the One hundred and third New York, was ordered to make a reconnaissance up the Trent in the direction of Onslow County, and I afterward ordered him to continue his reconnaissance down the road leading from Trenton to core Sound, at the mouth of White Oak River, and then to proceed up the shore of Core Sound and communicate with General Parke at Morehead City. This I did with a hope that we might be able to catch a portion of the enemy's cavalry, the headquarters of which were at Swansborough, from whence they sent detachments over to the railroad, thus making the duty of guarding the 36 miles of road from this place to Carolina City very onerous.
The colonel started with 200 picked men, two days' rations, and no transportation, with instructions to ration his men from supplies found on the route. He yesterday reached General Parke's headquarters, having had several skirmishes with the enemy, in which he captured some 23 prisoners, 80 horses, quite a quantity of pistols, sabers, &c. Among the prisoners captured was Colonel Robinson, formerly of our Army, son-in-law of Captain McCrae.
I have been thus minute in these details to show you how necessary a regiment of cavalry is to me at this point, and I sincerely hope there will not be a moment's delay in sending me a well-organized regiment.
General Parke has now succeeded in getting on the banks in rear of Fort Macon with the main body of his command, with two mortar batteries and one 30-pounder Parrott gun. The enemy's pickets have been driven in and all communication with the garrison from the outside cut off. The enemy's shots thus far have done us but little harm, wounding only 2 men. There are three naval vessels outside co-operating with us, and I hope within ten days to reduce the fort.
The re-enforcements you spoke of in your letter have arrived, and I have formed the brigades of Generals Foster and Reno into divisions, which now occupy this place and its suburbs. I am building just in rear of the town an inclosed bastioned field work capable of holding 1,000 men and mounting thirty guns, which work will be finished in a few days. After which I propose to build another small four-gun work, with two companies, to the right of this first work and near the Neuse. These forts completely command the town, and will enable me to leave it with a small force when I move up the country. My advance now on the railroad is at Batchelder's Creek, where we are rebuilding the railroad bridge burnt by the enemy, and I have made corresponding advances in the direction of Kinston, on the Neuse and Trent Roads, which positions have been maintained with occasional disturbances in way of picket firing.
Some days ago I sent, in conjunction with the Navy, a regiment to Washington, to temporarily occupy that place, destroy the batteries, and remove the obstacles in the river, which was successfully accomplished, and the troops have returned.
Some 600 of our men from Roanoke Island were sent to Elizabeth City last week, and captured all the pickets in the neighborhood of that place, amounting to 74 men and 100 stand of arms. Since then the enemy's force has been increased at that point to two regiments and a field battery of four guns.
I have organized an expedition, to conjunction with Commodore Rowan, against that place, and if we succeed in capturing or driving the enemy back, we shall move up to South Mills and blow up the lock of the canal at that place, and then proceed to the head of the Currituck Canal and blow in its banks, thus rendering it impossible