Valley, or of that of the enemy there, to form an opinion as to the propriety of removing Rodes' division. If reducing the forces in the Valley would open to the enemy the route to the rear of Richmond, or enable him by the removal of all the threatening forces to send large re-enforcements to Grant, the increased danger to Richmond would be greater than justifiable, unless under the necessity of adopting a new line of defense. Should our forces be able to prevent the enemy on the coast from moving out toward Sherman, and also to prevent Sherman from marching to the coast, would it not probably cause re-enforcements to be sent to the enemy in that quarter and must they not be taken from one of his armies operating against Virginia. The dispatches from Georgia and South Carolina have given all the information I possess in relation to affairs there, and I feel now, as heretofore, that no one can judge as well as yourself whether circumstances warrant you in sending away any portion of the troops you now have in your possession. The necessity, whatever be its degree, is immediate, and if the movement of troops were attempted, it should, as far as practicable, be by those who could reach them soonest.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST ARMY CORPS, December 14, 1864.
General R. E. LEE,
General Ewell and General Alexander state that the force in front of Chaffin's farm is considerably increased in the last day or two.
HEADQUARTERS, Wilmington, N. C., December 14, 1864-11 p. m.
Captain MCAFEE, Kenansville:
March back with your command and report to Colonel Lipscomb.
By command of Major-General Whiting:
A. VAN DER HORST,
Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE, Richmond, Va., December 15, 1864.
Honorable SAMUEL J. PERSON,
Raleigh, N. C.:
MY DEAR SIR: The pressure of official business, together with indisposition, has prevented an earlier acknowledgment of your letter of the 12th ultimo. I am informed by it that, in a recent visit to Wilmington, General Vance stated publicly in conversation, in substance, that the safety of Wilmington had been jeopardized by sending out armed vessels from that port, and that any attack which might be made would be referable to that cause; that General Lee, General Beauregard, Mr. Benjamin, General Whiting, Mr. Attorney-General Davis, and himself, concurred in the opinion that such enterprises were of no benefit and positively injurious to us by affording a special motive under popular pressure at the North to close the port,