Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal kept choked, no iron-clad or other gunboats can go from Norfolk to the sounds of North Carolina. No vessel drawing over 3 or 3 1/2 feet of water can pass through Currituck Sound from Norfolk, and so get into Croatan and Pamlico Sounds. I speak from positive information on this point, for I had experiment tried, in effect, by Lieutenant Jeffers, when he was dispatched by one in charge of an army stern-wheel boat, drawing only 3 feet or so of water, to destroy some salt works at old Currituck Inlet.
Could General Burnside be promptly re-enforced with a body of 40,000 men I am convinced that he could possess himself of Norfolk in a fortnight after their arrival at Roanoke Island.
This idea I have entertained ever since that island surrendered to our arms, and the more I think of it the more I am confirmed in my belief. With the force the general would then have, he would, undoubtedly, use the roads leading from Powell's Point, Winton, and Gatesville, all three of which are good and practicable, and hold Roanoke Island and Winton as bases of operation.
These considerations may be of moment before a great while, if they are not so now.
L. M. G.
U. S. STEAMER WACHUSETT, Yorktown, Va., April 23, 1862.
Flag-Officer L. M. GOLDSBOROUGH,
Commanding North Atlantic Blockade Squadron:
SIR: The work of the enemy are excessively strong and powerfully armed. Their cannon are managed and served with surprising accuracy, exceeding anything I have therefore known, and there is every indication of a most determined resistance. More than fifty heavy cannon bear upon this bay, and the destruction of vessels of this class is inevitable, if taken under such a fire, without their having the power to inflict any damage or but trifling damage to the enemy, owing to the superior and well-chosen position of their batteries.
I believe that any number of vessels of this or the gunboat class will not prevail against works so located as those now before me, and that an increase of numbers will only add to our casualties. General McClellan propose to dismount some of the cannon before the vessels advance, and it is an evident necessity that he should do so to a very large extent. * * *
Respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,
J. S. MISSROON,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, April 26, 1862.
(Received April 27-9 a.m.)
Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
I am glad to write that the first parallel now extends to York River, being now complete. The most exposed portion was commenced to-night by the regulars. They are now well under cover, and the parallel will be nearly finished by daylight. Everything quiet
to-night. No firing on either side that amounts to anything.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,