head. I have now in the department only the infantry brigades of Evans, Pettigrew, and Daniel, and the wonderfully inefficient brigade of Robertson. With one more brigade I could harass the enemy, detain his troops in this State, possibly force him to send others here; could bring out a vast quantity of bacon, pork, and corn from the counties on the coast, and could increase our ranks by numerous conscripts. The department commissary - an energetic and efficient officer - tells me that the western part of the State is exhausted, and unless he can draw from the east he will soon by unable to supply the troops. There are millions of points of bacon in Hyde and Tyrrell which can be brought out with a proper force, and the question of supply is getting to be a very alarming one. The troops on the Rappahannock must be inactive for some time and could be well employed here. There is still another view of it, which is important in its future bearing: The planters on the Neuse, Tar, and Roanoke have sent large numbers of negroes into the interior and do not propose to raise a crop for another year. The Confederacy cannot afford to lose the planting interest, and a brigade judiciously disposed would afford such protection as is necessary to secure confidence and encourage the farmers to plant. I learn that Hampton is now idle at Gordonsville, recruiting his horses. He would find more forage in Beaufort, Washington, and Hyde than in the whole of Virginia, and he would protect the planting interest. Such a man as Hampton is much needed here; but if a brigade is needed at Gordonsville could not Robertson, with his rangers, who are not partisans, be swapped for Hampton? If the latter were in this State the Yankees would hug their gunboats everywhere. To sum up the whole matter: We need more heavy guns At Wilmington; we need another brigade of infantry to harass the Yankees, to detain their troops from Charleston, to protect the planting interest in the rich counties of the east, and to bring out supplies and conscripts; we need an efficient brigade of cavalry to keep the Yankees close shut up in their fortifications.
I hope that you have had the patience to read this long letter, and that the suggestions will receive your consideration. Whatever weight you may attach to them I am so impressed with them myself that I could not feel satisfied until I had communicated them.
With great respect,
D. H. HILL,
FEBRUARY 27, 1863.
Respectfully referred to the President.
These views strike me as sensible and timely. Would it not be well to order another brigade? Perhaps with General Longstreet's force where it now is General Colston's brigade might be spared from Petersburg.
J. A. S.,
Secretary of War.
The brigade now being removed from Goldsborough to a point on the railroad from Petersburg to Suffolk would, with the least derangement to organization, serve the first purpose. I proposed some time since the proposed disposition of Hampton's brigade to General Lee, but he dissented. It may be that the views of General Hill will prevail over his objections. It is proper to add that that brigade is idle because the