HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
October 30, 1862.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that I am about to start on an expedition, for the following purposes:
Information was sent me from Plymouth by the navy that three regiments had left from the neighborhood of Plymouth to go down into Washington and Hyde Counties, for the purposes of foraging and obtaining conscripts. These counties form a bag, the mouth of which is between Washington and Plymouth. If I am not too late (as the information was forty hours in reaching me) I hope to engage and capture this force. Should I accomplish that I shall push on for Hamilton, on the Roanoke River, and endeavor to take that place. Should the forces in the counties above named have escaped I will push on at once for the same place. I am led to make this attempt from information (received from the Navy) that two iron-clad gunboats were being constructed there, and these, of course, it is essential to destroy.
I shall take the following force, to rendezvous at Washington, N. C.: Belger's Rhode Island battery, six pieces; four batteries of the Third New York Artillery, sixteen pieces; about 130 of the Third New York Cavalry, and about 4,000 infantry, made up of detachments from the regiments under my command, and shall go in command myself.
I learn, and I believe reliably, that Governor Vance, of this State, has gone to Richmond, for the purpose of demanding of the Confederate Government the return to the State of all the troops from North Carolina, and that as an earnest of his success several regiments have been already ordered here; so with my force this is my only opportunity to strike a blow.
The New York papers gave a very accurate statement of the three regiments from Massachusetts arrived at this post, so of course my present force is well known to the enemy.
As soon as I return I shall have the honor of reporting my operations and the results.
I am, general, with great respect, your obedient servant,
J. G. FOSTER,
UNITED STATES FLAG-STEAMER PHILADELPHIA,
Hampton Roads, Va., October 31, 1862.
Major General JOHN A. DIX, U. S. A.,
Commanding Seventh Army Corps, Fortress Monroe, Va.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 29th instant.
I am gratified by your conclusion to adjust the question of blockade with the authorities at Washington, and very truly regret that you did not find it profitable to do so sooner.
I have always informed you of the text of my orders on this subject from the Secretary of the Navy, to whom I have regularly communicated our correspondence.
Having endeavored faithfully to discharge my duty, under very clear orders to maintain the blockade strictly, I have the satisfaction of knowing that my conduct has been fully approved by the Department in every case where military permits to trade have been given in violation of the blockade. In this connection I beg leave to inform you that in