turning the little county town and seizing a lot of salt and other plunder. An armed force was promptly sent from Knoxville, under command of General Davis, to suppress the insurrection, which was accomplished before the local militia could get there, though ordered out immediately. But in doing so a degree of cruelty and barbarity was displayed, shocking and outrageous in the extreme, on the part of Lieutenant Colonel J. A. Keith, Sixty-fourth North Carolina Troops, who seems to have been in command, and to have acted in this respect without orders from his superiors, so far as I can learn. I beg leave to ask you to read the inclosed letter* (copy) from A. S. Merrimon, State's attorney for that judicial district, I desire you to have proceedings instituted at once against this officer, who, if the half be true, is a disgrace to the service and to North Carolina. You may depend upon the respectability and fairness of Mr. Merrimon, who made an investigation officially by my order. I have also written General Davis.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Z. B. VANCE.
Petersburg, Va., February 28, 1863.
Major General D. H. HILL,
Goldsborough, N. C.:
GENERAL: From the reports that we have of the enemy's strength at and near New Berne it would seem practicable for us to concentrate from Wilmington and your forces and cut the New Berne garrison off from the sea-coast. Please have this in your mind and collect such information on the subject as may be useful, and at the same time make such other arrangements for such an expedition as may be necessary, but let no one know that you have anything of the kind in view. We should make every effort to get supplies from the counties near the enemy's position. I hope that you will collect all information upon the subject of supplies also. I hope to be able to make you a visit soon, but hope that you will send me all the information in the mean time. The cavalry was ordered to Bertie for the purpose of getting supplies as much as for any other purpose. If the cavalry is particularly important where it is it can remain for the present. Pickett's and Hood's divisions, of my corps, are here. The enemy is reported quite strong at Newport News, but no present indications of active operations.
I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Fredericksburg, Va., February 28, 1863.
Lieutenant General JAMES LONGSTREET,
Commanding North Carolina Department:
GENERAL: I have received your letter of the 24th+ and dispatch of 25th.+ I have as yet heard of but three army corps of General Hooker's army descending the Potomac. A scout who has been on the river for the last ten days reports on the 26th that everything has been quiet on
*See p. 893.