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Letter from Sect. James A. Seddon to Gen. W. H. C. Whiting, September 8, 1863


Letter from Sect. James A. Seddon to Gen. W. H. C. Whiting, September 8, 1863


James A. Seddon, the Confederate Secretary of War, acknowledges Whiting's plea for troops, but that he is unable to acquiesce. He suggests that Whiting speak to Vance in order to try to utilize North Carolina State Militia to supplement Wilmington's defenses. This suggests a lack of urgency on part of the Confederate War Department when it comes to Wilmington's defenses. Does this correspondence also suggest that Seddon does not perceive of Wilmington as "that important?"


James A. Seddon


The War of Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume 29, Series 1, 0707 - 0703.




York, Robert




Wilmington, North Carolina

Original Format




Richmond, Va., September 8, 1863.

Major General W. H. C. WHITING,

Commanding, &c., Wilmington, N. C.:

GENERAL: I have received your several communications relative to the condition of the defense at Wilmington, and the necessity for more troops, with much interest, and have likewise had the advantage of a personal conference with the intelligent officer sent by your topress your views on the Department. The subject has been presented on several different occasions to the President, and has received his anxious consideration, aided, too, by the counsels of General Lee, who has been with him for some days. With the limited resources of the Department, and the urgent pressure of the enemy's forces at other (for the present) even more vital points, the conclusion has been that no troops beyond those already in North Carolina can be spared for the re-enforcement of Wilmington. Governor Vance has been urged to use the local troops and State militia which he has bee organizing for the defense of the line of railroad from Weldon, which would liberate the troops now stationed there and enable to effect this in a short time, for I do not see any other means of supplying additional troops to your department. You will, of course, remember that you are commanding general within that department, and must appreciate and judge of the relative necessities of different points.

To weaken the extended line of defense aginst incursions in the State would certainly be very objectionable, unless the withdrawal of troops be, in your judgment, demanded by the necessity of defending the more important point of Wilmington. During the progress of the siege of Charleston, I incline to think the attention and resources of the enemy will be too much employed to render an attack on Wilmington probable; still, it will undoubtedly be wiser if in our power to guard against contingency, and your anxiety to point out and guard against danger is both natural and laudable. The formidable modes of hostile approach have certainly been indicated by you with force; but I cannot doubt your skill and prescience are even more exercised in devising and arranging the modes of successful resistance.

With high regard, your obedient servant,


Secretary of War.


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James A. Seddon, Letter from Sect. James A. Seddon to Gen. W. H. C. Whiting, September 8, 1863, Civil War Era NC, accessed July 12, 2024,