brigade be sent to Goldsborough is received. Please designate what troops are here from Western Virginia, as I have no record to show it. I had ordered General Garnett's brigade to North Carolina before your letter was received, and hope that this may supersede the necessity of the move of Davis' brigade. General Davis is on the Blackwater and occupies one of the most important positions in the department. He is familiar with the country where he is and if taken from there a brigade would be sent there which would be placing them and General Davis in positions which are strange to all parties. Another reason for sending Garnett's brigade was that it was thought that it might have a good effect to send some Virginia troops to that State. If it is necessary to move General Davis' brigade, however, it will be done with pleasure.
I remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
NAVY DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, March 13, 1863.
Major General D. H. HILL, C. S. A.,
Headquarters, Goldsborough, N. C.:
DEAR SIR: Having directed Flag-Officer Lynch to invoke your aid to procure iron in North Carolina for the completion of gunboats, I beg leave to say that the water defenses of Wilmington would, I think, be regarded with satisfaction if the two iron-clad sloops under his charge there were completed. Covered with 4 inches of iron, placed at an angle of 36^, and mounting each four heavy guns they would be floating forts of the most formidable character. We have obtained from Georgia and South Carolina sufficient iron for one of these vessels.
The demands for armor for vessels under construction in those States preclude us from obtaining more iron there at present, and unless we can get supplies from North Carolina for the rolling-mill at Atlanta, Ga., we shall be unable to complete the second vessel at present.
We can construct boats for Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, which, in my judgment, will expel or destroy the enemy if we can obtain the iron to plate them.
Ten or 12 miles of railroad iron will meet these immediate wants and in taking it rails unfit for service on the roads could be selected. Iron thus taken from the roads of North Carolina would be rolled into plates at Richmond or Atlanta and returned for the defenses of that State.
May I therefore ask you to aid Flag-Officer Lynch in this important service?
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. R. MALLORY,
Secretary of the Navy.
Richmond, Va., March 14, 1863.
Lieutenant-General LONGSTREET, Commanding:
GENERAL: I explained your views to the Secretary of War and showed him your letter. He said you were perfectly right, and he approves your course. General Lee reached here yesterday. No other news.
With great respect, your obedient servant,