War of the Rebellion: Serial 049 Page 0171 Chapter XLI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION.

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New Berne, N. C., September 11, 1863.

General H. W. WESSELLS,

Commanding Sub-District of the Albemarle:

GENERAL: Your favor of the 8th is before me, and I hasted to reply. While at Plymouth I gathered from you and the naval authorities all the information possible respecting the iron-clad and battery in course of construction at Edwards Ferry. On my return, I made a report to Major-General Foster, and suggested a movement from your headquarters in conjunction with a demonstration from Suffolk. The reply was that nothing could be spared for such service, as "the forces of the department will not permit of the proposed movement at present. "

From the difficulties connected with its location, and the contiguity of forces about Weldon, Garysburg, Hamilton, and Rainbow Bluff, &c., not less than 1,000 cavalry would be required. There are not boats enough in North Carolina to transport such a force without making two or three trips to your place, which would expose the whole plan. Besides, there is not much over one-half that number of effective cavalry in North Carolina.

As to an iron-clad, it seems to be out of the question. There is not one in North Carolina, and I am told not one north of Charleston that can enter the Sound. You will have two good companies of cavalry, and they must scour the country for rebels and information. Your system of obstructions must be pushed with all vigor, day and night; keep every tool busy in strengthening your works. They can be made so that you can stand a long siege. Particular attention should be given to your water front by closing and works open toward the river and depended on gunboat service. Additional water batteries may be deemed necessary by you; if so, commence them at once.

Additional artillery will be sent you, if you will state what is required, and, on the approach of the enemy, men and material of war.

Keep me fully advised, as you have already done, sending reports, rumors, &c.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,





New Berne, N. C., September 11, 1863.

Complaints having reached the general of depredations upon private property by white and colored troops, it is his duty to republish the standing orders of Major-General Halleck, commander-in-chief, to the end that all may know the views entertained by the Government in respect to these demoralizing offenses.

General Orders, Numbers 107, of the 15th of August, 1862, says:

III. The laws of the United States and the general laws of war authorize, in certain cases, the seizure and conversation of private property for the subsistence, transportation, and other uses of the army. But this must be distinguished from pillage, and the taking of private property for public purposes is very different from its conversation to private uses. All property lawfully taken from the enemy, or from the inhabitants of an enemy's country, instantly becomes public property, and must be used and accounted for as such. The Fifty-second Article of War authorizes