the enemy's pickets to be posted at this place in strength, and therefore instructed the commandant of the cavalry to march quickly over the road in order, if possible, to cut them off from their main force; in the mean time our main column marched on the direct road here. I am happy to inform you that Captain Chamberlin, commanding the cavalry, has faithfully performed the duty assigned him by succeeding in cutting off and capturing two cavalry pickets stationed here. From our prisoners we have received information that the enemy occupied Blount's Creek with 6,000 infantry and one regiment of cavalry, and from that to the cross-roads leading to Washington they have 15,000 infantry and three regiments of cavalry stationed. They are fortified in every available position with about one hundred and fifty pieces of artillery.
I also learn that the stringers of the bridge across Blount's Creek are cut, which, if so, will prevent our crossing there.
The prisoners belong to Colonel Claiborne's regiment, Seventh Confederate Cavalry, newly arrived from the Blackwater. They state that there are 50,000 rebel soldiers stationed around Washington. I have sent the cavalry in two parts to scour the roads leading to Blount's Creek and Swift Creek. The latter road I have our pioneers employed in clearing what we blockaded in our last march here, as I intend leaving here at daylight in the morning and march toward Swift Creek, leaving a portion of my command to occupy our present position until we return.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. B. SPINOLA,
Commanding Eighteenth Army Corps.
HEADQUARTERS SPINOLA'S BRIGADE,
Washington, N. C., May 15, 1863.
COLONEL: In obedience to orders received from Headquarters Eighteenth Army Corps, directing that my brigade should be at Foster's Wharf at 2 a. m. on April 8 for the purpose of crossing the Neuse River, I have the honor to submit the following report:
The brigade reached the place designated a quarter of an hour before the time specified, and in two hours were all over the river. They bivouacked near the old rebel fort on the road leading to the New Hope School-House.
At between 1 and 2 o'clock on the morning of April 8 I called upon Brigadier General Henry Prince at his headquarters to ascertain if there were any specific instructions to be issued in regard to the expedition and to learn what time he had fixed on for the column to commence moving. I believe that General Prince was to command the expedition, as he had been ordered by General Foster to proceed with it to the relief of the garrison at Washington, N. C., which was then invested by the enemy.
I found General Prince in a state of mind denoting that he was very much exercised in regard to the propriety of making the contemplated march, and he freely expressed his opinion to me that the expedition could not succeeded, that it must be a very great failure, for he did not believe that any of those who accompanied it would return, as we would all be captured, and that it was like making the rebels a present of all the artillery.