and Holston, being reluctant to yield any more ground. I have tolerably reliable information that the main body of the enemy's force left Cumberland Gap on the 12th. Do not know where they went. There are indications that it is coming by Rogersville toward Blountsville. If so, I must return from Jonesborough. From two to four regiments of infantry reported occupying Cumberland Gap.
General Corse telegraphed me from Bonsack's this morning that his orders from General Pickett were to go to Wytheville, and if the reports of the enemy's advance were false, to return without further orders to Petersburg. Was that your intention? I had ordered him here. If he can be spared, it is important to retain him. I cannot withdraw any more troops from Lewisburg or Princeton without exposing too much of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad. I left Jenkins' cavalry brigade on the Staunton and Parkersburg turnpike, near Monterey. Can I withdraw it with safety to Staunton?
Wilmington, September 16, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, Richmond:
SIR: I send you a letter from the Governor of North Carolina on a matter of great importance. I am not able to give him an engineer of the ability he desires, but have asked the Engineer Department to furnish one. I have suggested to him to employ the services of either Colonel Robert H. Cowan, late of the Eighteenth North Carolina, or Colonel De Rosset, late of the Third Nort Carolina, both excellent soldiers and now out of service.
In the meantime, if you will allow General Pickett to extend one of his brigades to the vicinity of Weldon, it will enable me to make use of Ransom and his command. This thing ought to be crushed at once.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. H. C. WHITING,
ENGINEER BUREAU, September 26, 1863.
Respectfully referred to Colonel W. H. Stevens, for his consideration and action.
It is suggested that Lieutenant W. G. Bender could perform the within duties satisfactorily, and that Lieutenant J. B. Tapscott could be ordered probably to take Lieutenant Bender's present position. Please return these papers, with an indorsement informing the bureau of your action.
ALFRED L. RIVES,
Lieutenant-Colonel, and Acting Chief of Bureau.
SEPTEMBER 27, 1863.
Respectfully returned to Engineer Bureau.
I have ordered Lieutenants Bender and Tapscott as suggested.
W. H. STEVENS,