(4th inst.) for the Pamlico River and arrived at Blount's Bay at 8 p. m . In addition to the gunboats which I left there-the Lockwood, Allison, and sloop Granite-I found the Southfield, Whitehead, and Seymour. The Ceres, which arrived on Thursday evening, had during that night buoyed out the passage through the barricade, and, while engaging the battery about 3 o'clock the same night, passed through. The enemy probably withheld their fire supposing that the Ceres would be impaled, and must have been surprised to see her steam off up the river. On the following night they removed the buoys placed by Captain MacDearmid. The evening of the 4th Dr. Rice left in a row-boat with dispatches for General Foster. By him I informed the general of my views of the state of things at the barricade, and the impossibility of taking the battery by landing.
On the morning of the 5th I had Colonel Dyer's regiment (One hundred and seventy-fifth Pennsylvania) on board the schooner Annie L. Edwards (with part of Ransom's battery), to be towed to Washington by the gunboat Lockwood, Captain Graves, who volunteered for the purpose. They were under way, approaching the barricade in gallant style, when Dr. Rice's boat and another belonging to the Southfield arrived from Washington, and the officers of the Navy on board of them said that there was not water enough above for the Lockwood, so I stopped them and turned them back.
The Northerner arrived with the following troops on board: The One hundred and first Pennsylvania, Colonel Morris, 350 strong; the Fifth Massachusetts, Colonel Peirson, 500 strong; making the whole number here, artillery and infantry, 2,500 men. In the afternoon the Hunchback, Captain McCann, arrived, having been detained by boisterous weather. The Hunchback, Southfield, and Whitehead made a combined attack on the battery at 6 p. m. The battery replied with but three shots, which passed near the Hunchback.
As soon as dark came on (in order that the enemy might not observe) I began preparing the Emilie steamer, by disposing bales and boxes of clothing and three bales of cotton to protect the boiler, for the reception of a regiment, intending to place her in charge of Captain Wells, of the Seymour, who said he would make the effort to run her up to Washington. Later, toward 10 p. m., a dispatch arrived from General Foster. The dispatch in the morning directed as follows:
If you find it to be too risky to land and take the batteries, content yourself with sending me through two regiments with a plentiful supply of ammunition for the guns (32-pounders, 6-pounder Wiards, 6-pounder smooth-bores, and 3-inch guns); then, leaving the gunboats to take care of Hill's Point battery, return at once to New Berne and, taking every man that can possibly be spared (five regiments are enough for the safety of New Berne), march across the country from Fort Anderson to Washington. I am quite sure that you will only meet ten regiments on the way, and them you can overcome. The road from Fort Anderson to Swift's Creek is bad but the rest is good. You can also go by the way of Street's Ferry, but it involves the bridging of Batchelder's Creek and the crossing of the Neuse River and Swift's Creek. It is better to corduroy 5 miles of the road from Fort Anderson.
And the dispatch of this evening says:
If you cannot send the two regiments through without delaying the main demonstration and attack from New Berne send only one, or leave it to be sent, and push the other manner. It is my belief that the battery at Hill's Point will be abandoned when our force approaches the cross-roads 3 1/2 miles from here on the road to New Berne.
The project of sending a steamer crowded with men was proposed for discussion between the higher navy officers and some of my staff, and as my ideas of its impropriety were not shaken I countermanded the orders given to the Emilie and ordered the One hundred and fifty-