infantry. This does not include any of the force along the Weldon and Wilmington Railroad, which just now is very considerable, all the bridges being very heavily guarded.
Our engines, cars, &c., have not yet arrived. A portion of the wagons have come in, but none of the horses or harness.
I have heard nothing from Roanoke Island or that neighborhood for two or three days.
My medical director is establishing a general hospital at Beaufort, to which point all the serious cases will be transported as soon as possible. The location is much more healthy than this, and by concentrating the sick in one general hospital there it will require fewer surgeons to attend them. A large hotel there has been appropriated to that purpose. Could I have known that the delay here in the arrival of transportation would have been so great, I think I would have made a demonstration against Fort Caswell which might have resulted in its fall. However, both Wilmington and fort Caswell can easily be taken if we once get possession of Goldsborough and Raleigh.
I have been on the eve several times of expressing the opinion to you, which if correct is of great importance, but have hesitated to do it, fearing that I may not be correct. It is this: The Convention in this State is divided in opinion as to the present mode of action to such an extent that it failed to take any action at all when it last met, preferring to await the issue of the great events that are now transpiring. I am satisfied that, if the rebel army in Virginia is either captured or dispersed or forced to retreat beyond the lines of this State, the State will at once return to its allegiance through its Convention by a considerable majority. There is much true loyalty here, and all the people are heartily sick of the war, and are very much exercised lest their own State should be made the next battle ground. They have been taught that the institution of slavery, which their leaders have made them believe is a great element of strength, is in fact an element of weakness. Wherever the Union arms have made a lodgment they have lost the entire control of their slaves, and they are quite convinced that, if the slave States formed a recognized government independent of the North, we would not make war upon them with the same leniency that we do now, but would use this element against them with very great success.
The arrival of Governor Stanley will, I hope, do a great deal of good. You are looking at this subject of course in all its bearings upon the different sections of the country, and will give to these opinions only the weight they deserve.
In the absence of definite instructions upon the subject of fugitive slaves I have adopted the following policy:
First. To allow all slaves who come to my lines to enter.
Second. To organize them and enrol them, taking their names, the names of their masters, and their place of residence.
Third. To give them employment as far as possible, and to exercise toward old and young a judicious charity.
Fourth. To deliver none to their owners under any circumstances, and allow none of them to leave this department until I receive your definite instructions.
To-morrow I shall go to Beaufort and Fort Macon, if I am well enough, and from thence to Roanoke and the Chowan River, unless I should hear something definite from Fortress Monroe which requires my immediate attention here.
I was not as well when I last wrote you as I thought, and have con-