from North Carolina, for he had recommended a brigade, at least, to be held here.
My latest intelligence from the Peninsula is that the force there is not very large is thought either to be removing or to be concentrating at Yorktown. If the design of sudden attack on Richmond be really contemplated I think it not unlikely that instead of resorting or the Peninsula route, on which they have hitherto failed, a sudden advance from Suffolk by way of Petersburg may be preferred. It would be well, therefore, that you should keep yourself as well advised as possible of the movements of their troops in that direction, and it might be advisable, quietly but effectively, to accomplish such organization of the arm-bearing population remaining in that city as General Lee recommends here. I shall endeavor to carry out his suggestions in this city; but of course such force can be little relied on; and in view of the importance, in every point of view, of defending this city, I shall be compelled to have the aid of one of your brigades. That of Ransom's, a part of which has already reached and been detained here, had better for of which has already reached and been detained here, had better for the present be placed here or so near as to be in supporting distance in case of emergency. I must rely on you to make such dispositions as you deem judicious to render any other assistance in your power should it be needed, or at least to give timely notice of any hostile movements from the south side. I incline myself to think the enemy have works enough before them on the Rappahannock to demand all their forces, and that such intimations as have reached General Lee are intended to mislead. Still, he is very cautious and judicious in forming his conclusions, and his advice renders every precaution possible incumbent on us.
With high esteem, very respectfully, yours,
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE CAPE FEAR,
Wilmington, May 30, 1863.
Major General D. H. HILL, Commanding, &c., Petersburg:
GENERAL: I will try to put a small force at Magnolia, though it pinches me. It cannot be possible that Cooke is to leave too. Ransom's going is hard, but to strip the whole line in the face of the large force in front of us giving up the railroad. I hope you have represented the condition of affairs, especially your discovery of the increase of force at New Berne. The Northern papers are full of accounts of the sending on all the North Carolina troops General Lee, and urging Foster to attempt Wilmington, representing that no wis the time. No doubt the rascally blockade runners carry information also. Recollect that if they drive Colquitt from Kinston they will also take Goldsborough, destroy the bridge once more, as they did before, and no aid can reach me. I can't look for any from Beauregard, who has been depleted to all he can bear. Please to urge this. It seems to me that one of the small brigades of the Virginia army might be spared. The risk of stripping this whole line is very great. I don't understand Pemberton's arrangement; never did; but still have great faith and much hope in Old Joe. It will be a dreadful disaster to us if Vicksburg is lost.
W. H. C. WHITING,
P. S.-The troops at Kinston, it seems to me, ought to, if beaten back,