War of the Rebellion: Serial 108 Page 0084 MD., E. N. C., PA., VA., EXCEPT S. W., & W. VA. Chapter LXIII.

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difficulty; its security is absolutely necessary to that of Fort Macon; cut that off, and the place falls for want of supplies. Our difficulty in procuring them is not confined to ammunition and guns; it extends, and very seriously too, to provisions of all kinds. It is not necessary for me to enlarge on the importance of Fort Macon to both sides in this quarrel. If we can hold our communication we may reasonably expect to hold the fort. I can devise no better plan at this time than to establish a flotilla defense, to be organized with all possible dispatch by officers of the Navy. The means for this must be found in the several light- boats, the fast- sailing Beaufort flats, the innumerable corn vessels, and the small steamers that play on the sounds. Guns must be had from Norfolk; but especially the service of Navy officers is required. There may yet be time to fortify the approach by Hatteras and Ocracoke, but even for that the flotilla is necessary. At Fort Macon itself very creditable preparations have been made with the means at hand, under the very efficient supervision of Colonel W. B. Thompson, many years ago an officer of the U. S. Army. Those means are not, however, as yet sufficient in my judgment, except against vessels attempting to enter. I have sent to Fort Macon one 10-inch columbiad, with its carriage, chassis, & c., complete, and four 8-inch columbiads; the carriages for the latter I have been obliged to build in this place myself, being entirely unable to procure them elsewhere. The superintendence of this taxes my limited ordnance knowledge. The sponges, rammers, and fuses for these we are making; ' the latter with very indifferent success. A limited supply of material for these guns has been supplied.

Fortunately, in the commanding officer, Colonel Tew, of North Carolina, a graduate of the Citadel Academy, we have a judicious soldier. I fear, however, he is to be removed for service with regiments detached for Virginia. The condition of Fort Caswell and the defense of the Cape Fear give me a great deal of concern. When I arrived here the fort was supplied with twenty 24-pounders, without any carriages, a few shot, and some damaged powder. We now have one 8-inch columbiad, mounted, two 8-inch sea-coast howitzers, and nine 24-pounders. In a few days two more columbiads, six 24-pounder, and some flank defense 32-pounder cannonades will be in position. In considering this fort I beg leave to refer you to the Coast Survey maps, I having no copy to send you. An advanced battery has been erected some 800 yards from the fort, bearing directly on the bar, for three 24-pounders. The guns, however, are not in position yet, from the want of carriages. Infantry breast- works for the supporting troops are under construction. At Federal Point, near New Inlet, two batteries have been erected, but not mounted fort he reason above stated, and infantry breast- works fort he guard. Wrecks have been sunk to obstruct the New Inlet entrance. This is of the utmost importance, as far as gun- boats are concerned, but by such means were cannot keep out armed boats.

Referring to the maps it will be seen that there are few places in our whole coast more exposed than Willmington and the Lower Cape Fear. The Masonborough and Topsail Inlets to the sounds permit access to within five miles of the city and four miles of the river. Two small inlets between Zeek's Island, New Inlet, and Cape Fear admit boats to the harbor. Smith'; s Island, generally known as Bald Head, forming one side of the main entrance, its southeast extremity being the cape and its shores having an extent of some twelve or fourteen miles, is a large, densely wooded tract. Landing can be effected in northeast weather to the south of the cape; in southwest to the north. It is traversed by roads, and by two creeks suitable for boat and lighter