the suggestion at an earlier period. I think it a very good one and would have been glad to adopt it. I have sent a force of infantry, under Brigadier-General Johnston (R. D.), to guard the line of the Roanoke, and operate as far as practicable in the adjacent counties to arrest deserters. Another detachment of 500 men, under Colonel McAlister, has been sent to Chatham and Moore Counties, in which the bands of deserters were represented to be very numerous. They will, however, operate in other quarters as occasion may require. They are instructed to take no prisoners among those deserters who resist with arms the civil or military authorities. I hope you will raise as large as force of local troops to co-operate with then as you can, and think that the sternest course is the best with the class I have referred to. The immunity which these lawless organizations afford is a great cause of desertion, and they cannot be too sternly dealt with. I hope you will be able to aid General Johnston, who needs all the re-enforcements you can give him. If he can check the progress of General Sherman the effect would be of the greatest value. I hope the late success of General Bragg near Kinston will revive the spirits of the rpeople and render your labors less arduous. The conduct of the widow lady whom you mentioned deserves the highest commendation. If all our people possessed her spirit our success I should feel to be assured.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
FAYETTEVILLE, March 9, 1865.
His Excellency Governor VANCE,
General Bragg reports that he attacked the enemy four miles from Kinston yesterday; drove them back three miles, taking several hundred prisoners and killing and wounding a large number. Our own loss comparatively small. Colonel Sale, at Kinston, reports this morning 1,000 prisoners arrived and 500 coming. Major-General Cox, [who] was at Wilmington, commanding Federal troops. General Bragg extols Major-Generals Hill and Hoke and their troops.
J. E. JOHNSTON,
GOLDSBOROUGH, March 9, 1865-2. 15 a. m.
Lieutenant Colonel ARCHER ANDERSON,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Fayetteville, N. C.:
This telegram just received from Kinston, 8th, 7 p. m.: *
About 1,000 prisoners arrived here to-night; more on way-said to be 500. Three hundred and fifty men Colbert's command, Loring's division, arrived and left for Kinston 5. 45 p. m. yesterday. My unofficial dispatch to you stated all Loring's here. Colbert said it was [on] trains close behind. So said Smithfield operator also. Am now infomred it has not reached Releigh. Is Stewart's corps ordred here? It is much needed. Fight to be renewed this morning.
JOHN B. SALE,
*See Bragg to Johnston, March 8, 7 p. m., ending with "Our troops behaved most handosmely," Part I, p. 1078.