Our field artillery force is also in good condition, having been increased by the fitting up of new batteries of captured pieces to over thirty guns now ready for the field, only fourteen of which belong to the regularly-organized batteries of the command. A few more horses and a small supply of harness would be of service to us, and Colonel Sibley has gone North for the purpose of procuring them, but they are now, as I before stated, in a fair condition to move.
You are so perfectly conversant with the length of line and number of places that we have to hold in these waters that I will not enter into details as ot the garrisons that it will be necessary to leave behind in case we receive an order to move, but will simply give you the answer which I gave in reply to a dispatch from General McClellan, and am expecting an answer from him to-morrow night:
I can place 7,000 infantry in Norfolk ready for transportation to White House in five days, but with no wagons, camp equipage, artillery, or cavalry, or I can place at a point on the Chowan River, with a view of co-operating in an attack on Petersburg, 7,000 infantry, twelve pieces of artillery, three companies of cavalry, and wagons enough for the ammunition, and five days' subsistence, at five day's notice. (Of course I can move on Weldon with the same force), or I can move on Goldsborough at sixty hour's notice with 10,000 infantry, twenty pieces of artillery, and five companies of cavalry.
Either one of these moves can be made, and at the same time leave the places which we now hold tolerably secure. Several miles of railroad between here and Goldsborough have been torn up and many of the bridges and culverts destroyed, but I am convinced that we can take the place, but would not like to guarantee that it can be held with this small force. If, however, it should be deemed advisable, after hearing from General McClellan, to make either one of these moves, I shall avail myself of the very great confidence which you have placed in me by allowing me the discretion of co-operating with the Army of the Potomac without waiting for special instructions from the Department.
Of the four engines started to us two were lost at Hatteras Inlet in a gale, and two are now running on the road between here and Fort Macon. The cars, wagons, and horses are arriving rapidly, and are being put in movable condition. I heard of the loss of the two engines while at Fort Monroe, and Mr. Tucker, your Assistant Secretary, promised to send us two more at once.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. E. BURNSIDE,
Major-General, Commanding Department North Carolina.
WASHINGTON, June 28, 1862.
I think you had better go, with any re-enforcements you can spare, to General McClellan.
WAR DEPARTMENT, June 28, 1862.
Major-General BURNSIDE, New Berne:
We have intelligence that General McClellan has been attacked in large force and compelled to fall back toward the James River. We are not advised of his exact condition, but the President directs that you shall send him all the re-enforcements from your command to the