ice to send me, in order that I may carry out more active field operations. I am becoming more convinced every day of the importance of occupying Goldsborough and Raleigh; you will readily see the reason for this conviction; but I would not, if I could, disturb the organization of the forces of the different columns now moving upon the enemy, unless it will for the interest of the public service.
In the first part of my dispatch I stated that I believed that the force in front of us was diminishing rather than increasing. My reason for coming to this conclusion is that one of our spies informed me this evening that General Branch was to leave with a considerable portion of his brigade for Virginia. If this statement should be confirmed and the cavalry and artillery should arrive I may make a movement in that direction, and I hope that whatever the result may be the Department will not consider that I am transcending my orders.
Another mail will leave here to-morrow, by which I will send a dispatch.
We are very much in need of the locomotives, cars, and wagons required for, all of which can now be sent to Beaufort Harbor in heavy-draught vessels.
Should it be deemed advisable to send re-enforcements to this department I hope it will be done with a view to leaving Generals Foster, Reno, and Parke in command of divisions. By their untiring industry and gallantry they deserve to remain as permanent commanders in this department; without them the work that has been done here could not have been accomplished. I have already recommended them to the Department for promotion, and hope it may be found for the interest of the public service to grant the request.
I have authorized the organization of the First North Carolina Union Volunteers. The movement was initiated by the Union men in and about Washington, and I have encouraged it to the extent of feeding, clothing, and arming the
vicinity, and have promised to recommend to the Department that they be mustered and paid. Captain Potter, General Foster's chief commissary, has been appointed colonel, and Mr. Respess, whose father was mayor of Washington and is now in prison in Richmond, has been appointed lieutenant-colonel. I hope that the regiment will be filled up within a very short time, but would not for a moment try to impress the Department with the idea that it will be done. I shall do all in my power to accomplish it, and trust my action will meet with the approval of the Government.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
A. E. BURNSIDE,
Major-General, Commanding Department of North Carolina.
BEAUFORT, May 5--9.30 p. m.
[General AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE:]
MY DEAR GENERAL: The adjutant of the Ninth New Jersey has just come in with a man fro near Newport Bridge, who brings in the report that the enemy is crossing the White Oak Creek in force from Swansborough.
I wrote you by the adjutant, who has started on his return to Newport, and directed him to forward the letter to you.
As the Allison did not get off to-day, as was expected, I will dispatch her early to-morrow morning with this.
25 R R-VOL IX