Near Suffolk, Va., April 27, 1863.
Major General S. G. FRENCH, Commanding, &c.:
GENERAL: The commanding general desires you to cause the earth in front of the rifle-pits on your line to be so increased in thickness as to enable it to resist the fire of artillery. He also wishes you to cause the interval between your works and the brush or abatis in front to be filled up with the same kind of brush or abatis, the whole when completed to cover 60 or 70 yards on front of the works.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. MOXLEY SORREL,
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,
Raleigh, N. C., April 27, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: I received a massage from you by Judge Ruffin in regard to supplies for the army and desiring to know if I could not turn over to the Confederacy the stores you that crisis in regard to provisions in this State has passed over, and the conviction is now firm in all minds that there in not only enough but to spare. The passage of the impressment act and the near approach of a harvest, which promises to be abundant, have brought to light many hoards that the fear of famine kept out of the market. The call for aid to the army has met with a liberal response from our generous people, and I trust all fears may be dismissed. The quantity of provisions on hand was not large belonging to North Carolina. They were purchased under authority of an act of our Legislature to prevent suffering in the families of soldiers and consequent disquiet and desertion in the army. The demand has been much less than I expected, and in a few weeks I shall be able to see what can be dispensed with. I hope to be able to turn over some 25,000 pounds of bacon and some corn to the Confederacy, precisely how much I cannot now say. The purchases of Government agents can also be increased when the State and most of the private individuals cease to be in the market.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Z. B. VANCE,
TUESDAY NIGHT, April 28, 1863.
(Received May 1, 1863.)
[Major WILLIAM NORRIS:]
The enemy on the Peninsula have not been re-enforced by a man since I last reported (April 22). There is only a camp guard at Newport News; there companies of the Third New York on garrison duty at the fortress, and Robertson's battalion (six companies) at Camp Hamilton; Keyes, with one brigade (and that a small one) and a few cavalry, is at Yorktown and Fort Magruder. I have positive information that rations are regularly drawn for 40,000 men at Suffolk. Beef-cattle are butchered at Newport News and the meat sent direct to Suffolk. Dix has called for 10,000 more men. This information was thus obtained: A friend of ours was at the fort and saw the post commissary