armed vessels and three of the transports. These vessels will carry some 4,000 to 5,000 men. Several of the other vessels are now hard aground, and it is impossible to see how they are to be got off without the aid of more powerful tug-boats than we now have at our command. The enemy have full knowledge of our present position, and have already been down with one or two vessels on a reconnoitering expedition, but our boats soon gave chase and drove them back. I shall not feel warranted in making any advance upon the enemy till I have from 7,000 to 8,000 men in full position for battle.
It is not possible for any one not on the spot to conceive the difficulties I have to encounter in accomplishing the duties assigned me. The utter barrenness of the shore, there being only a sand spit, which the high tides often over, prevent any permanent landing. There is no timber to be had even for fuel, and the great difficulty in transporting men and baggage to and from the shore causes great delay. Notwithstanding all these difficulties our men are cheerful and patient, and if we soon receive the necessary aid in the way of tug-boats and supplies of water I shall proceed with much confidence. Let me urge the immediate necessity of having these tug-boats forwarded with all possible haste. I send these dispatches by Mr. F. Shelden, who has been with us from the first, and who is entitled to my entire confidence. He will give you in detail any additional information you may require.
I also send Quartermaster Loring to Baltimore by the same boat for the purpose of forwarding with all possible speed the boats and water schooners from there. I trust you will instruct your chief quartermaster to grant him every facility in aid of his duties.
I am, general, your very obedient servant,
A. E. BURNSIDE,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
Hatteras Inlet, January 29, 1862.
Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN,
Commanding U. S. Army, Washington:
GENERAL: Since my last report on the 26th instant we have been incessantly engaged in getting our vessels over the bar into the sound. They have all had to be lightened of their cargo in order to bring them to the necessary draught for crossing. This has necessarily consumed much time, owing to the limited means for towing and discharging. We have, however, at anchor in the sound this morning transportation for twelve regiments.
All the necessary arrangements for a considerable movement having been made, I shall, in conjunction with Commodore Goldsborough, at once make an advance upon Roanoke Island. These arrangements have all been made in the best spirit and we have received much valuable assistance from the commodore's vessel. Of the eight tug boats ordered from Baltimore only one has arrived; the other seven are still at Old Point Comfort, afraid to go out to sea. The want of these boats has been a most serious hindrance to our progress. I have never undertaken a work that has presented so many obstacles.
Since our last dispatch four water schooners have come in, affording us much relief. We look for others daily. The inclosed list of vessels will show you our strength now at anchor in the sound.
The health of the troops has been and still is very good, considering their long confinement on shipboard, and the men are all eager for a