interior either from Winton or from here. From the loss of horses during the storms at Hatteras our means of transportation were much reduced, and we could not move now with more than 20 to 25 wagons after the different posts occupied by me have been supplies. You will readily see that this would be entirely inadequate, as it would not carry the ammunition necessary, to say nothing of the cooking utensils, commissary supplies, and forage. I should not wait for means of transporting tents, baggage, &c., as at this season of the year they could easily be dispensed with. Had we the cars and engines that have been required for, a movement might be initiated in the direction of Goldsborough and Raleigh. None of the re-enforcements sent to me brought any means of transportation. You will remember these requisitions were sent in immediately after our arrival in New Berne.
I beg you will not think these remarks are made in a complaining spirit, for I am fully conscious of the heavy draughts that have been made on the different bureaus in your Department, and often wonder how you have accomplished so much.
Forces like mine, which are occupying position to hold the enemy in check or to create diversions, should be entirely subservient of course to the great armies int eh East and West that are now in front of the enemy, and I again beg that you will not feel that my frequent requisitions for re-enforcements and transportation are made in any other spirit than that of a desire to be useful.
I am on the eve of ordering some small movements, in conjunction with the Navy, up the Chowan River, thus threatening the enemy's communications, and have already ordered a reconnaissance through the Dismal Swamp Canal with a view to opening communication with General Wool through that channel. There are no troops along it, except a few militia pickets, but it is understood that the banks have been cut and the water let out between some of the locks. As it has turned out, it is very fortunate that the locks were not destroyed by General Reno, as they will prove useful to us now in communicating with Norfolk.
I shall write General Wool by this mail, and if upon hearing from him it may be deemed advisable for us to make a junction or co-operate with each other I will act accordingly. Everything depends, however, upon the he position occupied by General McClellan's forces. If, as I believe, he is in Richmond, and the enemy in full retreat southward--the transportation necessary for a movement into the interior will not be so great, as a junction will very soon be formed with the main body, unless the enemy should retreat in such force as to drive us back. We are anxiously waiting dispatches from Old Point Comfort.
Day before yesterday I sent out two parties in the direction of Trenton and Kinston--one on the north and one on the south side of the Trent River--for the purpose of driving in the enemy's pickets and outposts and ascertaining their strength. A brisk skirmish ensued on the north side, upon which we killed 1 lieutenant and 9 privates and took 2 prisoners. Our loss was 1 lieutenant and 4 privates taken prisoners and 1 officer wounded--Major Fitzsimmons, of the Third New York Cavalry. Their outposts were driven in, and quarters, stables, &c., destroyed. The party on the south side of the river met with a large force of cavalry, and a skirmish, ensued in which we killed 1 rebel captain and wounded several of their men, without sustaining any loss on our side. The force is just returning to its camp, but I have not yet learned the exact result of the reconnaissance.
In my next I will give you the details of this reconnaissance. I have