War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0977 Chapter XXXIX. EXPEDITION TO TARBOROUGH, N. C., ETC.

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ing started that he was endeavoring to intercept them. He was directed to cut off their retreat, if he could not prevent their reaching the railroad. But this is difficult with infantry against cavalry, and, when accomplished, is due either to great good fortune in striking the road of retreat, of great blundering on the part of the enemy. In the present state of affairs, with communications cut, excepting via Raleigh, I cannot indicate any dispositions of available troops. This raid may be preliminary to a demonstration on Wilmington, should the enemy have knowledge of the weakness of my force here.

W. H. C. WHITING,

Major-General, Commanding.

[Indorsement No 2.]

Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War.

General Whiting speaks of the weakness of his force at Wilmington, and yet he has caused that weakness to some extent by sending two regiments of [Alfred H.] Colquitt's brigade to Charleston, which brigade was sent to him to take the place of [Thomas L.] Clingman's brigade, ordered to that place, and he has since proposed to send the whole of Colquitt's brigade to Charleston and bring back Clingman's.

S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General.

[Inclosure.]

HEADQUARTERS,

Wilmington, July 20, 1863.

General COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond:

GENERAL: I telegraphed to know if Clingman's brigade could be returned to me, and Colquitt's replace it at Charleston. I should prefer the former here, as well acquainted with the fortifications and the vicinity. Two regiments of Colquitt are in Charleston. Your telegram of the 14th, of which a copy was sent me, has not yet been delivered, and the first intimation I received of General Hill's departure and the resulting changes was by letter (orders of War Department). General Beauregard was so pressing in his demands, excepting, indeed, the whole of Colquitt's brigade, that I spared him all I could. I need very much an additional force of cavalry. Can I not have [John A.] Baker's regiment from Petersburg? They would be stationed so as to intercept the enemy's raids from New Berne. Even now there is one reported; and that the enemy have taken Greenville, are advancing on the railroad, and have cut the telegraph, there is little doubt. In defending this line, I shall be compelled from the necessity of my presence here to trust largely to the direction of subordinate officers. I hope you will be able to send me the cavalry.

Very respectfully,

W. H. C. WHITING,

Major-General.