RALEIGH, March 11, 1865.
Honorable J. C. BRECKINRDIGE,
Secretary of War, Richmond:
I have directed Lieutenant-General Holmes to call out the Reserves and detailed men subject to his orders, and ask your approval.
J. E. JOHNSTON.
[MARCH 11, 1865.?]
I fear I cannot hold my position if road to Raleigh is interrupted. Should you be forced back in this direction both armies would certainly starve. Youmust judge what the probabilities willb e of arresting Sherman by battle. If there is a resaonable probability I would recommend it. A bold and unexpected attack might relieve us.
R. E. LEE,
RALEIGH, March 11, 1865.
General R. E. LEE,
GENERAL: Lieutenant-General Hardee, then at Fayetteville, informed me by telegraph last night that General Sherman's army was within seven miles of the place; that he would cross the river during the night, and Lieutenant-General Hampton this morning. The closing of the telegraph office has indicated the evacuation of the place. Gneeral Bragg reported at the same time that he had not dislodged the enemy from the position which he took after the action of the 8th, the strength of the intrenchedf position and re-enforcements to the enemy making it impracticable. A strong body of troops was also marching by the coast road to join Cox's command. He is, therefore, falling back, instructed to halt at Goldsborough. It seems to me probable that General Sherman intends to unite the troops near Kinston with his own army. If he moves toward Goldsoborugh for this object, I hope to be able to concentrate our forces there to attack Cox. By the slow working of the railroad the Tennessee troops are not all up yet, although the movement commenced eight days ago.
Should the Federal army move upon Raleigh from Fayetteville, the course of the Cape Fear ight conceal his movements to within thirty miles of the place, and prevent my meeting it near the river, where its columns are most likely to be seaparated.
Generals Holmes and Gatlin tell me that the country between Raleigh and Clarksville will sustain no considerable body of troops, and that to reach the Roanoke it would be necessary to direct our march at least as low on the river as Gaston. The chief commissary, however, reports the countrya long most of the route to Clarksville abundant. I think that my course ought to depend much upon your situation. In a battle with Sherman on equal ground the chances would be decidedly against us. Hardee's troops have seen little real service, and have among the superior officers few who have seen little real service, and have among the superior officers few who have shown themselves comptent to their grades. Their present organization is new-made when Charleston was evacuated. The Army of Tennessee is represented to be in great need of reorganization. Their best general officers were lost at Franklin and Nashville. Lieutenant-General Hardee's force at Cheraw was, including 1,000 South Carolina reserves and militia, about