Fiftieth [North Carolina] Regiment- the only one I have- was off at a distance, called by a landing made by the enemy at Topsail, in which they burned, the night before, a schooner, a salt- work, and took 2 artillerymen prisoners.
These little affairs, however, are only mentioned in ilustration. This is the first time they have landed; but what they have done once they can do again, and doubtless will. There is no day scarcely until the winter gales set in but what they could put 5,000 men on the beach; they can get them from New Berne and Beaufort before I could know it. I only say id they do, they can get either Fort Fisher or the town as they elect, if they set about it at once.
Few persons are aware of the extreme difficulty of this position, the necessity of an army here, and the trouble and uncertainty in providing by th edisposition of a supporting force to anticipate the movements of the enemy. But at all times, and especially now, I assure you, sir, and it si my duty to warn you, that at least a strong brigade ought always to cober this important and vital point. I cannot draw them from other points of the department. It is extensive, and our line of communication very vulnerable and muchexposed. Nor have I control of all troops in it.
You no doubt rememeber that 10,000 of the best troops from this section were sent west to endeavor to save Vicksburg. Vicksburg has fallen and Charleston hard pressed, yet no doubt those troops are still necessary, until Pemberton's are exchanged, where they are. Abrigade is far from the force which would be absolutely necessary here when this place is attacked in force, but it might be disposed so as to secure it from a coup de main. I most urgently urge it. I beg you will say to th ePresident that in my judgment nothing her, of all other places, should be left to chance or good fortune. I am pushing my works; the Governor is supplying now with labor. Do not let this be thrown away or rendered useless. A single brigade from anywhere, stationed here, made familiar with the position, would be worth 10,000 men who should arrive after a coup de main of the enemy, or when they should have succeeded in making lodgment, when they would be too late.
It is not necessary for me to repeat to you, who are so well acquainted with the subject, our dependence on the safety of this place for future and now needed supplies. I know you appreciate the matter. I only say most earnestly, looking as I do from a affairs and the position as dangerous. I need alo cavalry, not only against raids, but evern here more than anywhere else. The efforts largely increased. I have met with a serious and heavy loss in that Whitworth, a gun that in the hands of th eindefatigable Lamb has saved dozens of vessels and millions of money to the Confederate States. I beg that a couple of the Whitworth guns originally saved by him from the Modern Queen may be sent here at once. Their long range makes them most suitable for a sea- board position. Could I get them with horses, we could save many a vessel that will now be lost to us. But chiefly in this letter I beg of you, f you conforce here before the President.
W. H. C. WHITING,