since he left here. There are, however, reports of active operations in the direction of New Berne. It may be the reconnaissance in force which he had in contemplation. Inclosed is a sketch* handed to me by Doctor Garnett, intended to represent what General Wise side to front toward the enemy have constructed earth-works. The side to front toward the river, and as they cannot be designed to operate against our boats in the Mattapony, must have been to resist an attack anticipated from the northeast side of that river. The force was said to be small-perhaps a brigade. Our intelligence from Mississippi is, on the whole, encouraging. Pemberton is stoutly defending the intrenchments at Vicsburg, and Johnston has an army outside, which I suppose will be able to raise the siege, and, combined with pemberton's forces, may win a victory. Many thanks for your friendly solicitude. My health is steadily improving, and if we can have good new from the west I hope soon to be quite well again. General Bragg has bravely and patriotically detached strong re-enforcements to General Johnston- so much so that I have to warn him to be mindful of this own necessities. We are attempting by addresses to the Governor of the State to get forces for local defence by the organization of the except corps of minute-men, who are to respond to any call for the defense of cities, railroad, brides, &c. In proportion to the success of this effort, disciplined troops will be relieved from such duties and made available for active operations in the field. I have been glad to learn from the Governor of North Carolina that the decission of Judge Pearson did not touch the question of the constitutionality of the conscript law, but only covered the legality of employing the militia to arrest desertes. The decesion against the right thus to use the militia paralyzed the effors of Governor Vance thus to aid us in that regard.
Very respectfully and truly, your friend,
HEADQUARTERS FIRST ARMY CORPS,
May 28, 1863.
Major General L. McLAWS,
GENERAL: The lieutenant-general commanding directs that you will get your command in readiness to move at a moment's notice, for, should the reported movement of the enemy be confirmend, he will desire you to cross the river to-night.
He requsts that you will have the pickets at Fredericksburg specially instructed to communicate rapidly the earliest information, and if the enemy's infantry pickets are relieved by cavalry the fact will be at once reported. Should you receive additional information confurmatory of the movement you will at once prepare to march.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN W. RIELY,
(The first paragraph was also sent to General R. H. Anderson.)
* No found.