HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
New Berne, N. C., August 20, 1862.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Commanding Armies of the United States, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that all is well within this department.
The health of the men is remarkably good, considering the unhealthfulness of this climate men is remarkably good, considering the unhealthfulness of this climate at this season. The convalescents are rapidly brought up by a short stay at the general hospital at Beaufort.
I started a reconnaissance on the 16th instant toward Wilmington for the purpose of destroying some salt-works known to be in operation at or near Bogue Inlet, and to ascertain the force of the enemy in that section, the character of the country, depth of water in the sounds, inlets, and rivers, &c. I have now the honor to report their return and the successful accomplishment of their object and without resistance. One man was slightly wounded by a guerrilla's shot and we took one prisoner.
The reconnaissance was under command of Colonel Stevenson, commanding the Second Brigade of my division, and consisted of seven companies of the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers, Rigg's battery Third New York Artillery, and a large detachment of the Marine Artillery, Colonel Howard. The force was embarked on seven light-draught steamers, five of which proceeded to Bogue Inlet from Beaufort outside, and two through Bogue Sound to the same point. The vessels rendezvoused at the mouth of White Oak River, Swansborough, landed, and took possession of the town. The next day the two ligtest-draught steamers started up Stumpy Sound, and, having proceeded 2 miles, landed a detachment of troops, who, marching down the banks of the sound, found and destroy the salt-works of a Mr. Hawkins, with a store-house partially filled. These works were quite extensive and well filled up, and had a capacity of about 7,000 bushels per annum. The force then proceeded to the works of Colonel Saunders (capacity about 2,500 bushels per annum), which they destroyed, and hearing of no other works of any consequence, the detachment returned to their vessels.
During their absence Lieutenant Porter, commanding the naval gunboat Ellis, kindly furnished me by Lieutenant Colhoun, the senior officer at this station, found and destroys two small works on Queen Creek.
Having destroyed all the known works in this part of the country and obtained much information the forces started for their return, first destroying a well-constructed unarmed for to built to protect the entrance to Bogue Inlet, the guns of which had been taken (six in number) to New Berne to aid in the defense of that point and were there captured by us, and had not since been replaced.
Before closing this report I must make my acknowledgements of the promptness, willingness, and efficiency of Lieutenant Colhoun, of the Navy. His cordial and ever-ready co-operation with me in any move I may make, joined with his high character as an officer and a gentleman, convinces me that he is one of the most worthy and deserving of those ex-officers of the Navy who at the call of their country re-entered the service, hoping and wishing to be reinstated in the Regular Navy of the United States. Than Lieutenant Colhoun none are more worthy.
I am, General, with much respect, your obedient servant,
J. G. FOSTER,
27 R R-VOL IX