my force not been large enough to divide. In this connection I refer to my letters to your predecessor of November last and to my correspondence with Major-General Smith, in which the necessity of a covering or movable column of troops is fully set forth. Will you please to submit these considerations to the President? I shall shortly be able to forward for his information maps and sketches which will show the whole system of defense for this important post.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. H. C. WHITING,
Petersburg, Va., February 28, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General:
GENERAL: I wrote several days ago asking for general of cavalry, General Robertson, now commanding the cavalry in this department, was sent here to organize and instruct it. He was not deemed a very efficient officer in the field and was therefore relieved from duty with the Army of Northern Virginia. The cavalry is now considered in proper condition for field service, and could be used to great advantage, in proper hands, in getting supplies from North Carolina in and near the enemy's lines. I write to you upon the subject again, in order that the Department may fully understand the importance of having the cavalry in proper hands, and to renew my recommendation of General Ransom for promotion to the cavalry. It may be important, too, that we should act promptly if we hope to collect any great quantity of the supplies in Eastern North Carolina.
I am, sir, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
Abstract from Field Return of Troops commanded by Major General S. G. French, for February 28, 1863.
Present for duty.
Command. Officers Men. Aggregat Aggrega
. e te
Forces on Blackwater. 318 4.823 5.904 8.123
Twenty-ninth Regiment 36 604 642 862
Moseley's artillery 8 140 160 182
Bradford's battery. 3 75 86 92
Sturdivant's battery. 3 74 86 100
Confederate Guard. 3 63 68 96
Hargrove Blues. 3 96 105 123
Moise's cavalry 2 23 28 29
Signal Corps. 4 124 133 140
Camp paroled 14 152 173 216
Grand total. 394 6.174 7.385 9.963