Huggins' Island. It is so far back from the bar that the enemy would be compelled to attack it in small boats. So much for the facility of defending it. Besides its importance in defending the town of Swansborough against marauding parties it would add much to the security of New Berne, as the enemy landing on the White Oak would have his choice of two or more practicable road to that city. These roads, however, pass through swamps, and call readily be defended by an inferior against a superior force until re-enforcements can be brought up. I intend to establish a force on the left bank of the river for that purpose. I desire that the battery be completed as soon as practicable, and hope that you will be able to forward the gun carriages from Wilmington. Let me know if they can be had. By telegraph last night I authorized you to suspend the sending of troops to that battery for the present.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. C. GATLIN,
Centerville, November 10, 1861.
His Excellency the PRESIDENT:
SIR: I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 3rd instant,* in which you call upon me "as the commanding general, and as a party to all the conferences held by you on the 21st and 22nd of July," to say," whether you obstructed the pursuit after the victory at Manassas," or have ever objected to an advance or other active operation which it was feasible for the army to undertake." To the first question I reply Numbers The pursuit was "obstructed" by the enemy's troops at Centerville, as I have stated in my official report. In that report I have also said shy no advance was made upon the enemy's capital (for reasons) as follows: The apparent freshness of the U. S. troops at Centerville, which checked our pursuit; the strong force occupying the works near Georgetown, Arlington, and Alexandria; the certainty, too, that General Patterson, if needed, would reach Washington with his army of more than 30,000 sooner than we could; and the condition and inadequate means of the army in ammunition, provisions, and transportation prevented any serious thoughts of advancing against the capital. To the second question, I reply that it has never been feasible for the army to advance farther than it has done-to the line of Fairfax Court-House, with its advanced posts at Upton's, Munson's, and Mason's Hills. After a conference at Fairfax Court-House with the three senior generalofficers, you announced it to be impracticable to give this army the strength which those officers considered necessary to enable it to assume the offensive; upon which I drew it back to its present position.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. E. JOHNSTON.
CAMP DICKERSON, november 11, 1861.
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Floyd's Division, Army of Kanawha:
MAJOR: In compliance with the order of general commanding in chief, the ridge of Cotton Hill was scouted by party of forty officers
*See VOL. II, p. 511.