teries at New Inlet and they gave me the following information as regards the sate of affairs here and up at Wilmington, N. C.:
At New Inlet in and about the fortifications (which consist of one battery of twelve guns, one earth casemate of six guns, one small battery of three guns, and one battery on Zeeke's Island of four guns) there are stationed about one regiment and a half (1,400 men) also four field pieces, horse artillery. All the guns in these batteries are short 32-pounders. One of these contrabands, named Kent Newton, has worked for several years on the ferry-boats that cross the river at Wilmington. He says that on Friday, the 27th day of December, 1861, the steamer Gordon or Theodore arrived at Wilmington from Cuba with a cargo of coffee and fruit, and that she was partially disabled, having been struck by a shot, passing through the wheel-house.
The crew of the Gordon or Theodore left on the 28th instant for Charleston, S. C., by land; he, Kent Newton, ferried them across the river. While crossing they told him that they left their guns at Charleston, S. C., before going to the West Indies, and that they sailed under the English flag.
There are very few soldiers at Wilmington. About the 25th of December, 1861, three regiments arrived from Manassas, Junction per railroad. He also states about the middle of December the rebels towed down by steamer Uncle Ben four large heavy wooden cribs, diamond shape, about 40 or 50 feet wide and 12 feet deep, which they moved on the shoal and in the channel-way close together at the north-western end of Zeeke's Island, and filling three of them, as he saw, with rocks, sunk them, and completely blocked the channel of New Inlet at that point, and the fourth one they said was to be sunk alongside.
This man's statement appears to be very correct. I have questioned him closely, given him the map to look at, and had him mark exactly where these cribs were sunk, and admitting his statement is true (and he appears to be a very intelligent, active "nigger"), New Inlet is at least for the present effectively blockaded, as you will see by referring to a harbor chart of that place. During the month of November that we blockaded this place we frequently saw a small steam-tug come past Zeeke's Island out in the channel-way to the [eastward] toward the outer bar, where she would lay under the cover of the batteries.
During this period of our blockade in the months of December and January, covering a period of over three weeks, although we have seen the same steamer repeatedly in Wilmington River and on the western side of Zeeke's Island, she has never come to the eastward of Zeeke's Island or in the outer channel-way, as she did during he month of November. This fact has been the subject of comment among the officers, and now that we are aware of the fact that these cribs have been sunk in the channel at Zeeke's Island, I know that it is an impossibility for her to pass or any other vessel drawing 9 feet of water. I make this statement for your information.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
D. L. BRAINE,
Lieutenant, Commanding U. S. S. Monticello.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
Hatteras Inlet, January 26, 1862.
Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN,
Commanding U. S. Army, Washington:
GENERAL: I beg leave to give you herewith a report of our progress