War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 1214 Chapter LIV. OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C.

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HEADQUARTERS THIRD MILITARY DISTRICT, DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA AND SOUTHERN VIRGINIA,

Wilmington, N. C., November 15, 1864.

His Excellency Z. B. VANCE, Governor of North Carolina:

SIR: As a measure of precaution, recommended by the local commander here, and delayed only until I could be satisfied of its expediency, I have directed the removal of the State salt-works from Masonborough Sound. I am satisfied from concurrent reports that the presence of these operatives in that locality is dangerous to the safety of this place, and that I am, therefore, consulting the true interest of the State in this removal. The men and material are ordered to this place.

I am, Governor, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BRAXTON BRAGG,

General, Commanding.

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

Raleigh, November 15, 1864.

His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS:

SIR: I deem it my duty to address you in regard to the situation of Wilmington. I have just returned from a visit to the works below that city and find them all in excellent condition; so far as I am able to judge there seems to be nothing wanting but troops. If attacked in strong force I humbly conceive that its capture is inevitable, unless strengthened by at least two brigades of veteran troops. The militia assembled, and to assemble there, I fancy will be totally inadequate to resist a land attack in the rear of Fort Fisher, which seems to be the point of real danger.

In view of all the facts in case, of which I presume the commanding general keeps you sufficiently informed, I respectfully suggest that General Lee should spare a few veterans as a nucleus for the raw troops defending Wilmington, notwithstanding the great pressure on his lines. Except for the moral effect involved in losing our capital, I cannot see that Richmond itself is of any greater importance to us now than Wilmington. To leave it entirely in the hands of militia, except the garrison, I deem extremely injudicious.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Z. B. VANCE.

[First indorsement.]

Secretary of War, for due attention and communication to General Lee.

J. D.

[Second indorsement.]

NOVEMBER 22, 1864.

ADJUTANT-GENERAL:

Send copy to General Lee with the President's indorsement. The importance of Wilmington is very great, but I am reluctant to contemplate the consequences which would follow from the loss of the capital or to estimate the relative expediency of endangering either. I submit the propriety of sending more forces to Wilmington to the better judgment of the general commanding in the whole department.

J. A. SEDDON.