HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
Wilmington, January 27, 1865.
Lieutenant Colonel W. H. TAYLOR,
Asst. Adjt. General, Army of Northern Virginia, Petersburg:
COLONEL: The enemy's movements in this quarter indicate further operations at an early day. A fleet of some seventeen reamed vessels, including one iron-clad monitor, is assembled in the river, and much activity is observed with the transports and lighters. Their main force is still on the peninsula, south of Sugar Loaf. The obstructions in the river are at a point four miles below the town, and some ten or twelve above Fort Anderson. The depth and width of the channel prevent any successful blocking of the river at the latter point. The armament there is not capable of a successful resistance to the enemy's heavy metal. Soon after my arrival here the necessary means for this purpose were asked for, but the department has been unable to furnish them. Should a determined move be made on us by the river, there will be no alternative but to fall back on the line of obstructions. '"The difficulties of closing the channel of the river at the point long since selected are very great, owing to depth and width, and the fact that the west bank is so low and marshy that no position within range can be assumed on that side. The batteries on the east are being strengthened, and every effort is being made with our limited means to render the passage of the obstructions as difficult as possible. Much remains to be done, however, before they can be considered as at the safe.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WILMINGTON, January 27, 1865.
Major General R. F. HOKE,
General Bragg forwarded application for Leventhorpe approved.
FORT ANDERSON, [January] 27, 1865-5.40 p. m.
I have just received information from citizens, deemed reliable, that the enemy have been, for two or three days previous to this, reconnoitering and making notes of the roads from Smithville to the Georgetown road, making a detour around the right of this position. They had been as far as T. J. Seller's, on the headwaters of Town Creek. I have now out a scouting party toward Smithville and have sent one to my right. With a limited observation I have been able to make of this country, I am satisfied that at least another squadron of cavalry is absolutely essential to secure my right, and either to hold this position or retire from it with safety. Please forward this information to General Hoke.