expect to need it sorely myself. In fact, I am more uneasy now about this place than I have been at any time since I was here. The Governor is calling in all the negro labor, which much embarrasses me. I am apprehensive of a land approach or a coast landing, and my force is very inadequate. A steamer loaded with troops passed up yesterday, probably to Beaufort.
I have put Jackson, a good officer, in command at Magnolia or Kenansville, with four companies of infantry, one section of artillery, and a few troopers. It is all I can do. I have been clearing out Bladen and Robeson Counties for the past fortnight. My parties have sent in a number of deserters and conscripts. They had to kill one of the rascals, and one of my men has been quite seriously wounded.
I am about sending a party to Chatham, the citizens of which county have petitioned me for aid and protection against organized bands of deserters. What Beauregard can do to help, I cannot say. I will write him; but little, I fear.
Charleston is possessed with the demon of speculation, caused by this infernal blockade-running, and Wilmington has many in it now carried away in the same manner. It is demoralizing and damnable. I do all I can to check it and to annoy them. As to the insurrection plan, it is what one may well expect from such a people; but I think with vigilance we may frustrate it.
The news from Port Hudson is quite encouraging. It appears pretty certain that either Gardner or Kirby Smith has given Banks a heavy thrashing. Sherman is believed to be killed.
W. H. C. WHITING,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA, Dublin, June 8, 1863.
Brigadier General JOHN ECHOLS:
The information conveyed in your letter of the 6th instant of the mounting of two or more of the enemy`s regiments of infantry, is corroborated by information from another source, and I have no doubt that it is correct. I will send you, in a day or two, two more companies, full, of the Eighth Virginia Cavalry. So much of my cavalry has been sent to the Valley of Virginia that I am unable to send you more at present.
If, as you report, the enemy has obstructed the main road from Lewisburg to Gauley Bridge, it indicates that they do not intend to advance by that route, unless they have obstructed it but slightly;
in that case, it may be intended only to mislead us. I wish you would ascertain as accurately as you can the kind and extent of the obstructions. Have they blasted any rock into the road? I rely upon Imboden and Colonel Jackson to guard the route through Randolph and Pocahontas. True, Imboden is not under my orders, but he has orders from General Lee to that effect.
I am sorry Lieutenant [John T.] Elmore has been taken away from you; when in Richmond, I asked the chief engineer to revoke the order, but he could not do it at that time.
I wish Captain [R. L.] Poor to examine the country about Saltville, with the view of putting it in a better state of defense. That he will do this week, and then I will send him to you. I the meantime, can