modore Perry, dated Elizabeth City, January 13, and an extract from another report of his of the same date respecting further trade from Norfolk.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, yours,
S. P. LEE,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Commanding N. Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
SUFFOLK, VA., January 20, 1863.
Major Stratton made a fine reconnaissance toward Blackwater. At Carrsville he found a picket of 9 men, capturing 2 of them. Thinks the enemy's main force on the other side. Prisoners are on the way in. A good deal of signaling on the Somerton. Shall have that quarter examined very closely to-morrow. Pickets of some strength found at Windsor.
JOHN J. PECK,
HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
New Berne, N. C., January 20, 1863.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: The transports from this place have all left, but are delayed by the low water on the Swash, at Hatteras.
Naglee's division is embarked at Beaufort. The other division will embark as soon as their transports reach Beaufort. I shall sail as soon as all are in board, probably by Friday or Saturday. I have just received information from a spy, who has been within the enemy's lines and converse with their soldiers, to the effect that the rebel force in this State has been largely increased from the army in Virginia; that Wilmington has been re-enforced; that the main body intended to be thrown by railroad either to Weldon or Wilmington is at Goldsborough, and that Weldon is not strongly guarded, the rebels relying on the force in front on the Blackwater, under Pryor, and on the proximity of the reserve at Goldsborough.
The rebels report their force in the State to be 200,000, which is manifestly grossly exaggerated. The rebel soldiers reported to the spy that 75,000 men were at Goldsborough. I think this also is exaggerated; that there may be 75,000 men all told in the State is probable, since they could venture to withdraw even more than that number from the Army of Virginia, in consequence of the presumed inactivity of our army on the Rappahannock. They have full information of the condition of the army on the rappahannock from our own newspapers, and are much cheered by the reports and evidently do not fear any movements from that quarter.
Colonel Amory's brigade is now out on a strong reconnaissance on the south bank of the Trent River. This advance was impeded by felled trees and burnt bridges. The rebels burnt all the bridges over the Trent River and all over the creeks on the south route from Trenton to Jacksonville (or Onslow). The cavalry (third New York) are sweeping all the country between the White Oak and New Rivers, hoping to capture some of the rebel cavalry.
Contrabands report that the enemy fell back from Onslow on the 18th