can now hold it for several days against almost any force that may be brought against it. He, however, calls loudly for re-enforcements upon any collision of the extreme pickets. His brigade has been recently strengthened by returning soldiers; some 500 or 600, I understand.
Governor Vance sent me a copy of his order reorganizing the militia and offering to call them out whenever I wanted them. I sent him a telegram immediately asking him to order them out at once and when reorganized and ready for service to let me know. In the new shape they will probably be of some service. But he tells me that there is no law for the reorganization, and the whole subject will, I expect, be brought up for discussion in the Legislature.
I have written Governor Vance, sending him copies of the letter of instructions to recruiting officers and of a recent order published from here in regard to deserters and all absent without proper authority, requesting the Governor to issue a proclamation and appeal to the people. He told me when he was here on Sunday last that he would do so. The Governor has shown the utmost willingness to co-operate with us in all matters have affecting transportation, supplies, recruiting, and general efficiency of the command.
General French is at Kenansville, Warsaw, and Magnolia, with Pettigrew's, Ransom's, and Cooke's brigades. Daniel's and Davis' brigades are here. Robertson is covering the front.
My forces in this part of the State, all told, amount to about 13,000. This does not include the garrison of Wilmington. There are fortifications, with heavy guns, and one regiment of infantry at Weldon; one regiment at Hamilton and Greenville, besides the forces at petersburg and the Blackwater. I shall endeavor to concentrate upon the enemy and beat them whichever way they may come. If their main attack is against Wilmington and the iron-clads don't succeed in passing the forts we will, I think, beat them badly. It is a long line to defend; they are in very superior numbers, but we expect to win. My health is not as good as I would wish, but I won't break down if they will only come on.
Very respectfully and truly, yours,
G. W. SMITH,
Wilmington, January 21, 1863.
General SMITH, Goldsborough:
General FRENCH, Magnolia:
Enemy encamped last night 2 mils from Jacksonville; 1,000 cavalry, six pieces of artillery; said to be waiting for their infantry force, which is reported very large. Information comes from scouts and a man at whose house enemy stopped. General Robertson at Jacksonville.
W. H. C. WHITING.
JANUARY 22, 1863.
Report from the front states that the enemy has withdrawn from Jacksonville beyond White Oak.
W. H. C. WHITING.