Virginia, when I will at once proceed to take my entire command to Rockingham and support it as best I can. If you will notify me the day before the infantry brigades move, I will move down so as to conceal their movements from the knowledge of the enemy. You are mistaken in supposing that the Staunton and Parkersburg road is open and unguarded. There is a guard at McDowell, stopping all persons on that road, under Lieutenant Carpenter, enrolling officer of Highland County, and I have a company besides in the northwestern part of Highland, co-operating with four companies in Pentleton, to clean out the "swamps," arrest deserters, conscripts, and all suspicious parties. These forces cover all the approaches in that direction more effectually than any picket could do where you propose it (east of the Shenandoah Mountain), as there are several routes by which such a picket could be flanked from the valley. When the companies I now have on duty west of the Shenandoah Mountain return next week, I will station a picket permanently on that road, or keep a small force constantly scouting the roads in Highland and Pendleton. I also have four companies on the South Fork and South Branch, scouting, foraging, and gathering up cattle for my own command, sent out from Rockingham before I moved from Mount Crawford. McNeill is also over there, I understand, so that I regard all western outlets from the valley very effectually closed up. If you desire me to move right on to Rockingham, you will find me after to-morrow 7 miles southwest of Stauton, where I was camped last week, near Jacob Baylor's.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. D. IMBODEN,
Wilmington, February 23, 1864.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War, Richmond:
SIR: I request that you will give me immediate authority to cause the pilots of this port to be enrolled, to put those who refuse to serve as pistols under the regulation of the Department into the ranks of the army, and to detail such as are wiling to act for the Government under such regulations and with such wages as may be prescribed. This is a matter of much importance and requires prompt action. The new law does away with the exemptions of pilots as such. They ought to be put under heavy bonds to return to the Confederacy, and they should be entirely subject to military control. As a body they have been guilty of outrageous extortion.
I am putting up the lights at the mouth of the harbor, and am in hopes that the service of these men will not be so much need hereafter, or at any rate may be more useful and successful than heretofore. An early answer is requested.
W. H. C. WHITING,
FEBRUARY 25, 1864.
Telegraph the pilots may be enrolled and detailed on conditions, which should, however, give reasonable assurance of speedy return to the Confederacy.
J. A. S.,