There is nothing now of which we stand in so much need as cavalry. I have had to take the pieces from Captain Belger's battery and organize it into a cavalry company in order to keep up communication with my outer line of pickets, as it was impossible to do it with infantry.
In my last I gave an estimate of the number of troops necessary to make a rapid move into the interior, and I hope the Department will find it convenient to send among the first of his troops a good regiment of cavalry. I believe I mentioned in my last that these regiments should bring with them a requisite number of horses and wagons, clothing and ammunition, at least 100 rounds per man.
I beg to thank the Department for the kind and too liberal appreciation of my services by recommending me for promotion.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. E. BURNSIDE,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Department of North Carolina.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Steamer Commodore, April 2, 1862.
Major General AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE,
Commanding Department of North Carolina:
GENERAL: I expect to reach Fort Monroe to-day, to take control of active operations from that point. The line of operations will be up the Peninsula, resting our line on the York River and making Richmond the objective point. In the course of events it may become necessary for us to cross the James below Richmond and more on Petersburg. It has now become of the first importance that there should be frequent communication between us, and that I should be informed of the exact state of things with you and in your front. Four additional regiments should have reached you by this time.
I am entirely in the dark as to the condition of your operations against Beaufort, the force of the enemy there and at Goldsborough. Will you please at once inform me fully, stating how soon you expect to be in possession of Fort Macon, what available troops you will then have for operating on Goldsborough, what can, in your opinion, be effected there in the way of taking possession of it, of neutralizing a strong force of the enemy there, and of doing something toward preventing the enemy's retreat from Richmond. On the other hand, please inform me what you can do in the way of a demonstration at Winton on Suffolk.
You will readily understand that if I succeed in driving the enemy out of Richmond I will at once throw a strong force on Raleigh and open the communication with you via Goldsborough; after which I hope to confide to you no unimportant part of subsequent operations.
Taking all things into consideration, it appears probable that a movement in the direction of Goldsborough would be the best thing for you to undertake, as you can make it in larger force than that on Winton, for as soon as you have possession of Fort Macon nearly all your force will be available. Great caution will, however, be necessary, as the enemy might throw large forces in that direction. The main object of the movement would be to accomplish that, but it would not do for you to be caught. We cannot afford any reverse at present. I wish your opinion in regard to the whole affair.
Very truly, yours,
GEO. B. McCLELLAN.