the conscripts. Have also started a party to put up the Core Creek Bridge. I hold the force I took with me to Contentnea so that I may move to any point from here. Unless the enemy should again strip New Berne a demonstration only in that direction could do little good. I hardly think old man Wessells will try to march to Wilmington; if he does he will never get back. My God grant you a speedy success at Washington. If I go toward New Berne I desire to enter the town. If your scouts gain no more information than mine you must be embarrassed; but the short line between the rivers makes it very difficult to pass.
Inclosed I send a letter from Mr. Washington, perhaps the richest man in the county. The corn he speaks of is indispensable to us. He has carried off his own entire crop, and this corn was bought last fall. If one man be permitted to take it away we will be able to get none. It is with difficulty that we get on now. I have refused every one, no matter how small the quantity. Mr. Washington has a mill, and claims that because he has sold to us since last fall some $1,500 or $2,000 worth of meal that he should be exempt, and also because he has the iron contract. His slaves were hired up the country principally, and in my judgment he should not have permission to carry off one bushel. There is hardly a man in the Confederacy who has done less for the Government. As to the corn in Warren County I simply said to Mr. Washington he could find it there. As to the nature of his contract I know nothing; he has been reticent on that point. I do not consider that I am bound by the permits of my predecessors, for I do not know how far they may have been taken advantage of. Until I get your positive orders to let the corn go it will remain, unless necessity compels me to use it. I shall apply to Mr. Washington the same rules I do to others.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. RANSOM, JR.,
WILMINGTON, N. C., April 12, 1863.
Major General D. H. HILL, Commanding:
MY DEAR GENERAL: I have your note this afternoon. Have telegraphed you. By reason of the urgent dispatches of the War Department, General Beauregard, together with General Longstreet's instructions, and the importance of the case, I have felt obliged to let General Evans and three regiments go to Charleston. I keep two here. Suppose you let either Colonel Ransom's or Colonel [L. M.] McAfee's regiment (Forty-ninth North Carolina), from General Ransom's brigade, come down here. I shall not then feel uneasy as to any temporary attack or feint of the enemy. Colonel Ransom is here on a court-martial. That brigade is so strong, and [being] composed of five regiments, would not, I think, greatly miss one, while the presence of one here would be much for me. Your movements as against Washington and Foster appear to me to be admirably designed, and I hope you will bag him. My scouts report great alarm in New Berne. We have a refugee who has escaped them to our lines. He describes the impression there that you will destroy Foster. I have applied for the First and Third North Carolina Regiment, now in Virginia, to be sent here as a garrison of Wilmington. These regiments are not brigaded in any North Carolina brigade, and