War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0859 Chapter XXX. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.- CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

not only give them the outer harbor but would seriously embarrass and endanger the defense of the city. Two 10-inch guns in addition to the one recently sent would add greatly to our chances against the iron-clads. These guns have been applied for. I hope that the Ordnance Department will be able to furnish them. It is very important, and there is no time to spare. In placing the three brigades near Kenansville under Major-General French they are in position to move against the flank or rear of the enemy in case they attack Wilmington; can effectually prevent their turning General Whiting's advanced position, which is on the Sound road, 16 miles from the town; and we can, if required, move tot he front on Trenton or take them in flank or rear if they move on Kinston. These three brigades are in good position to meet any movement of the enemy from New Berne or Beaufort on the south side of the Neuse.

But the shortest and best road from New Berne to Kinston crosses to the left or north bank of the Neuse some 10 or 12 miles below Kinston. I scarcely think they will cross the river; if they do I have two brigades here ready to move by railroad toward Weldon, Kinston, or Wilmington, and will endeavor to beat them, let them come as they may. Railroads are an uncertain reliance; they will worry me out of my life yet I think. But I must say in simple justice to Mr. Whitford, president of the North Carolina and Atlantic Railroad, who was appointed Government agent of railroad transportation at this point by General Holmes, and of Mr. Harvey, his subordinate, that no men could be more willing, attentive, and obliging and none more efficient than they have shown themselves. At all hours, night and day, they have served me; within five minutes they were always ready to comply with any requirement of mine. The State of North Carolina owns two-thirds of the stock in all the railroads within the State except one, and has placed everything possible at my disposal. The only trouble heretofore has been in the condition of the roads and their fixtures. Colonel Wadley left here about two weeks ago for Charleston and told me that Mr. Whitford would represent him in his absence, and all has gone on smoothly until to-day. Mr. Whitford and his subordinate or assistant, Mr. Harvey, resigned when Colonel Wadley first arrived here, but he urged them to retain their positions, which they consented to do, at least for the present. I am informed that their arduous and valuable services have been rendered the Government without compensation. The communication from Quartermaster-General dispensing with Mr. Whitford's services from the 20th instant has crippled me, as far as railroad transportation is concerned, for the present. At the moment Mr. Whitford's note, a copy of which is sent herewith,* was handed me I received a telegram saying that the pickets reported the enemy advancing in force from Trenton upon Kinston. I immediately telegraphed you, and hope that the Quartermaster-General has reversed his action, or, if not, that in future he will consult with or notify me before taking a step so vitally affecting the interest and safety of my command.

The works at Kinston are strong against attack from the south side and the enemy will find it a very different place to take from what it was before, even with the same force only there.

The papers I sent forward in General Evans' case (charges preferred against him by one of his colonels) I would like to have acted upon in some way. Please notice that General Evans had preferred charges against the colonel previously, a fact not known to me for some two


*Not found.