been sent over the island, bringing in a considerable quantity of military stores concealed by the rebels.
On the 18th I joined Flag-Officer Goldsborough in ordering an expedition up the Chowan River, for the purpose of destroying the bridge over the Norfolk and Weldon Railroad, detailing for this service the Ninth New York, Colonel Hawkins, who were transported by the gunboats of Captain Rowan, detailed by the flag-officer for this purpose. I hope to hear from them by to-morrow.
On the 19th we dispatched a joint expedition, consisting of the Fifth Rhode Island Battalion, on the steamer Union and three naval launches, under the immediate direction of Captain Jeffers, of the Navy, up Currituck Sound, for the purpose of reconnoitering the shores and destroying some salt-works that were reported in operation on the coast. The expedition returned this evening, and report that the importance of the works was very much exaggerated; in fact, there is no organized establishment there. A few iron kettles, owned by different individuals, have been used from time to time to boil down the sea-water to obtain a supply for immediate or local use. They found the inhabitants very much alarmed, but after assuring them that our purpose was not to harm them they became more communicative, and were free in the expression of their opinion that they had been deceived as to our intentions.
I have ordered General Williams' brigade, with the exception of the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania and Captain Morris' company, First Artillery, to this place, and shall as soon as the expedition from the Chowan River returns make some rapid movements in the direction indicated in my instructions. I am satisfied that our best policy is to dismantle the small fortifications at different points on the sound and destroy the means of transportation, immediately after which I shall try to do the more important work which I know is expected of me. But I beg here to say that, in order to be perfectly secure in my movements, it would be well to have my force increased to double its present strength. I shall not, however, hesitate in going forward, and will leave the matter of re-enforcements to your better judgment. But one of the light-draught steamers sent for some time since has arrived, but we are expecting more daily, when I shall establish a line from here to Old Point Comfort, by way of Oregon Inlet, in the following manner: By steamers of from 3 1/2 to 4 feet draught from here to the inlet, and by sea-going propellers of from 6 to 7 feet draught from there to Old Point Comfort. I hope the Quartermaster's Department will hasten to send me at once five at the former and six of the latter. By this route we shall avoid the passage of Cape Hatteras, and thus save over 100 miles, which is of the greatest importance.
Roanoke Island must continue to be the central point from which all naval and military movements in these sounds must be made.
I have issued an order changing the names of the forts on the island as follows: Fort Bartow, at Pork Point, to Fort Foster; Fort Huger, at Weir's Point, to Fort Reno; Fort Blanchard, the intermediate fort, to Fort Parke; the fort on south point of Shallow Bag Bay to Fort De Monteil, and the battery in the center of the island to Battery Russell, I propose to remove the guns from Fort Parke to a fort of the same name to be built at North Point, and the guns from Battery Russell to a battery of same name to be built on Dolby's Point, on the north point of Shallow Bag Bay. I also propose to build a battery either at Broad Creek Point or Indian Shells Bank. For this purpose I have ordered up Lieutenant Farquhar, of the Engineers, from Fort Hatteras.