Near Suffolk, Va., April 17, 1863-6.30 p. m.
Major General S. G. FRENCH, Commanding, &c.:
GENERAL: The commanding general desires me to say that you may use the North Carolina regiment (Fifty-fifth) of General Davis' brigade on the river for the protection of your batteries. I am just writing to Colonel Brown, and tell him, as I also did this morning, to send his four companies, if he has not already sent them, to Franklin by the nearest route. The balance of his regiment will be at Smithfield to-night. The gun are behind; he will will wait for them there.
I am, general, very respectfully,
G. MOXLEY SORREL,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
April 18, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: An officer reported to-day, bringing from Captain Pannill, provost-marshal of Petersburg, six disloyal citizens of North Carolina, captured by General D. H. Hill. The three younger ones will be assigned to the North Carolina regiments, as conscripts, by your order. I think it would be better, however, to send them somewhere into the interior of the country. They will be worth nothing as soldiers, and the facilities for desertion to the enemy are very great here. They will of course carry to the enemy all the information which they have obtained in North Carolina, Richmond, and elsewhere, and communicate any intended movement of this army of which they may chance to hear.
There have already been frequent desertions from the North Carolina regiments, and the enemy claim that many have come to them. The three men who are over the conscript age I will send back by the train to-morrow, as they are evidently not included in your orders. General Hill states that he will send the charges against there men to Petersburg. I would suggest that in order not to create any ill-feeling it might be better to try them within the limits of the State from which they come.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., April 18, 1863.
Lieutenant General JAMES LONGSTREET,
GENERAL: I am gratified by the receipt of your letter of the 17th instant. The successful repulse of the enemy's marine attack at Charleston appears to have so deranged their plans and discouraged them that, in General Beauregard's opinion, they are withdrawing as well as portion of their land forces as their iron-clads. He is in consequence returning the troops sent from Wilmington. I have telegraphed him in doing so to exchange Cooke's brigade for Evans', retaining the latter and sending back the former. Fearing that, baffled at Charleston, the enemy might seek to retrieve his disaster by a sudden attack on Wilmington, I have not ventured to stop any troops moving from General Hill to re-enforce General Whiting, until assured of the return of Cooke's