we have been making a few minor movements, which have served to distract the enemy. Colonel Hawkins, of the Ninth New York, with his regiment, together with the Eighty-ninth New York and the Sixth New Hampshire, will be left to garrison the island. I have some movements on foot with a view to breaking up the communications of the enemy, the result of which I had hoped to report to you, but the severe weather doubtless delayed the return of the expeditions. If possible I shall leave here with three brigades to-morrow night and make a hasty descent upon New Berne, the result of which will be reported to you at once by a dispatch ship.
I send to New York by the vessel carrying this dispatch all the sick and wounded that will not be fit for duty in sixty days. The command generally is in good health. I have moved since my last dispatch from Hatteras Inlet the three regiments and Belger's battery of light artillery, leaving there the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania and Captain Morris' company of First Artillery. I propose to take with me a portion of this company, which has been used to man two 32-pounder field howitzers, for which horses and harness were issued a month since, and it is now a very efficient section of artillery.
The order relieving General Williams from this department has been received, and he will leave Hatteras Inlet for his new field of duty by the first opportunity.
I have the honor to be, general, your very obedient servant,
A. E. BURNSIDE,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Department N. C.
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, March 10, 1862.
Brigadier General AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE, U. S. A.:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 5th instant has been received. I am instructed to inform you that in consequence of information just received that the enemy is abandoning his position at Centerville and toward Manassas, and that he has retreated from his batteries near Aquia Creek, a forward movement of the Army of the Potomac has been ordered this day, to seize upon any advantage that may offer. You can make your arrangements accordingly.
I am, &c.,
HDQRS. ROANOKE ISLAND, N. C., Numbers 2.
March 12, 1862.
The contrabands at this post will hereafter be placed in the employ of the Government upon the following terms, viz:
1. Men will receive $10 per month, one ration, and soldier's allowance of clothing.
2. Women will receive $4 per month, one ration, and allowance in money equal to and in lieu of soldier's allowance of clothing.
3. Boys between the ages of twelve and sixteen will receive $4 per month, one ration, and soldier's allowance of clothing.
4. All children under the age of twelve will receive one ration and remain with their parents.
24 R R-VOL IX