War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0918 NORTH CAROLINA AND S. E. VIRGINIA. Chapter XXX.

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TARBOROUGH, N. C., March 10, 1863 - 11 a. m.

Major General D. H. HILL, Goldsborough, N. C.:

GENERAL: I was ordered to report to you for orders by telegraph on my arrival at this place, but there is no office nearer than Rocky Mount. I left Petersburg yesterday evening with 800 men; the rest of my brigade, some 600 men, were to follow this morning. I was told the quartermaster of General Longstreet's corps would make arrangements for the transportation of my troops, which was not done, so that I have been able to bring with me only 160. I do not think my command will get here till to-morrow night, if then. I have left all my baggage at Petersburg except cooking utensils. Had I better send for all my camp and garrison equipage? I hope to receive your instructions very soon.


Brigadier-General, Commanding.


Petersburg, Va., March 12, 1863.

Major General ARNOLD ELZEY,

Commanding, Richmond, Va.:

GENERAL: Your letter of --, expressing the views of the honorable Secretary of War with regard to a movement against Suffolk, is received.* Will you do me the favor to explain to the honorable Secretary that I do not think that it would be a prudent move, while the enemy holds twenty-odd thousand men at Newport News, within a few hours' sail of the city of Richmond? To give the move the probability of success a large force should move, and to move a large force would leave Richmond in the power of the enemy should he be quick enough to avail himself of the opportunity. I am erecting some works on the James River below this with a view to keep back transports. When they are completed I desire to operate with my forces; but in order that I may have reasonable hopes of success I should have cavalry. The difficulty that I shall have to contend against with regard to cavalry I have already explained in a previous letter to the War Department. A move against Suffolk, properly aided by cavalry, might be very successful and complete, but without this aid would be but a partial success, which would hardly pay for the movement of the troops. I do not consider it prudent under any circumstances to explain fully my plans, for the reason that if no one knows them but myself the enemy will surely not hear of them. If they are made known to any one but myself that person might in his sleep speak of them and they might reach the enemy.

I am, general, your most obedient servant,


Lieutenant-General, Commanding.


Petersburg, Va., March 12, 1863.

General S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General:

GENERAL: Your letter directing that the troops from Western Virginia be returned to their proper commands and that General Davis


* See p. 871.