on the Millborough line. I respectfully ask that the Central Railroad from Millborough here be directed to furnish an engine, eight cars, and two flats, to facilitate at once the movement of munitions, &c. We are in great need of them. The necessity for the rapid movement of the command from here requires the use of the rail through to Strasburg. I am unable to say to-day precisely when; it is probable about the 16th of the month. Iw rite in order to know whether we shall be furnished or not.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. W. LORING,
WILLIAMSTON, N. C., December 9, 1861.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
DEAR SIR: My great anxiety must be my excuse for this letter. I am now on a visit home from the convention at Raleigh, and expect to return to-morrow. From the best information I have been able to gatehr, there is a great sense of insecurity pervading the public mind throughout Albemarle County. We are entirely dependent upon our defenses at Roanoke Island. Very little or no attention hs been paid to defenses on our rivers (the triubtaries of Albemarle Sound), and it is thought such dfenses should be attended to, so that in case the enemy succeeded at roanoke Island we would be able to fall back upon our river defenses. It is greatly feared that the fortifications at Roanoke Island are not sufficient against any formidable force of the enemy, and the stake at hazard is of incalculable importance. Youa re no doubt well advised of the vast resources, wealth, and the large slave population on the Albemarle Sound and its tributaries, and the whole now resting upon the wroks and force at Roanoke Island. There being two channels through Croatan Sound, one of them quite remote from our batteries on the island, it was thought advisable to obstruct it by piling, and I understnad large quantities of material for that purpose were prpeared, but so far no movement to that end has commenced. I am recently informed that Colonel Wright's regiment is to be taken away, and Colonel Jordan's North Carolina Volunteers is to supply its place and no additiona force is added. The recent trasnfer of General Hilla and the substitution of General Branch has evidently added to the dissatisfactio that prevails. I would, however, be distinctly understood as not partaking in the slightest degree in this cause of disatisfaction, but in connection with it, as an act of justice to General Branch, and with reference to the public interest, allow me to suggest that the district assigned to him is entirely too large, and the means of travel too difficult to enable him to discharge the duties of his osition efficiently. I am informed by General Gatlin that he has officially recommended a division of the district, and I would very earnestly add my request to his recommendatiink if a general officer discharges his duty properly, if he is confined to t he Albemarle country, he will have, for the present at least, as much as he can superintend. When our preparations for defense are completed then his district might be enlarged. It may be that my deep interest in this matter misleads my judgment, but I can assure you that we feel insecure, and would respectfully and earnestly urge upon you some course which, in your judgment, would be best to strengthen our defenses and prepare