AUGUST 26, 1863.
Respectfully submitted for the consideration of the President, whose attention is specially invoked to th eappreginsions expressed, as I fear with so much reason, by General Whiting.
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
If the local- defense men promised from North Carolina arein position to guard the road, there can no longer be any difficulty about sending General Martin's brigade to Wilmington.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
Wilmington, August 24, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, Richmond:
SIR: I wrote you this morning relative to the urgent and increasing necessity for troops in this district. The state of affairs at Charleston now, though I by no means despair of the place whether Sumter falls or not, is very critical.
I wish to point out one thing of importance which th present condition of Charleston perfectly illustrates, and which I have often called attention to. With the immense navy and force of the enemy, to make on our part a successfull resistance, it is ablolutely necessary to prevent them gettig a foothold on th e approaches. They must be attacked on their landing. It will not do to let them quietly establish themselves on the islands and approaches, and wait for our re- enforcements, to go through exhausting process of th eenginering of siege attack.
You are already aware that though I am strengthening Fisher, it is a work more designed to repel sea attack than land, an extensive line of sea- coast batteries connected by covered ways. Its garrison is sufficient to man its guns. The plan of defense here has always been predicated on the support of a movable army, and indeed no other in my judgment, could be adopted with effect.
I say now that, as far as my opinion in th ematter is of value, it is time to commence assembling troops for the defense of Wilimington, whether the enemy fail or succeed at Charleston. The fleet here is being increased. It is strong eneough now to land a formidable force for a coup de main.
I have not the means to meet it wiothout leaving to the enemy the whole line of communication in North Carolina. I could answer for Fort Caswell for a short time, but not for Fort Fisher unless I have troops; of these there ought to be eneough to enemble me to make a fomidable resistance at the very beginning.
I must repeat, it will not do to wait for the attack. Pardon my urgency, but this matter is indeed very urgent.
W. H. C. WHITING,