War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0890 NORTH CAROLINA AND S. E. VIRGINIA. Chapter XXX.

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perhaps afford the explanation; but I think it more likely that it has resulted from the dissatisfaction of the troops recently sent South at finding themselves associated with negro regiments. A brief period must, however, afford a solution. Pickett's and Hood's divisions have passed through, and their general appearance, spirit, and cheerfulness afforded great satisfaction. General Longstreet is here, and under his able guidance of such troops no one entertains a doubt as to the entire safety of the capital.

With great esteem, cordially, yours,


Secretary of War.

GOLDSBOROUGH, N. C., February 23, 1863.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War, C. S. A.:

Will you permit me to give a flank statement of the condition of things in this district and hear a few suggestions made with the utmost deference? Wilmington is the point of great importance, and Fort Caswell, a small, antiquated structure, is the key to the position. It is of brick, without casemates, and has in its limited area a large brick building covered with slate. it is easy to see that a concentrated fire would be most murderous to the garrison. No work seems to have been done there until the arrival of General Whiting. He has caseated the guns bearing on the sea and has just begun casemating those on the face bearing on the inner channel. he is also raising the parapet on the harbor front so that an iron-clad, having run into the channel, cannot have a reverse fire on the water front. This work will be completed in two or three weeks. Should an attack be made earlier the fort must fall, or at least the destruction of life would be very great in it. But even when the work is done the caliber of the guns is so light that vessels might run past with but little risk. I most earnestly ask to be furnished with a 8-inch, a 10-inch, and an 11-inch gun. The works around Wilmington to resist a land attack are too slight. It is difficult to imagine what the troops employed themselves at for the last two years. I feel concerned about Wilmington. The Yankees seem to have become alarmed at the magnitude of the task before them at Charleston and may first try their hand at Wilmington by way of encouraging their troops, just as they captured Arkansas Post to get up heart for Vicksburg; or it may be that they will attack Wilmington after the fall of Charleston or the failure there. In the first case, inspirited by success, the attack would be with enthusiasm; in the latter case it would be to cover the mortification of failure and disgrace. In either event of success or reverse at Charleston we may confidently expect a fight at Wilmington; and as the enemy believe Wilmington to be the weakest of the three points threatened he may begin with it in order to remove the demoralization of the troops. I fear that we cannot make a successful resistance without more guns of heavy caliber. As soon as the movement begins at Charleston I want to threaten New Berne, Washington, and Plymouth, and possibly Morehead City, in order to keep Hunter from getting re-enforcements from this State; but I cannot make the proposed expeditions without at least one more brigade. The works at Kinston are unfortunately on the wrong side of the river, and can only be held by a brigade. Goldsborough needs fully a brigade for its protection, as it has no works at all except a bridge-