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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 33, Part 1 (New Berne)
Page 1102 OPERATIONS IN N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLV.

could not cross the mountains,owing to the icy roads and the smoothness of his horses. He could take with him neither artillery nor wagons.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.

[Inclosure Numbers 1.]


HEADQUARTERS, January 20, 1864.

Major General GEORGE E. PICKETT,

Commanding, &c., Petersburg, Va.:

GENERAL; From all the information I have received I think the garrison at New Berne can be captured, and I wish it tried, unless upon close examination you find it impracticable. You can use for that purpose Barton's, Kemper's Corse's, and as much of Ransom's brigades as you can draw to that point. General Hoke is familiar with the vicinity of New Berne, has recently returned from a visit to that country, and it is mainly upon his information that my opinion has been formed. He will had you this letter, and explain to you the general plan, which, at this distance appears to me the best. You can modify it according to circumstances developed by investigating and your good judgement. It is proposed that General Barton shall pass south of Trent River and attack the forces said to be stationed behind Brice's Creek, get possession of the railroad to Beaufort, cut off re-enforcements from that quarter, and take the town in reverse. General Hoke will moved own between the Trent and the Neuse, endeavor to surprise the troops on Batchelder's Creek, silence the guns in the Star fort and batteries near the Neuse, and penetrate the town in that direction. Whitford's battalion, or such other force as may be designated, to move down north of the Neuse, occupy, if they cannot capture, Fort Anderson, at Barrington Ferry, and endeavor to take in flank with the batteries the line south of the Neuse, so as to lighten Hoke's work. The night previous to the land attack, Colonel Wood, of the Navy, with 200 men in boats, will descend the Neuse, and endeavor to surprise and capture the gun-boats in that river, and by their aid drive the enemy from their guns. General Whiting will be requested on the day appointed for the attack to threaten Swansborough with the troops he has north of the Cape Fear, so as to fix the attention of the enemy at Morehead City, &c., and to co-operate otherwise in the general plan. Everything will depend upon the secrecy, expedition, and boldness of your movements. General Barton should move first, and be strong enough to resist any combination of the forces from New Berne and Beaufort. the cavalry had better accompany him to cut the telegraph and railroad, gain information, &c. General Hoke with his own brigade should move next, the force north of the Neuse to keep pace with him. Colonel Wood will attend to his part. If successful, everything in New Berne should be sent back to a place of security. In that event, too, it is hoped that by the aid of the gun-boats water transportation can be secured, the enemy driven from Washington, Plymouth, &c., and much subsistence for the army obtained. I wish you, therefore, to follow up your success. It will also have the happiest effect in North Carolina and inspire the people. I propose Major Dearing for the com-


Page 1102 OPERATIONS IN N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLV.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 33, Part 1 (New Berne)
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