North Carolina and here, that we may be ready. I trust that nothing in a matter of such importance will be left either to chance or to the supineness of the enemy.
I consider Barton's position as critical now, and if he is driven back mine will be very greatly endangered.
W. H. C. WHITING,
It would be well, under the circumstances, as shown in this and other communications, to order General Clingman's brigade to Goldsborough; and, if needed, other troops may be sent to Petersburg.
This has been verbally communicated to General Pickett, commanding the Department of North Carolina, who contemplates a movement into Suffolk, where the enemy are understood to be making preparations for a movement, and not in the direction which these letters intimate.
S. C. [COOPER.]
Wilmington, December 28, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond:
GENERAL: I have received information, which I consider entirely trustworthy, that large re-enforcements are daily arriving at New Berne and Beaufort. Positive numbers not yet ascertained, but there is no doubt that the enemy is concentrated for an attack. Kinston is supposed to be the point. Butler is reported as intending to extend his lines to New River and Kinston; and this would undoubtedly be his design an preliminary to attack here, for it would place our communications in his power, and advance his front much nearer to me. Kinston ought certainly to be strengthened at once, and a heavy force thrown into North Carolina, to be ready to repel Butler's advance at first, and to re-enforce me. I telegraphed this information to you and to General Pickett to-day. Please call the President's attention to it.
W. H. C. WHITING,
DECEMBER 28, 1863.
The general says keep a strict lookout along your entire front. The enemy, it is believed, intends trying to extend their lines to New River.
J. H. HILL,
Major, and Assistant Adjutant-General.