War of the Rebellion: Serial 049 Page 0192 OPERATIONS IN N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

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[CHAP. XLI.

Sixth Corps, at Stone-House Mountain.

Eleventh Corps will be distributed to guard the bridges at Rappahannock crossing, Catlett's and Bristoe.

The depots at Bealeton, Warrenton, and Warrenton Junction will be broken up, and all supplies drawn from Culpeper Court-House, where a depot will be established.

The Artillery Reserve will move forward and take position in the vicinity of Fifth Corps.

The cavalry will picket the front and guard the flanks of the army.

Headquarters will be at Culpeper Court-House or vicinity.

By command of Major-General Meade:

S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

HDQRS. ARMY AND DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA,

New Berne, N. C., September 15, 1863.

Major General J. G. FOSTER,

Commanding Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina:

GENERAL: The United States is divided into two portions by the Alleghany Mountains, which may be called the Atlantic Slope and the Mississippi Valley. By the successful advance of Rosecrans and Burnside to the eastern limits of Tennessee and Kentucky, the Mississippi Valley is virtually closed, and forever, to the Confederate armies. The rebellion is now hemmed in between the mountains and the Atlantic, and its operations are confined to five States.

Probably concentration will leave but two great armies in the field, aside from the forces in and about Charleston, one in the Old Dominion and the other at the south. Assuming that Burnside cuts effectually, as was his chief business, the Virginia and Tennessee Railway, North Carolina becomes of prime military importance, from her relation to the remaining lines of rebel communication, all of which traverse the State.

Under existing circumstances, actual possession of Hicksford, or Weldon and Gaston, would control the Weldon and Wilmington, the Weldon and Raleigh, and the Weldon, Gaston and Roanoke Valley Railroads. An army of 40,000 men there would beyond question compel the evacuation of Virginia, which would have a very depressing and dispiriting influence upon the rebels in the few remaining States of the Confederacy.

It is well to remember that there is an important line of railway leading from Richmond to Danville, which, upon completion, will connect the principal lines of Virginia and North Carolina without passing through Hicksford, Gaston, or Weldon. This connection is from Danville to Hillsborough or Greensborough, some 35 or 40 miles, and it is certain that it is being pushed to completion with all possible dispatch. Indeed, I was advised in June that this connection was complete, but it lacks confirmation.

Wilmington, or rather the mouth of the Cape Fear River, is daily growing in importance to the rebels, in consequence of our successful operations in the harbor of Charleston. If half the reports are true, may vessels succeed in evading the blockade of the