war began has the force to defend Wilmington been so small as it is now; at no time has it been in greater danger. You know the position of our two great armies, and what our chance is of receiving aid by detaching troops from them. Even if we could expect that, it might and probably would come too late, or at any rate after the enemy might have secured his foothold, perhaps even cut off the forts from the town. It is perfectly possible to do this. It can only be prevented by the presence of troops in force. If the enemy should be able to cut off the forts, no amount of gallantry or endurance on the part of the garrisons could save them, for they would eventually starve. It is no more practicable to protect a position like this, by its garrison alone, from a combined land and naval attack, than to protect Richmond or Petersburg by their fortifications without the presence of General Lee's army.
I am informed on good authority that there are 10,000 men in North Carolina between the military ages not in service. Will not many of them come forward at this time to aid in the defense of their own homes? While it is the duty of the Confederate Government to provide for the safety of all vital points, no one can help seeing that as events have gone lately, all its force will have to be concentrated in the two great armies. We must do our best here to help ourselves. If North Carolina can provide any aid, I beg that it may be done at once. It is time for all troops that are to be here to be gathering. One-half the number before the event will do what double may not be able to effect after the enemy makes his appearance. Let these 10,000 men come out for three months until the winter may release some of the veterans. Their very presence may avert attack. I have been laboring now for nearly two years to procure guns and put up forts. Neither guns not forts will avail, nor engineering, without men.
W. H. C. WHITING,
P. S.-Since writing the above, I have received a letter from General Lee, handed me by General Beauregard, who has just passed through south, in which he says the force of negroes must be increased. He says further that I "must rely for re-enforcements from the reserve forces of the State, and the increase to your rank and file from the conscripts." The case is before you now for such aid as you can render.
HEADQUARTERS JOHNSON'S DIVISION,
Petersburg, Va., September 24, 1864.
Major G. C. BROWN,
SIR: I send you the original application of General Archer to have `Johnson's old brigade consolidated with his own. Please inclose this with the paper forwarded on the same subject the other day.*
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. FOOTE,
*See Foote to Brown, September 20, p. 1263.