WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., April 21, 1863.
Major General D. H. HILL, Goldsborough, N. C.:
I have telegraphed General Beauregard to send you all the aid he can safely spare. We can spare none here or at Petersburg. You have doubtless informed General Longstreet.
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
Near Suffolk, Va., April 22, 1863.
Major General S. G. FRENCH, Commanding, &c.:
GENERAL: In reply to your letter of the 21st the lieutenant-general commanding directs me to say that he desires to know what sharpshooters you had on the Western Branch which your ordered, in inasmuch as you state that you had no infantry other than the Fifty-fifth North Carolina in your command. He ordered the heavy guns back to Providence Church during the occupation of the left bank of the river by the enemy, and while the men of that battery were occupied in bringing off the ammunition that had been left behind in their hasty withdrawal from their position on the river. The battery at Fort Henry was withdrawn during the night of the 20th to prevent a chance of a surprise. The enemy retired from this side of the river yesterday and the lieutenant-general commanding expects that you will resume the responsible of the river batteries and their protection, if it is agreeable to you; otherwise he expects you to advise him that he may make other arrangements.
The commanding general is somewhat surprised at your idea of the heavy guns being intended for other service because they were ordered to Providence Church, inasmuch as there was no ammunition for either of the guns when they were ordered back. In assigning to you the charge of the artillery, and particularly the river defenses, the commanding general had every confidence in your ability to select positions for batteries and to assign proper infantry supports for their protection. He has to given himself any anxiety upon the subject further than to insist upon your taking to the support of the batteries the whole of the Fifty-fifth North Carolina Regiment instead of only the three companies proposed by you. In your not of the evening of the 19th you reported to the commanding general that you had three companies of this regiment in the old fort, This seems to have had a mistake. The commanding general expects you to make such arrangements as you deem necessary to secure the river from another surprise, and to have such batteries placed upon it as may be required to prevent the passage of gunboats. He will be glad to offer suggestions upon any particular points on which you may have doubts.
I am, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
G. MOXLEY SORREL,
HEADQUARTERS, April 22, 1863.
Major G. MOXLEY SORREL,
DEAR SIR: I am in receipt of your letter of this morning. The sharpshooters referred to were 25 men detailed from General Jenkins'