I want to know what force you will be able to spare from other works now going on at the fort and which may be postponed in favor of this. Also, how soon you might get one or even two guns in position and covered.
As to guns, you would want four or five, and they might be taken from Fisher, to be supplied hereafter. The 10-inch on your left flank could very well go there, and perhaps an 8-inch.
An advanced work like that proposed would, I think, secure the fort. It is likely the enemy would interrupt you by firing. Gatlin and another Whitworth, with the one you have, might keep them off. After getting the new work well advanced you might leave Gatlin.
Let me hear from you on the points suggested.
Every effort is being made to procure more labor.
W. H. C. WHITING,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
Petersburg, Va., December 31, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
Adjt. and Insp. General, C. S. Army, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that there is every probability of a raid in in a few days from the direction of Suffolk. I think there will probably be a combined movement--Spear with cavalry from direction of Suffolk, and a negro expedition up the James, landing on the south side. I will try and make preparations to receive them.
Some pontoons are indispensable, as I must cross the Blackwater and get in their rear, if possible. The river (Blackwater) is very high, and not fordable. There are no pontoons in the department. There were a few which were taken from the Appomattox and sent to Richmond.
Will you please be ind enough to give Captain Raymond Fairfax, chief of my pioneer corps, who will deliver this, an order for eight? I understand they have them to spare in Richmond. I wish to have them put in the river near Ivor as son as possible, say Sunday at latest.
I shall report in person at your office on Saturday, and get some advice and assistance about the North Carolina affairs.
Whiting is much alarmed, as you doubtless have seen by his leters to the Department, though Barton reports all quiet.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. E. PICKETT,
P. S.--The enemy advanced on Greenville yesterday, but were ambuscaded and repulsed; so says telegram just received. Enemy 2,000 strong.
57 R R--VOL XXIX, PT II