give satisfaction to these commands, and in the end gain increased strength for them. With kind regards, and the hope that we may be able to renew personally our former acquaintance,
I remain, yours, truly,
B. R. JOHNSON,
P. S.-I incline to the opinion that it will be well to completely reorganize our army; consolidate regiments, so that every regiment from each State shall be at least 1,000 in effective strength, and return all supernumerary officers to the ranks.
B. R. J.
Wilmington, N. C., September 25, 1864.
To His Excellency Governor VANCE,
SIR: I send for your information, the following extract from General Lee's letter to me of the 22nd instant on the defense of this place:
I may as well now state that you must rely for re-enforcements from the reserve force of the State, and the increase of your rank and file from the conscripts. I should be very glad to send you five veteran brigades as you desire, but it is impossible to keep an army at every point threatened sufficient to insure its safety.
The whole system of defense for Wilmington and its harbor is predicated on the presence of a strong movable force, indeed no other system could be provided. During the whole of the war heretofore, that is until the present campaign, it has been considered necessary to keep from one to five brigades here. When Foster's expedition threatened this point 8,000 of the best troops in the army were sent here at once. At present, as you are no doubt aware, there is no such force here, except some 300 lads of the Junior Reserves. You can then readily see why I call upon the State to send forward all her available force. I understand that you express a want of confidence in me as commanding general. To that i have only to say that so Wilmington is saved I am perfectly willing to aid as far as I am able any of my seniors who may be designated as more capable than myself or more acceptable. Secondly, no matter who is here, were it Napoleon or General Lee, they would have to have troops to be able to save the place; and thirdly, the responsibility is now on the people of North Carolina, and unless they meet it, it will not do to throw it upon the general or the Government after the event, should it be disastrous. I have been and am doing everything our means will allow to strengthen and prepare. The more labor and the more time I have the better. I ask for all the men you can send me, and all the labor; that is to say, for the letter to increase my present small force of negroes to at least 2,000. The troops should be gathered, in order to have them ready, armed, and organized, and on the spot when the enemy appears.
W. H. C. WHITING,
P. S.-I respectfully request that you will show this to Lieutenant-General Holmes. I have marked it confidential, as containing special information.