far as Winton. On the approach of the gunboat Delaware to the town a negro woman was discovered on the shore motioning the boat to approach. On arriving within 300 yards of the landing a large ambush of from 600 to 1,000 men was discovered, and before the boat could be stopped she was within easy musket range of the men, when they poured a volley into her, literally riddling the wheel-house and the upper joiner work, but fortunately no one was killed; nearly all the men were below. Several of those on deck had ball-holes through their clothes. Captain Rowan, who was on deck, and Colonel Hawkins, in the rigging made most miraculous escapes. The gunboats in the rear immediately hurried up, and by the use of a few shells dispersed the force, when the Ninth New York, under Colonel Hawkins, was landed. It was ascertained, after landing, that his negro woman had been sent down by her master, one of the captains, for the purpose of deceiving the boats, which was readily done, as it had been reported to the flag-officer and myself that but a few days before 500 loyal people at that place had raised the American flag. It was determined by Captain Rowan and Colonel Hawkins to burn all the military stores that could not be removed, with the store-houses and the quarters occupied by the troops, which constituted almost the entire town, there not being over twenty houses in the place. In one of the store-houses there was a large quantity of bacon, that could not be taken away by our people and it was also burned, together with all the heavy camp equipage, and, in fact, everything that could not be transported by our gunboats. The winds shifting after the fire was started caused the destruction of some few houses not occupied by the soldiers. It was ascertained during the stay at Winton that the Blackwater, the river up which the expedition was destined for the purpose of destroying the railroad bridge, had been effectually blockaded by the falling of trees across it at its narrowest parts, thus rendering it almost impassable. The expedition, therefore, returned, leaving some gunboats at Elizabeth City and the mouth of the Chowan.
I have two expeditions organized in connection with the Navy to move upon Plymouth, at the mouth of the Roanoke, and Middletown, the outlet of Mattamuskeet Lake, the former commanded by Brigadier-General Foster and the latter by Brigadier-General Parke. They were to have started yesterday morning, but the dense for that prevails here a greater part of the time prevented the possibility of the vessels moving in the sound. In my next I will send you duplicates of instructions given to these two generals. The enemy is, I learn, very much distracted by these frequent dashes on their coast, and seem to have but little idea where the next blow will be aimed. Before the end of the present week I hope to report to you some important movements, which are dependent upon the arrival of the naval ammunition, which has been hourly expected for several days. The health of the command continues excellent, and the drill and discipline is being perfected by the commanders of brigades.
Our supplies, particularly coal, are not arriving as rapidly as I could desire. Clothing sent to us from Philadelphia is now being issued, and we shall need an additional supply of fully the amount originally sent. The drawers and shirts are said to be very poor.
I have the honor to be, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. E. BURNSIDE,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Department of North Carolina.
Brigadier General LORENZO THOMAS,
Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.