boat the ammunition send from New Berne for General Foster, and lay his vessel alongside the schooner Nellie D. for the purpose of towing her past the batteries and through the blockade to Washington between now and daylight.
By command of Brigadier-General Spinola, commanding:
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.
Everything was in readiness to make the move under the above orders when General Prince and staff arrived in the steamer Escort at about 11 p. m., April 4, and assumed command, after which the execution of the foregoing orders devolved upon him. The arrangements for running the blockade with the gunboat and schooner were not carried out, although the schooner had weighed anchor and the gunboat had made fast to her and both were under way when General Prince countermanded the orders and the schooner again came to anchor. I had made all the above arrangements under the belief that the favorable moment to re-enforce the garrison had arrived, as there were 2 or 3 feet more water in the river than there had been at any time since my arrival. I ascertained this fact by soundings made under my own personal supervision. The reason for countermanding the orders under which the arrangements had been made for the schooner Nellie D. and gunboat Lockwood to run the blockade I have no doubt will be fully explained in General Prince's report.
All the officers and men of my brigade were both willing and anxious to incur any risk or to encounter any danger necessary to relieve the beleaguered city, and no troops in the army could have manifested a greater willingness to make any necessary sacrifice to re-enforce the garrison and to relieve it from the perils that surrounded it.
I cannot close this report without bearing testimony to the gallant conduct of the Navy while acting in conjunction with my command, particularly Captain MacDearmid, of the gunboat Ceres. The conduct of the several commanders of the gunboats engaged was all that could have been expected of them. They manifested great bravery, coupled with a willingness to od all in their power to relieve the garrison.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. B. SPINOLA,
Lieutenant Colonel SOUTHARD HOFFMAN,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Eighteenth Army Corps.
HDQRS. ON FIELD AT LITTLE SWIFT CREEK,
April 8, 1863-Wednesday night, 11 o'clock.
GENERAL: In pursuance to your instructions of to-day the column under my command started at 3 o'clock p. m. and arrived at this place at 8 o'clock p. m., The advance guard met the enemy's pickets about 7 miles from Fort Anderson. They retreated without returning fire, and about half and hour later we heard their alarm guns. From information entirely reliable I learn that the enemy, 6,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry, are in a strong fortified position at Walter Ruff's farm, on the road leading to Blount's Creek. I also learn from the same source that the enemy occupy both sides of Swift Creek Bridge. There are other forces on the road leading to Kinston, but I could not learn their position or strength. It is to be presumed that the enemy is in strong position and force at the cross-roads near Washington. Should I proceed to Washington on the Swift Creek road I feel assured that I will be attacked