HEADQUARTERS, February 26, 1863.
General R. E. LEE, Fredericksburg, Va.:
The following is just from General Pryor:
Scouts just in report arrivals of transports daily. Number now estimated at 50,000. Gradually moving up the river. Persons from Norfolk report Hooker at Fort Monroe.
My scout reports the force at Newport News at 40,000 or 50,000, but has none of the other items.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,
Petersburg, Va., February 26, 1863.
In obedience to authority from the War Department the undersigned hereby assumes command of this department. Department headquarters are for the present established at this point, to which all reports will be directed. The following-named officers are announced as composing the general staff, and will be obeyed and respected accordingly: Major G. M. Sorrel, assistant adjutant-general; Major Thomas J. Goree and Lieutenant R. W. Blackwell, aides-de-camp; Majs. J. W. Fairfax and O. Latrobe, inspectors-general; Major S. P. Mitchell, chief quartermaster; Major R. J. Moses, chief commissary of subsistence; Major Thomas Walton, commissary of subsistence; Lieutenant Colonel P. T. Manning, chief of ordnance; Surg. J. S. D. Cullen, medical director; Surg. R. Barksdale, medical inspector; Colonel J. B. Walton, chief of artillery; Captain J. H. Manning, signal officer.
Wilmington, N. C., February 27, 1863.
Major General D. H. HILL, Goldsborough, N. C.:
MY DEAR GENERAL: I have sent one 10-inch columbiad to Fort Caswell. I may also send the one now mounted at the city. I wrote to the Secretary some days since with regard to armament. They are no doubt fully aware of the necessities of this place, which I have earnestly endeavored to set forth ever since I was assigned to this command. Please write to the Governor and urge the speedy sending here of 500 or 600 negroes. I have spoken and written to him about it. I have moved Evans' brigade to camp near Masonborough. Faison's regiment, of Ransom's [brigade], occupies Harrison's lines at Sudberry's, and another regiment Stevens' lines on northeast. The remaining three regiments are south of the city, outside the Greenfield Pond. I send you a letter* from my man Sharp, whom I keep in front as my "cavalry." It contains some interesting information. Evans had an underground communication with New Berne. I presume Daniel may have the same. There was a battery of four 20-pounder Parrotts at Goldsborough, for which, or a similar one, I applied. It would make a formidable addition to our means of defense, especially on the river, from its mobility. I do not know whether you have it now or not. It was General Smith's intention to send it to me.
W. H. C. WHITING,