of cavalry, and one battery of artillery. Colonel Potter was at the time about leaving, in obedience to my orders, for Plymouth, N. C., with Colonel Mix, in command of five companies of cavalry and one battery of artillery, to co-operate with the Navy in attacking Hamilton, on Roanoke River. The attack of the rebels was made suddenly, and it appears they surprised the outer line of pickets, killing and wounding them, and, dashing into town, surprised the company of foot artillery in the barracks, stationed for garrison at the new field works, capturing from them four old brass 6-pounders, that were captured by us at New Berne.
Colonel Mix and Colonel Potter, hearing the firing, halted, and immediately returned into town, attacking the rebels vigorously, and after two and a half hours' hard fighting drove them from the town and beyond Tranter's Creek, 8 miles from town, taking 20 prisoners, many muskets, and about 30 horses.
The rebels left 12 dead and 12 wounded in the streets, carrying off many killed and wounded, some of which they had to leave by the road-side. It is reported that 30 dead bodies have been found up to time of last dispatch.
Our loss was 7 killed and 47 wounded, most of them slightly. Lieutenant Everett, adjutant of the cavalry, was shot in the knee. Colonel Potter had his horses hot under him.
An unfortunate disaster happened to the army gunboat Picket, causing her destruction. Just as the men were called to quarters the magazine blew up, undoubtedly from carelessness or accident, tearing the boat to pieces, instantly killing Captain [Sylvester D.] Nicoll, the commander, and 19 men, and wounding 6 others.
The gunboat Louisiana, Captain Renshaw, U. S. Navy, rendered most efficient aid, throwing her shells with great precision, and clearing the streets through which her guns had range.
Our whole force in the fight at the time of the attack consisted of four companies of infantry, two of artillery, and five of cavalry, and was considerably outnumbered by the enemy.
I shall leave for Washington immediately to take such measures as may be necessary, and will send detailed list of the killed and wounded on my return.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. FOSTER,
Commander-in-Chief, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
New Berne, N. C., September 12, 1862.
GENERAL: I have the honor to state, in addition to my brief report of the 7th of the attack on Washington, N. C., that, upon careful investigation of the circumstances and of the reports, that the affair, although undeniably a surprise at the outset, proves to have terminated in a very creditable display of gallantry by our troops. I find that all the men, infantry, cavalry, and artillery, recovering from their first surprise, drove the enemy from the town and 8 miles beyond.
We have knowledge of the loss of the enemy of 33 killed and about three times that number wounded. Our loss was 8 killed, 36 wounded,