My men are in good spirits, but we have not enough, and I beg leave to refer you to my communication of a few days since, addressed to Major-General Peck.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. WESSELLS,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding.
Major R. S. DAVIS,
The enemy's line is within a mile of this position, and I anticipate artillery firing at daylight. The gun-boat Ceres has lost 2 men killed and some wounded by a shell. It is reported that a large force of the enemy is in the neighborhood of Edenton, said to be 1,200. It is not well stated to me, but believed in Edenton.
H. W. W.
COOPERSTOWN, N. Y., August 18, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to inform you that on the 20th of April last I was compelled to surrender the post of Plymouth, N. C., to a superior rebel force, and now report to you the circumstances, as follows:
Form some months previous to the date above mentioned, I felt satisfied, from information derived from various sources, that a vigorous effort on the part of the enemy would be made to wrest the State of North Carolina from our possession. This opinion was expressed to you in frequent communications, with the hope that the military force would be strengthened, and that at least one iron-clad gun-boat would be added to the naval squadron for the protection of the sounds and rivers. My expectations were fully confirmed by the movement of General Pickett upon New Berne in February, and although this attempt resulted in failure, the enemy still remained in strong force along the line of the Neuse, evidently with further designs. During the month of April conflicting reports were brought as to the movements of the enemy; at one time he was said to be concentrating on the Roanoke, at another on the Tar River, threatening both Plymouth and Washington, when, on the 13th, my information was so positive as to the former that I at once requested from department headquarters direct a re-enforcement of 5,000 men, believing they could not be spared from the North Carolina stations.
On the 16th the gun-boat Tacony, Lieutenant-Commander Truxtun, arrived from New Berne, and having in the mean time learned that no considerable force of the enemy was on the Roanoke, but rather threatening Washington from some point on the Tar River, I permitted her to return on the following morning, April 17, and this decision is to be regretted. At 4 o'clock of that day the extreme mounted patrol on the Washington road was captured by an advanced guard of the enemy's cavalry, and the cavalry outpost dispersed and driven in; a re-enforcement, under Lieutenant Russell, Twelfth New York Cavalry, was also compelled to retire, bringing away that officer severely wounded. The infantry outposts were at once strengthened, and the enemy soon began to appear on the Washington road in great force, having made a forced march of near 30 miles in hopes of making a complete surprise. This design failed, as our line of skirmishers remained steady. Fort Gray, 2 miles