Fear seals the fate of Fort Fisher and with it the harbor and the city. Nothing can prevent this but troops in force and posted ready to meet the approach. There is no such force here, and I have to state that the operation by which the enemy could inevitably overpower Fort Fisher can be done during any twenty-four hours in our present condition. I have represented this again and again and applied for troops. I leave the matter with you, in the earnest hope that your superior rank and position will enable you to urge the same appeal (for I know your views on the subject) with more effect than I have been able to do.
W. H. C. WHITING,
Wilmington, November 4, 1864.
Commanding, &c., Smithville:
GENERAL: The matters to which attention is called from the inspection of yesterday are:
First. The speedy occupation of east end of Smith's Island.
Second. To have the garrison fill up the chambers to circular workment and the void spaces against the traverses with sand-bags. Engineer department has been ordered to supply bags.
Third. Another 10-pounder should at once be mounted at Battery Buchanan. Direct Lamb to put the platforms for three or four heavy guns close to the mound on the on the right and left of it, unless you can suggest a better locality. I think it very important that the heaviest fire possible should be secured on the inner channel. The guns of Fort Fisher itself are so far to the left that I fear they will not avail much to stop the chain-armored ships.
Fourth. Advanced work at Gatlin to be pushed forward as rapidly as our means will allow. Under the parapet of the salient small passages or mining galleries, 2 x 3, may be made while building for the purpose of mining the approach on the salient.
Fifth. I am considering the matter of putting down the rope obstructions for Fisher at once. Shall submit the question to General Bragg.
W. H. C. WHITING,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF RICHMOND,
November 5, 1864.
General R. H. CHILTON,
Inspector-General C. S. Army:
GENERAL: I beg to submit the following in lieu of the regular monthly inspection report, which it has so far been impossible to prepare owing to the newness of the greater portion of the command and its consequent deficiencies in organization and system. A reason even more powerful has been the constant and severe labor which the troops have been called upon to perform in erecting fortifications. General Barton's brigade is composed at present of the Eighteenth Virginia Battalion Heavy Artillery (properly of Colonel Pemberton's command), Twenty-fifth Virginia Battalion Infantry (City Battalion),