Wilmington, N. C., march 2, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: If it is not practicable to send me the heavy Parrott guns lately requested may I not have a field battery of 12-pounder Parrotts or other rifled guns, for the purpose specified in my previous letters on this matter? I should like to have Reilly's, both from the skill of that officer, his thorough acquaintance with the country (especially the locality in which he would operate), and the quality of his guns. The matter of the brigade asked for is becoming daily more important. My information from the enemy's lines confirms my opinion heretofore expressed that the Abolitionists, having utterly failed to surprise Charleston, and [being] very unwilling to attempt it, believing it almost impregnable, will endeavor to move against some weaker point. Unless Hunter should overrule Foster and try Savannah they must come here. I do not see that they would gain much, even should they take Savannah, since they already hold the port of that city and Fort Pulaski, while they might lose a great deal. At any rate, should they come here, the attack this time would be from the southward, that is, Cape Fear and the Frying-Pan Shoals. A corresponding advance by land from New Berne, as at first designed, would be supported by fresh troops drawn from the North. The fact of Foster's taking with him all the North Carolina pilots he could find especially marks this place as the point selected. I urged it as essential to our success that I should be provided with a brigade, to be placed on the south side of the river. All the time they give me is devoted to strengthening Fort Caswell, the weakest point in the system. The proposed disposition would greatly strengthen it.
W. H. C. WHITING,
Wilmington, N. C., March 2, 1863.
Major General D. H. HILL,
Commanding, & c., Goldsborough, N. C.:
MY DEAR GENERAL: I quite agree with you that the Yankees, having failed to surprise Charleston and finding it very strong, will make an attempt on some weaker point. That will be undoubtedly Wilmington, unless Hunter should object and overrule Foster. The latter's carrying off the North Carolina pilots with him to Port Royal is ominous as to this. I have received notice that a 10-inch columbiad is started from Richmond for me and another will soon be sent. Please to hurry them through. Time now is all-important. Cannot you stir me up some labor-negro labor? I need very much fully 500, not so much for the city as for Caswell, Smithfield, and Fisher. I have applied to the Secretary for another brigade. In my opinion now, the attack coming as it will from the southward, it is essential that a brigade be stationed in Brunswick County, to maneuver against any attempt to land, and it is especially in case of any of their vessels passing Caswell that I need both the troops and a battery of Parrott guns. My field batteries are very defective, being mostly smooth-bores and howitzers. This is very important, and I trust you will give the matter all the aid in your power. A brigade might, I think, readily be spared from about Rich