The delay in sending up names for the court came from Wheeler and Law. I hope the court will be organized at once. My return to-day shows a gratifying increase. Wheeler reports 3,700 effective, not counting one [those?] kept on duty elsewhere, and Butler about 1,300. The latter has horses to mount 100 more men, and small parties are arriving daily. Wheeler will soon be able to mount 4,500 men and Butler (with the South Carolina regiments) will have 2,500. We are greatly in need of horseshoes. Can you not have a supply brought down to us? I have sent out to collect bacon, and if successful I will establish depots from which wagons can haul it. Prisoners say that the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad was to be open to-day. I think we could break that road easily. The Twenty-third Corps moved to neigborhood of Snow Hill night before last. All quiet this morning. Did you get the map?
I am, very truly and respectfully, yours,
NEAR SMITHFIELD, N. C., March 31, 1865.
General R. E. LEE:
Following just received:
Following dispatch from General Baker, Weldon, received 3. 30 p. m. ; "Enemy at Spring Green, four miles from Fort Branch, 500 infantry, five pieces artillery, and some cavalry. Sixteen boats reported landing troops at Willmington. I have nothing to meet them. "
J. E. JOHNSTON.
RALEIGH, March 31, 1865.
General J. E. JOHNSTON,
All the Senior Reserves at my disposal, about 130, have been turned over to General Holmes, under the provisions of General Orders, Numbers 8, to be employed in the duty you desire. The means, however, are totally inadequate. The country is perfectly infested, and the most atrocious outrages are being committed. Nothing but an active cavalry force can accomplish the object.
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA,
Asheville, N. C., March 31, 1865.
MAJOR: * I received yesterday your letter of the 20th, requisting me to forward as soon as possible a report of my operations. I regret to say I have nothing to report but disobedience of orders, neglect of duty, demoralization of the people, and desertion of both officers and men. I regret to say further that from present appearances there is no prospect being any better. The enemy has been able to impress the whole country with the belief that all this part of the State is to be given up by our forces, and in consequence every man is doing as little for our cause as he possibley can, hoping by this course, undoubtedly, to be able to save his properly will be in a week or two. General Thomas is collecting a large army in East Tennessee, there corps of
* Found with War Department letters-received files.