Robertson to report all the facts of the case to me, and they shall be forwarded to you.
I have just learned from the signal corps that two brigades of Yankees landed on Friday at Newport News.
I am, major, yours, respectfully,
P. S.-Colonel Shingler sent out a scout to ascertain the whereabouts and strength of the enemy to-day, and I am expecting to hear from him.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
Petersburg, Va., December 15, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
Adjt. and Insp. General, C. S. Army, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose a dispatch just received from Colonel Griffin. It is impossible with my force to prevent these raids. The section of country that the enemy is now operating in is too far from our line to do more than watch their operations.
It is evident from the statement in Mr. Lincoln's message concerning the numbers of negro troops in the Federal service and their boasted efficiency, that their policy will be to increase that description of material as much as possible, as it strengthens their numbers and weakens our labor force. General Butler is evidently pursuing a steady course to effect this object wherever it is in his power, and in a short time all the country that he can overrun will be entirely denuded of slaves.
Would it not be advisable to cause all the slaves in the country so exposed to be brought back within our lines? We could send a cavalry expedition of our own down in such neighborhoods to collect and bring in the negroes. Whatever is determined on should be carried out at once, as every day loses so much valuable property to the Confederacy. In many cases, doubtless, objections may be made by the owners; but I think the case one of emergency. I inclose copy of Colonel Griffin's telegram.
Respectfully asking a reply, I am, general, your obedient servant,
GEO. E. PICKETT,
December 15, 1863.
Enemy, 1,500 strong, negroes and whites, reported yesterday 12 miles of Gatesville, committing all kinds of excesses; insulting our ladies in the most tantalizing manner. People are fleeing their wrath. They are shipping all meat, grain, &c., in carts; taking clothing from men and women's backs, and destroying or carrying it off.
Yankee cavalry were in Suffolk on Friday and Saturday last in small detachments. Gunboats came up Nansemond River at night, and detachments came out and patrolled town; cavalry dismounted at Ivor and attacked them from northeast side of river with great