pany is reported to be in Gates County and a portion of the Nansemond Cavalry there, as two companies of paroled Roanoke prisoners that have been exchanged, now organized, and before crossing the lines intend to co-operate with the forces that have crossed the river and make an attack on this place and also to clean the counties of all the produce that they can get hold of and convey it across the river. The principal part of the citizens are very much engaged at those people coming across here committing such acts as they have since coming over.
Longstreet's force of 45,000 men is reported at Weldon. It is to be lamented that we have not taken that important place before this.
I saw and read a letter written in Raleigh by one of the convention men, where he says if Weldon falls into our possession that Virginia will have to come into the Union and North Carolina with her. He says their only hope is in the Conservative Democratic party North, but adds that there is little hope from them, as they are anxious for prosecuting the war, and it is so long before they come into power that death and starvation stare the Confederate Army in the face. He says their troops are in a deplorable condition, neither shoes, clothing, nor tents.
He says he converses with the best men in the Confederacy from the President down. He says they called a convention of the State Council, which consists of seven members, and only three of them met; they waited three days and no other members met. He adds that this is the first time since the world was made that such a convention was called and not responded to.
To-day I was down across the river and met one of our men who can control the Legislature, and he says remove the bayonets from North Carolina and there would be a Noah's deluge for the State to come into the Union. I will not mention his name, but you can depend upon this. There is a move on the tapis now of vital importance to the State which would develop itself on the fall of Weldon, for which they are all anxious to see. This man's assertion is substantiated by other good authority and may be depended upon. If you this worth noticing I hope you will make it known to the proper authorities, and if there is going to be anything done in this direction it should be done immediately, as much dependence is placed on the support received from these counties, and a small force would defeat their movements in this quarter. I hope, as many others do, that something will be done; most all are willing to take the oath.
I went down the river yesterday (Sunday) and captured eleven boxes of tobacco, which are very valuable. To-day we captured a fine mule and cart that was in waiting to convey some goods, no doubt, into the country. Have destroyed all the boats on the opposite side of the river; they seem perfectly willing to destroy them. The difference in feeling toward our cause now and what it was two months ago is very apparent. I was down to the mouth of Chowan to-day. I have one more trip to make down that way to-morrow or next day.
I have twelve tons of coal yet on hand.
One of Small's men was killed in the attack the first night by a shell. The pickets were fired on the next night after the Lockwood left, but we did not fire any from the boat, but embarked all but a guard. Our men are all in pretty good health.
I will send this by a small boat furnished by Lieutenant Etheridge.
I do not think of anything more of importance. Remember me to all friends.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THOS. J. WOODWARD,
Acting Volunteer Lieutenant, Commanding.