General Foster's brigade is still occupying the city and its suburbs, having pushed his advanced pickets on all the roads leading to Kinston between the Neuse and the Trent, some 9 miles out. I have also sent one regiment of his brigade, in conjunction with a naval force sent by Commodore Rowan, to make a temporary occupation of Washington. Scouting parties from his brigade have visited the country to the north of the Neuse and found everything quiet. Much Union feeling has been expressed but the people are slow to take the oath of allegiance, evidently from a fear that we will not be able to maintain our position here, in which case they would be driven from their homes. Confidence is being restored, however, to a certain extent, and the people of the city are returning to their homes.
I have taken the responsibility, as I did at Roanoke, of issuing provisions to the poor, who were and have been for some time suffering for food. In fact, I have had to order issues made in some cases to persons who have but lately been in affluent circumstances, but who now have nothing but Confederate notes, city shin-plasters, worthless notes of hand, unproductive real estate, and negroes who refuse to acknowledge any debt of servitude. The suffering and anxiety is far beyond anything I had anticipated. It seems strange to me that these people will not perceive that this state of things has been brought about by their own injudicious and disloyal conduct.
General Reno's brigade occupy the south side of the Trent, his advanced pickets extending down the railroad as far as Croatan out to the edge of the swamps and up the Trent some 4 miles to the first bridge above the railroad bridge, the draw of which was destroyed by the rebels, but has since been repaired by our men, thus opening communication with the city to our supply trains and artillery. I have also established a steam ferry, which runs every fifteen minutes, communicating with his headquarters. One of his regiments has been sent up the south side of the Trent, to burn all the bridges on the stream for 30 miles above the one held by us.
I have sent General Parke's brigade to invest and, if necessary, besiege Fort Macon. A personal reconnaissance of Slocum's Creek demonstrated that the railroad could be reached by our light-draught steamers at Havelock Station, thus saving more than one-half the march to Morehead City. The small hand cars brought with the expedition have been of great service in transporting his baggage, stores, &c. He has reached Morehead City by this time, and I shall go down to-morrow, and hope by the next mail to report considerable progress. His instructions are, first, to demand an unconditional surrender of the place, and in case of refusal to begin his work at once and reduce it in the shortest possible time. He has, I think, ample force and means to accomplish it, the General Commanding the Army having instructed me to prepare for it before leaving New York.
And I now beg to say that, in order to move upon the interior of the State, I will require considerable re-enforcements-a regiment of cavalry, two more batteries of artillery, and enough regiments of infantry to make a division out of each one of my brigades. I sincerely hope that the Department may deem it for the interest of the public service to promote each of my three brigadier-generals to either the actual or brevet rank of major-general and place them in command of the divisions. They are eminently qualified for the position, and have, by their untiring industry, their great skill, and conspicuous gallantry under most trying circumstances,earned the right to promotion.
You can scarcely imagine, Mr. Secretary, the amount of patient labor