War of the Rebellion: Serial 096 Page 1156 N. AND SE. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LVIII.

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WILMINGTON, January 28, 1865.

Colonel JOHN B. SALE,

Richmond:

It is impossible for me to leave here. I wish nothing more than for my personal staff to be re-appointed as General Lee's was, to save them from going out. The after assignment can be arranged easily. The arrest was on a report from General Wheeler through one of his staff, and the whole matter was referred to General Hood, to whom General Williams was ordered to report.

BRAXTON BRAGG.

WILMINGTON, January 28, 1865.

Governor Z. B. VANCE,

Raleigh:

There seems to have been no change with the enemy as far as we can ascertain, and they remain quiet within their lines. Quite a fleet of small vessels has entered the river, all remaining below Fisher.

BRAXTON BRAGG.

NAVY DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,

Richmond, January 28, 1865.

His Excellency Z. B. VANCE,

Governor of North Carolina:

SIR: I regret that the pressure of public business and my serious indisposition have delayed a response to your letter of the 3rd instant. The distinct at issue between us was raised by the statement of your message in reference to the Advance, that the seizure of her foreign coals for the Tallahassee, "compelling her to put to sea with North Carolina coals," was the cause of her loss. This question I distinctly met in my previous communication, and I desire to adhere to it. You will pardon me, therefore, for declining a discussion upon other points which you raise as to whether the Advance had gold on freight, &c., and which are unnecessary to the determination of this single question of fact.

In reference to your allusions to an anonymous article published in the Sentinel, said to have been written under the auspices of the Navy Department, and to your statement that, "from this to will seem that in order to convict me [you] of venturing upon an extraordinary statement, some parties connected with the Navy Department have ventured upon a rather ordinary one," it is only necessary to say that they are not only irrelevant but erroneous, and that the article in question was nighter written under the auspices nor with the knowledge of this Department.

The policy of the Government with regard to its cruisers and the commerce of Wilmington, the influence of this policy upon the enemy to attack Fort Fisher, and the comparative value of a single charge of bacon and a certain number of the enemy's ships destroyed at sea, all touched upon in your letter, invite discussion, but as their investigation would throw no light whatever upon the question of fact at issue I refrain from further reference to them. Your statement was:

This noble vessel, the pride of the State and benefactor of our soldiers and people, was captured by the enemy after she had successfully made her way through the blockading squadron, in consequence of the seizure of her foreign coals for the use of the cruiser Tallahassee, compelling her to put to see with North Carolina coal.