likely to be brought against them, and that they are most earnestly desired by Major Bartholomew. I would also recommend a further supply of axes and shovels, as the want of these tools prevents Major Bartholomew from availing himself fully of the services of the contrabands in his command.
Upon the Long Acre road the picket is stationed at the ditch, about three-quarters of a mile from the custom-house, with an outer picket of 5 men half a mile in advance at the junction of the road with the Lee's Mill road. At this point there is a blockade of trees fallen across the road.
Upon the Columbia road the picket is established just west of the bridge, crossing Coneby Creek, about two miles from the custom house. This bridge is taken up each night and affords an easy and sure defense, as the creek is very deep.
Upon the Jamesville road the picket is at the ditch, about 1 mile from the custom, and a cavalry vedette is stationed about half a mile in advance.
Upon inquiring as to the probable, force and location of the enemy, I learned from Major Bartholomew that he, in company with Commodore Flusser, had, on January 30, made a reconnaissance as far as Jamesville on the gunboat Commodore Perry, shelling the woods at various points but finding no signs of the presence of the enemy. It was the opinion of Major Bartholomew that the position and strength of the enemy was as follows: Two companies of the Seventeenth North Carolina Regiment at Rainbow Bluff with two field pieces; the remainder of that regiment, with four field pieces, in the vicinity of the bluff, anywhere between Hamilton and Williamston; four companies of infantry some 7 miles northwest of Washington, and the remainder of their regiment at or near Greenville; three companies of cavalry scouting anywhere between the Tar and Roanoke Rivers.
A cavalry scout to Ward's Bridge, some 4 miles from town, failed to discover any signs of rebel scouts, thought they learned that parties of two or three cavalrymen had been seen in that vicinity within a week.
Commodore Flusser arrived on the evening of the 2nd of February,and after consultation I arranged to go with my regiment on his three gunboats to Williamston, starting the next morning at 7 o'clock and landing at Williamston or Jamesville as might be thought best - the landing party to be supported by three boat howitzers and their crews, under command of Lieutenant Furness, of the Valley City. On the following morning a drifting snow-storm rendered any advance by land or water impossible; the impassable state of the roads also prevented and expedition to Windsor to confiscate bacon packed for rebel use.
On Friday, February 6, finding that no coal could be furnished to our transport by the Navy and that my pioneers were unable to supply the requisite quantity of wood, I was obliged to send out some 3 miles to buy and draw some dry wood belonging to Mr. Harrison, a loyal man living on the Long Acre road. Before starting the wagons Major Bartholomew told me that he had good reason to believe that many of the inhabitants upon that road had abused their protection papers by smuggling out salt in longer quantities than they needed for home consumption; that they had packed large stores of bacon intended for the use of the rebel troops; that he though an examination and confiscation of a portion of their bacon, if found in such large quantities, would be desirable. I therefore took four of my companies and went some 13 miles out, taking on the way the horses, mules, and carts to transport the pork if found. I examined the farms of the persons suspected, and finding from two to three tons of bacon took from four of them 3,385