force returning to the Rappahannock by the same or nearly the same route as that he came. I fear that no effort has been made by our forces or citizens to obstruct his routes.
I am, sir, with great respect, your most obedient servant,
I received a dispatch from General R. E. Lee asking the arrangements that I have ordered in reference to his communication with this city.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF RICHMOND,
May 8, 1863.
General J. J. PETTIGREW:
General Hood's division is en route for Hanover Junction. General Lee desires the wagon road from there too Fredericksburg repaired. If you move ahead of Hood, see to it; if not, he will attend to it. I send by first train to the Junction 100 shovels, and 25 axes to care of your quartermaster.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE CAPE FEAR,
Wilmington, May 8, 1863.
Major General D. H. HILL,
Commanding, &c., Goldsborough:
GENERAL: Yours of 2 p. m. yesterday received. I am sorry Cooke has to go. Beauregard is sending off two strong brigades to Pemberton, and the coast will be very greatly weakened. We are all from Savannah to Weldon, mutually dependent on each other. I do not think Ransom should be removed, unless at the last emergency. But I do not know the exact position of affairs in Virginia. The enemy seems to have received a terrible thrashing. But his numbers, according to their own account 158,000, may give us great trouble yet, unless they are too demoralized to fight well. I suppose Lee has 60,000 at least. It will be a difficult matter to defend Wilmington and the railroad with three brigades. Longstreet will have to help. I will send you a statement of heavy ordnance. The enemy would not cross at Snead's Ferry; the river is too wide, over 1,000 yards, and with any wind or --- flats are not practicable. We have a picket there, as also at Swansborough, in advance.
I cannot very well spare Major Cameron. Should he be absolutely necessary to you I should have to supply his place.
Very truly, yours,
W. H. C. WHITING,
GOLDSBOROUGH, N. C., May 9, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, C. S. A.:
Your letter and order in regard to deserters has been received.* Desertion is alarmingly on the increase in my own command.