in our possession, Wilmington and Fort Caswell will surely be taken in time; but I will speak of this matter more fully in my next.
The health of the command is improving, but our ranks are still slim, and I hope the Department will deem it for the interest of the service to request the Governors of the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Rhode Island to send us recruits enough to fill our regiments to the maximum standard.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. E. BURNSIDE,
Major-General, Commanding Department of North Carolina.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
New Berne, May 5, 1862.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:
SIR: I have the honor to report that since my last dispatch one of General Parke's regiments, the Eighth Connecticut, has been transferred to this place from Beaufort, and I shall at once order up the Fourth Rhode Island, leaving the Fifth Rhode Island Battalion at Beaufort and Fort Macon as garrison.
From information obtained through our spies I am satisfied that the force in the neighborhood of Kinston and Goldsborough is diminishing rather than increasing, and had we to-day a cavalry regiment and two batteries of artillery, and the locomotives, cars, and wagons required for, I should initiate a movement in that direction. We are expecting them hourly, and are convinced that nothing but the heavy requisitions upon the different Departments has necessarily delayed their arrival.
General Ransom, formerly of the United States Cavalry, is posted 6 miles this side of Kinston with two regiments of infantry, two of cavalry, and one or two batteries of artillery of six pieces each, with no intrenchments other than abatis. General Branch is posted at Kinston and its neighborhood with four regiments of infantry and one or two batteries of artillery. he and Ransom together having just three batteries of artillery, but we have not been able to ascertain positively which has the two batteries.
General Holmes, late of the U. s. Army, commands the department, and has his headquarters at Goldsborough. The force in that neighborhood is variously estimated at from 5,000 to 15,000. I am satisfied that the lower number is the nearest to the absolute fact.
The possession of Beaufort Harbor renders the transportation of troops to this department very easy, and if a movement in force into the interior, with a view to occupying Goldsborough and Raleigh and thereby cutting off the retreat of the rebels, who will in all probability be dispersed by General McClellan, be desirable, the necessary force can easily be brought to this point, and I am not sure that the object cannot be accomplished with the re-enforcements of cavalry and artillery already ordered to this point; but I shall make no hazardous movement until I hear more definitely from the Department or of the result of the movement before Yorktown.
Your kind letter of the 25th ultimo warrants me in remaining on the defensive until such time as I think that my force here can be used as and auxiliary or a diversion. In the mean time I would be glad to receive any re-enforcements that it may be found for the interests of the serv-