HEADQUARTERS, Wilmington, December 9, 1864.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding Army of Northern Virginia, Petersburg:
GENERAL: I have received your letter of December 3 relative to the extra duty men belonging to the troops taken by General Bragg. Under all the circumstances, I sent to the Department of South Carolina and Georgia a regiment of Senior Reserves, in preference to stopping all work here, and greatly weakening the already inadequate garrisons of the forts. The reserves absent equaled the number of men retained. As you left the matter to my discretion, I feel that I do not need the present emergency in North Carolina to support my action. I received your telegram last night, and have already dispatched 1,500 men and for guns from this point, besides the troops of the Second District, to Weldon. This leaves this point very bare, but if the troops reach Leventhorpe in time I anticipate the best results, and hope to have them back very shortly. I have been embarrassed to-day by a report from my picket-lines that the enemy were moving from Sheppardsville and New Berne on the railroad, and doubted to send all that have gone, as in event of cutting the road all my force would be cut off, but I decided to risk it and pushed them forward. On receipt of your telegrams, I ventured to ask for the return of the North Carolina troops, a matter which of course must depend on the condition of affairs against Sherman. I found we had fourteen pontoons at Gold borough, the ropes and pensioners being at Fort Branch. These have been ordered forward to General Leventhorpe.
W. H. C. WHITING,
WILMINGTON, December (, 1864.
General SAMUEL JONES:
General Lee telegraphs march of two corps of Grant's army and division of cavalry on North Carolina by Weldon with large amount of wagons and cattle; requires troops of this department to oppose them.
W. H. C. WHITING.
(Same to General Beauregard.)
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Wilmington, December 9, 1864.
Colonel G. JACKSON, Provisional Army, C. S.:
COLONEL JACKSON: You will proceed by railroad with three battalions of Junior Reserves and four pieces of Paris' battery to Weldon. At that point report for temporary service to General Leventhorpe, commanding Second District, who will have been notified of the movement. On the road, however, you will carefully inquire whether there is any approach of the enemy from either New Berne or the coast upon the road, that is, official intelligence. This will govern your movement. Should there be satisfactory information of any approach to cut this command reaching Weldon, stop the trains, assume command in your vicinity and make the dispositions to attack the enemy or defend the road as circumstances will admit. But be very sure; otherwise