PENDLETON, W. N. (1809-1893), General, C. S. A. Autograph letter signed ("W. N. Pendleton") to Gen. G. T. Beauregard, Headqarters, Artillery Corps, near Petersburg, 17 September 1864. 2 pp., 4to, inlaid. -- WHITING, W. H. C. Autograph letter signed ("W. H. C. Whiting") to Gen. Braxton Bragg, Wilmington, 28 February 1864. 1 p., 4to, inlaid.
LEE CONFERS WITH HIS LIEUTENANTS ON THE DEFENSE OF FORT FISHER It's a truism of Civil War history that Southern generalship was overall far superior than what existed in the union Army. But the South had its share of failures, such as General William Whiting: "Genl. Lee expressed to me his perplexity respecting a reliable commander for Wilmington," Pendleton writes, "it being notorious that Genl. Whiting does not enjoy the confidence of the army or country, and for reasons too which render it extremely unsafe for an important point to defend, at a critical time, upon his efficiency." Given "the pressures which we must expect this fall & winter & next spring," finding the right commander was essential and Pendleton alerts Beauregard that "your own services will be required in a more extended sphere."
Pendleton suggested to Lee that his own son, Custis Lee, would suit admirably. Lee thought so too, but would not recommend his own son. In spite of his "kind feelings" for Whiting, Pendleton felt that "his retaining the command hazards too much our Cause." Whiting had written to Bragg on 28 February 1864: "I beg leave to call your attention to the necessity of providing for this post a sufficient garrison to insure it against surprise..My great need is to have such an addition to the permanent garrison as to enable me to prevent the works at the mouth of the river from being turned or surprised. I cannot do this as things now are." When Union forces threatened Fort Fisher in December 1864, Bragg relieved Whiting and ordered him to remain at the Fort. There he was wounded and captured in January 1865. He died a prisoner on Governor's Island in New York Harbor. Together two items. (2)