kees; they have been relying entirely upon what the citizens tell them, and now that the blockade is strict they know nothing. I hope that your works are strong on Sound and Holly Stretch road.
Direct to Petersburg.
D. H. HILL,
Goldsborough, N. C., May 27, 1863.
[General A. H. COLQUITT:]
GENERAL: This will be handed you by Major Nethercutt, who has a battalion of Partisan Rangers on the Upper Trent road.
General Ransom is leaving at a very unfortunate time, as the Yankees are certainly in large force at New Berne, and neither you nor Cooke know the country.
You will find Major Nethercutt a very trustful, reliable, and worthy man. He is thoroughly posted in regard to the country. Major Nethercutt has about 500 men. Captain C. G. Wright is there with a battalion of 300 men. Major J. N. Whitford is at Coward's Bridge with some 400 men. He should be ordered up in case of an advance upon Kinston. You can thus bring into battle upward of 5,000 men. General Martin is at Greenville with two regiments and could be sent for in case anything serious should occur. He is your senior, and after General Ransom has left he will be in charge of this State. Telegraph to me promptly at Petersburg should there be a serious movement.
Do not attempt to fight farther out than the Southwest. You can whip any force upon the Neuse and Lower Trent road; but should the Yankees swing round on the upper road-the Upper Trent and Wilmington road-you may cross over to attack their rear or fall back across the river. It will never do to fight in the earthworks just over the bridge.
Have the new bridge finished rapidly; clear away all the trees on the other side for at least 500 yards and have strong batteries and rifle-its to protect the bridge. After you have finished the bridge the old bridge could be destroyed in case of an advance. Those silly works near the bridge on the other side could then be destroyed, as the Yankees would use them as batteries against the town.
I hope that you may have great success in your new field. Study the roads and country rapidly.
With great respect,
D. H. HILL,
GOLDSBOROUGH, N. C., May 27, 1863.
General R. E. LEE, Commanding Army:
GENERAL: I wrote to you two days ago that the information through the captured mail showed that there were thirty-one regiments in New Berne and possibly six more, as six others, not mentioned in the letters, were known to be there before the battle of Chancellorsville. I received your order last night to remove Ransom. My transportation is very limited, and it will take three days to get him off. I hope that you will replace Ransom by one of the shattered brigades, else the railroad can