We shall need a supply of ammunition for these guns; at least 300 rounds to a piece. I inclose herewith requisition of Lieutenant Flagler for the same.
Our supplies of commissary stores have been ample, and with what is now on hand and ordered we have enough for sixty days. I am not so sure of forage and coal. It has been ordered, but does not arrive as promptly as I had hoped for. The steamer S. R. Spaulding, of which I wrote to you, will be returned to Old Point Comfort in two days.
I beg to inclose the correspondence with General Huger in reference to exchange of prisoners,* which will explain itself, and I hope my course will meet with the approval of the General-in-Chief. I was induced to pursue this course for the reason that the sending of these prisoners to the North would have deprived me of transportation for at least three regiments, and also of a considerable force, which would have ben necessary to guard them on their way thither; besides, if they had been sent North there would have been a delay in the exchange of some days, thus prolonging the confinement of our prisoners in the hands of the rebels, who it will be seen by the terms of exchange are to be released at once.
Although this is not in obedience to the letter of my instructions, I am sure the General-in-Chief will feel that I am observing the spirit of them. Inclosed please find an accurate list of the prisoners, with a recapitulation. The original parole I still hold, but will forward it by the next mail. The prisoners were all embarked for Elizabeth City, under the direction of Lieutenant-Colonel Osborn, Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment, at 1 o'clock p. m. to-day, and are by this time handed over to Major Allston, who represents General Huger.
The flag-officer has kept his fleet constantly engaged upon the most important, and effective service, the details of which I do not mention, for I know he will keep his Department thoroughly informed of his movements.
I beg to close by assuring you that my command is in most excellent discipline and spirits and anxious for another forward movement.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. E. BURNSIDE,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Department N. C.
Brigadier General LORENZO THOMAS,
Adjutant-General, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.
U. S. FLAG-STEAMER PHILADELPHIA,
Croatan Sound, N. C., February 24, 1862.
Brigadier General AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE,
Commanding Department of North Carolina:
SIR: I am directed by the flag-officer to forward to you the inclosed, which is a copy of a dispatch received by him this day from the Secretary of the Navy.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY VAN BRUNT,
Secretary to the Flag-Officer.
*To appear in Series II. Burnside's action was approved by dispatch of February 22, from McClellan.