received. Owing to desertions daily and sickness the force at work is short of 600. I have work for 2,000 and upward, and it is very pressing. The Conscript Bureau was ordered to enroll the free negroes, and if the number proved insufficient to impress the slaves. An order to those officers would, perhaps, stir them up. Our need is very great. Provision ought to be made to clothe and pay these negroes. The quartermaster and engineer departments are six months in arrears here. The first to the amount of $2,500,000, the letter to $500,000. I have been compelled to address the secretary of the Treasury directly on the subject. This occasions great distress among the free negroes and their families, and is no doubt the cause of their continual desertions. With regard to the new lines proposed, the works about the city can only be taken in hand by a largely increased force of negroes. Those for the positions of supports at Sugar Loaf, near Fort Fisher, and Piney Point and Lockwood's Folly should be put up only by the troops in position at those points, and to construct them and have them unoccupied would be dangerous and troops should be there now. Every available man at present is employed in finishing the forts and strengthening them, and in putting up the additional guns which have arrive. The city garrison is on guard every night. In connection with the subject of your letter, I beg you will send to General Gilmer for a very good letter of General Hebert's on the defense. Taken with the map you will be fully possessed of the conditions and necessities of the defenses. The map left with you by General Beauregard was unfinished and taken by mistake. I beg you will return it when copied. The scale is 1-80000 and the cardinal points are shown by the parallels.
I have called on the Governor for aid.
W. H. C. WHITING,
P. S.-I beg leave to call your special attention to the fitting out and sending from this port two blockade runners as privateers. They had much better be employed in bringing in supplies for your army. If they could be made vessels of war, could cope at all with any of the enemy's cruisers, could aid in the least in the defense, could break up the blockade, or do anything save destroy some few of the enemy's vessels, all put together not worth one cargo from abroad for the support of the war; nothing should be spared to fit them out. But the fact is just the reverse. The expedition of the Tallahassee has greatly increased the danger to this place. It has doubled the number of the enemy off this coast and the efficiency of the blockade; it has made your reception of supplies very precarious; it has attracted the attention of the enemy here, flushed with their success at Mobile; it has caused the loss of the fine steamer Advance, the fastest and best of the trade, in consequence of the latter being obliged to transfer all her fine English coal to the Tallahassee, and take North Carolina coal instead, and brought the whole pressure of the Northern press to bear upon the speedy capture of this place. On the other hand, accomplished nothing but the burning of a few ships and smacks on the coast of New England. This ship and another are now being fitted out for another cruise. All the vessels in port, although under contract with the Government to bring in supplies, are to be compelled to give up their coal to such and extent as will endanger their safety very much. If the officers, guns, and men can be spared for an expedition of this kind, they can surely be applied better to the defense of this place, to
81 R R-VOL XLII, PT II