War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 1275 Chapter LIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

before during the same space of time. You are aware that the attempt is generally made during those periods only when the moon is favorable. And during the fortnight intervening between the 20th of November and the 5th of December twelve steamer entered the port of Wilmington alone, averaging nearly one per day. Is it because he supposes that the immunity from attack which Wilmington has hitherto enjoyed is due to the kind forbearance of our enemies, that Governor Vance discourages all attempts against their commerce for fear of enraging them? That such a consideration should operate upon the fears of some of those who have no interest in our cause beyond the millions which they are accumulating by the successful running of the blockade might have been anticipated. But that it should be seriously urged as a policy of war by men whose patriotism and intelligence are beyond question, is to me a matter of no little surprise. Our only hope of peace, beyond the achievements of our noble armies in the field, must lie in making the burden of the war oppressive to the people of the North. Under such a policy as that referred to, how is the shipping interest to be made to feel those burdens? Or is it to be left in undisturbed security to wield all its wealth, power, and influence for our destruction? That Wilmington has not hitherto been attacked is owing to the fact that to overcome her natural and artificial defense would require the withdrawal of too large a force from operations against points which [they] deem more vital to us. If that cause should ever cease to exist we may expect their fleets and armies at the mouth of the Cape Fear.

I observe that in treating of this subject in his message to the Legislature, Governor Vance has declared inferentially that the only work accomplished by the cruisers has been to 'destroy a few insignificant smacks, which only serves to irritate the enemy.'It would have been well if he had taken a little pains to inform himself as to the facts before giving utterance in a grave State paper to a statement so very inaccurate. The Tallahassee alone, during her two cruises, captured 40 vessels of all classes, from the New York and London packet of 1,500 tons to the small coasting schooner. The value of these vessels and their cargoes is estimated at from $800,000 to $1,000,000 specie. This is the direct result, and it is small in comparison with the indirect injury inflicted on the enemy, arising from the uncertainty of their coastwise trade, increase in the rates of insurance, withdrawal of vessels, &c.

In conclusion, my dear sir, permit me to remark that the difficulties with which this Government has to contend in opposing with its limited resources the devastating tide of invasion which the power of our enemy is pouring upon us would be great enough under any circumstances and with the most united and harmonious action of our whole people. But those difficulties have been materially increased by the persistent interference of some of the State authorities-legislative, executive, and judicial-hindering the action of this Government, obstructing the execution of its laws, denouncing its necessary policy, impairing its hold upon the confidence of the people, and dealing with it rather as if were the public enemy than the Government which they themselves had established for the common defense and which was their only hope for safety from the untold horrors of Yankee despotism. And if, now, gentlemen like yourself, [who] are true friend to the Government and the cause, shall from any misapprehension indirectly lend their countenance to these unhappy differences it is easy to foresee the sa and disastrous results which must ensue.

I am, my dear sir, very respectfully and truly, yours,

JEFF'N DAVIS.