troops are drilled once a week, and their movements are very creditable; their discipline is good. The officers are competent and efficient, and are zealous in the discharge of all duties.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. H. WRIGHT,
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA,
April 2, 1864.
General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General:
GENERAL: The recent change in the position of Lieutenant-General Longstreet's forces exposes the western frontier of my district for a distance of nearly 175 miles, and I have been ordered to Richmond by my department commander to report the condition of my district, and to seek to have augmented the forces for its protection. It is now practicable for the enemy to pass directly from East Tennessee to the neighboring sections of North and South Carolina, and an enterprising enemy could without much difficulty reach, by a cavalry raid, our railroad communications through the States referred to.
If, however, an adequate force is stationed here such raids would be rendered difficult, if not impossible. Many deserters and stragglers who, as soon as our armies begin to move, will seek to find shelter in these mountains could be promptly returned to their commands in the field, the enlistment by the enemy of tories and deserters prevented (an entire regiment was last year collected by the enemy within our borders, and recruiting officers had but a few days since again commenced their operations, but have been driven off), the gap leading to East Tennessee be guarded, and the movements of the enemy watched, and the country kept open for any movement on our part into East Tennessee or Northern Georgia.
Attention is respectfully directed to the fact that there are four railroad approaches from the east, to within 30 to 40 miles of the district.
My last field return exhibits an effective force of 475 Confederate troops (part Indians), 242 State troops, and a supporting force of home guards placed at my disposal by the Governor of North Carolina. These home guards are, however, undisciplined, and, besides, the season has arrived when citizens of this non-slave holding region must be permitted to attend to their agricultural pursuits or serious evils will ensue.
I had until lately a section of artillery, under Lieutenant Collins, claimed by Colonel Peter Mallet, commandant of conscripts for North Carolina, who has ordered it up to Raleigh, where it now is. I have other guns, but no men to work them. The enemy have recently been in the district with three pieces of artillery. It is evident that I have not an adequate force for the protection of the country under my command.
I am fully aware of the pressure for troops in other localities, and therefore respectfully make the following suggestions:
That as soon as possible a sufficient force, say 2,000, of those in North Carolina made liable to service within the State by the recent military law be assembled in camps of instruction, in this district, and placed under the control of the commanding officer of the district, and that a similar force of, say, 400 men be collected in South