I overtook the steam-tug Alert and sent her, together with the stern-wheel steamer Wilson, after the remainder of the One hundred and fifty-eighth Regiment. After the regiments had all been taken from the Colyer I put part of them on the John Farron and a portion of them on the schooner with the artillery, and directed the tug to take the schooner in tow and reach Washington with her as soon as possible.
At 4.30 p. m. passed Brant Island Shoals Light-House, and at 7 o'clock passed the light-house at the entrance to Pamlico River. At 7.20 o'clock me the steamer North Shore. The officer aboard informed me that he was bound to New Berne with dispatches from General Foster to General Palmer, and that the rebels had erected batteries on Mull's and Hill's Points, on the Pamlico River, and that it was General Foster's orders not to proceed any farther up the river until gunboats should arrive to convoy the transports by the batteries. I proceeded to within about 5 or 6 miles of Mull's Point, and at 9.30 o'clock came to anchor. Our approach was signaled by the enemy from a point about 10 miles below Mulls' Point. The signals were very distinct and continued at Intervals throughout the night.
On Wednesday morning, April 1, the gunboat Lockwood passed by a little before daylight, and proceeded to within 1 mile of Hill's Point and came to anchor.
At 6 o'clock on the morning of April 1 I got the steamer Farron and other transports under way and proceeded up the river, and at 9 o'clock again anchored within 2 1/2 miles of the Hill's Point Battery.
At 10 o'clock I visited the gunboat Lockwood and learned from Mr. Hicks, who commanded her, that there were five guns mounted on the battery on Hill's Point; that he had been directly under the battery and had seen and counted the guns. Mr. Hicks expressed his willingness to do anything in his power to assist the transports in running by the batteries, whereupon I requested him to proceed within range and open fire upon it, which he did, taking his vessel directly under it and continuing to fire for an hour and a half without any reply from the enemy.
At 2.30 p. m. Captain Gouraud, of General Foster's staff, and Lieutenant Cole, of my staff, volunteered to run by the blockade in a small boat and proceed to Washington with dispatches for General Foster. They got safely by the Hill's Point Battery, and after proceeding a few miles up the river met Master's Mate McKeever, of the gunboat Louisiana, who was on his way down with dispatches from General Foster. Captain Gouraud and Lieutenant Cole returned again to the steamer.
Master's Mate McKeever said that no boat drawing 6 feet of water could reach Washington, as the tide was lower than it had been for a year. This statement was also confirmed by the pilot of the gunboat Lockwood, who asserted to his knowledge that it had never before been so low; all the transports required more than 6 feet of water; while Mr. Hicks, commanding the gunboat, gave it as his opinion that he believed it impossible for any of the transports to pass the batteries, as the channel was only about 80 feet in width and al the buoys had been removed by the enemy.
At 7.30 p. m. I sent the steamer Sylvan Shore to New Berne for additional gunboats and ammunition of the kind required for the guns at Washington, that aboard of the transports not being of the character required for the gunboats and artillery at that place. The stern-wheel steamer Wilson arrived and reported at 9.30 p. m.
Lieutenant Cole, of my staff, and Master's Mate McKeever started in a small boat to run the blockade, with dispatches for General Foster,
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