Virginia, for assignment to the temporary command of McGowan's brigade, Wilcox's division.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
By command of General R. E. Lee:
R. H. CHILTON,
Assistant Adjutant and Inspector General.
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPT.,
Raleigh, September 21, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
MY DEAR SIR: The occupation of East Tennessee by the enemy, and the great assemblage of tories and deserters in the mountains of the border, renders Western North Carolina, with all its supplies of beef and pork, open to the incursions of the Federals and tories. It is inhabited, however, by quite a warlike militia who are calling upon me to arm and organize them for a fight. I am doing so to the utmost of my ability, but shall not be able to accomplish much without your assistance. I have the honor, therefore, to request that you will constitute that mountain country a district and assign a competent brigadier to the command. With a battery or so, and a very few regular troops, the various passes could be easily held with the helf of some 2,000 home guards whom I can order to his support. If you have no suitable officer to be spared for such a purpose, I would recommend that Colonel C. M. Avery, of the Thirty-third North Carolina Infantry, or Colonel Stephen Lee, late of the Sixteenth North Carolina Infantry, be made a brigadier and assigned to that duty. They are both residents of that section, acquainted with the country and people. The first named would, in my opinion, be the best appointment, being younger, more active, and better adapted to the management of militia and the people generally.
I cannot furnish arms to them without leaving unarmed the home guards on the eastern border of the State, and so I beg you, if possible, to spare me 1,000 or 1,500 muskets.
Please let me know if these suggestions meet your view immediately; there is no time to be lost.
Very respectfully, yours,
Z. B. VANCE.
SEPTEMBER 23, 1863.
I will send 600 muskets to Captain Brenizer, Salisbury, and 200 or more rifles may be obtained at Asheville Armory, N. C.
SEPTEMBER 23, 1863.
Respectfully submitted to the President.
Governor Vance requests early action.
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
Every assistance should be given which is practicable. I do not know the present position of Colonel Avery and therefore cannot