Accordingly at 10 o'clock on the night of April 3 he started to place the buoys, and at 12 o'clock reported that he had succeeded and was then ready to run his boat through if I desired it. I accordingly had the Ceres brought alongside of the Farron and put on board of her all the ammunition her magazine could hold.
At 2.45 o'clock on the morning of April 4 Captain MacDearmid started with his gunboat and passed all the batteries in safety, the Hill's and Swan's Point Batteries firing at him as long as he was within range of their guns.
At 4 o'clock on the morning of April 4 I received a dispatch from General Foster for General Prince. It was of an important character, and I concluded to forward it at once to General Prince at New Berne. Accordingly I had the 600 troops on the Farron transferred to the two schooners that had Ransom's battery aboard, and started the steamer at 6 o'clock in the morning for New Berne with a letter to General Palmer, asking that all the small boats, together with the surf boats and launches that could be procured at New Berne, might be sent down by the steamer on her return, as I had become satisfied that the garrison could be re-enforced by passing the blockade with these boats in the night, in case all other plans failed. The steamer returned but the boats did not come.
At 2 o'clock three additional gunboats arrived, the Southfield, Whitehead, and Seymour. Their several commanders expressed a desire to render all the assistance in their power toward relieving the garrison, and wished to know my desires in the matter; whereupon I requested that they would at once engage the battery on Hill's Point, which they did at a distance of about 1,000 yards, and nothing could h ave been more accurate than the firing of the Southfield and one or two others of the boats, from the effect of which I became entirely satisfied that the battery could be passed in safety.
After ascertaining that the buoys put down by Captain MacDearmid had not been disturbed, and as soon as dark set in, I had the whole of Ramson's battery, including officers and men, transferred to the schooner Nellie D., and the six guns placed in position on the schooner's deck. I likewise transferred the whole of the One hundred and seventy-fifth Regiment Pennsylvania Militia, under command of Colonel Dyer, numbering 600 men, on the same schooner, and had made arrangements for the gunboat Lockwood to take aboard the ammunition that had reached me for the gunboats and batteries at Washington, and also to take the schooner in tow and run the blockade with her before daylight on the following morning. The above arrangements were made by the regimental and battery commanders in pursuance of the following orders:
SPECIAL ORDERS, HDQRS ABOARD THE THOMAS COLYER, Numbers 2.
Pamlico River, near Hill's Point, N. C., April 4, 1863.
I. Colonel Samuel A. Dyer, commanding One hundred and seventy-fifth Regiment Pennsylvania Militia, will immediately transfer his command from the schooner
to the schooner Nellie D. that has Ransom's battery aboard, for the purpose of running the blockade by the rebel batteries on Hill's and Swan's Points and Rodman's Quarters and re-enforcing General Foster at Washington.
II. The utmost caution must be exercised in keeping the men between decks while passing the batteries.
III. Captain Ransom, commanding battery, will transfer the guns of his battery, together with caissons, ammunition, and men, from the schooner
to the schooner Nellie D., and have all his guns placed in position and ready for action on the deck of the schooner Nellie D., so as to assist in fighting his way past the batteries.
IV. The captain of the schooner Nellie D. will receive aboard his vessel Colonel Dyer's regiment of infantry and the balance of Ransom's battery.
V. Captain Graves, of the gunboat Lockwood, is requested to receive aboard his