morning and hope no mistake will occur in future. Your dispatches were received and your orders will be carried out. I have one of my best squadrons (Captain Harris') on picket between Jacksonville and White Oak. Considering the present position of the enemy's main cavalry force (being in the vicinity of Deep Gully), and the fact that the bridge over New River was burnt by Colonel Baker, would it not be advisable to withdraw Captain Harris? Unless you object, I shall do so, as I am much in need of more cavalry and desire to send an additional force to the neighborhood of Kinston.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
B. H. ROBERTSON,
Wilmington, March 7, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond:
GENERAL: I request you to define the limits and responsibility of this command. No difficulty but some little confusion now obtains in the staff departments from misapprehension.
When I was assigned to duty here I was directed by the Secretary of War to report to the War Department, through the commanding general, then Major General G. W. Smith, now Lieutenant-General Longstreet. This was constituted a separate district - in no sense considered a part of the department command of North Carolina.
In many respects, the nature of the command being considered - its object the special defense of a very important place and post, and the necessity which exists for direct communication between the officer in command here and the Department - I think it best that the arrangement heretofore existing should be maintained and that I should be directed to consider myself under the command of the lieutenant-general commanding and report direct to him.
I do not, however, wish to be understood as making any question or objection to any arrangement which may be considered best. I simply desire to have the command defined one way or another, expressing at the same time my opinion that it is best here to have communication as direct as possible.
W. H. C. WHITING,
Respectfully forwarded through Lieutenant-General Longstreet, commanding.
HEADQUARTERS, March 12, 1863.
If any change has been made I am not aware of it. I hope that the matter may be settled as early as possible.
58 R R - VOL XVIII