force at my command, I throw my troops to the west of the Cape Fear to oppose him, for I cannot in this case sit down and wait the progress of events, and the enemy, landing a few thousand men at Masonborough before the movement can be arrested, cuts off the peninsula between the ocean and the Cape Fear River, and the fate of Fort Fisher and the harbor is sealed. I know no place now in the Confederacy where the presence of a large body of veteran troops is more cecessary or more important than this. It is necessary now to prevent possible and by no means improbable disaster and to be ready. In the event of an attack this presence will be indispensable. I beg that you will not consider me importunate in thei matter. It oppresses me. It is not at all for me to make a comparison with the iportance of this as compared with any other part or movement of the war. It is only for me to call attention to the case and to point out the necessities and indicate the means of defense.
I hope you will please to lay the subject before the President for his consideration.
When Vicksburg was threatened, if I am correctly informed, 20,000 troops were not thought insufficient. At that time Vicksburg was a point first in importance. It has fallen. I think now that this place is quite as important as Vicksburg was then. When it is attacked in the changed circumstances which now may be observed, the fewer objects of attack for the enemy, the greater power of concentrating his forces on a single point, and the increased need on our part to hold this with certainty, I must say that less than 20,000 men will hardly succeed.
W. H. C. WHITING,
HEADQUARTERS ARTILLERY CORPS,
September 3, 1863.
Supt, of Transportation, &c., Richmond, Va.:
MY DEAR MAJOR: The question of our artillery horses of course occupies much of my attention, not only as to the difficult problem of having fidelity execised in preserving those we have, but as to the scarcely less difficult achievement of filling the gaps occasioned by losses from hard service, deficient food, and inadequate care.
Respecting both the preservatin and the supply, I wish to submit to you, adn through yu to the Department, a few considerations. I do this because General Lee has informed me that all final arrangements on these subjects were made in Richmond, and not by the authority of any commanding general in the field.
1. The preservation of our horses, after all we can do in battling against the intrinsic difficulties of our situation and the common negligence of officers and men, leaves many things yet to be desired. Multitudes of those left too long in the field because of inadequate provisions for relieving them, and too far gone for restoration before they are relieved, are, when relieved, committed to unskilled or unfaithful agents, and either perish on the way to the point where they are to be permanently provided for, or die after reaching those points through lack of the care, food, &c., essential for their resuscitation.