FORT MONROE, VA., March 6, 1863.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief U. S. Army:
Another reconnaissance on the Blackwater puts the enemy's force at 20,000. It is commanded by General Colston. Longstreet is said to be at Petersburg, but I do not consider it certain. Colonel Spear has captured 3 of the enemy's pickets, 2 horses, 3 rifles, sabers, and other articles.
JOHN A. DIX,
Major-General PECK, Suffolk:
Last night it was reported to me through Admiral Lee that Pryor had sent a force, probably small, to Smithfield and Pagan Creek four days ago. It would be well to ascertain. The guns will be attended to.
JOHN A. DIX,
UNITED STATES FLAG-SHIP MINNESOTA,
Newport News, March 7, 1863.
Major General JOHN A. DIX,
Commanding Seventh Army Corps, Fortress Monroe, Va.:
GENERAL: The commanding officer of the guard vessel at Norfolk reports to me to-day that the quartermaster at that post declines to give certificates to transports returning in ballast from Norfolk on the ground that their contracts with Government expired when their cargoes were discharged and that they were therefore no longer in Government employ. I beg you will give such directions as will prevent the inconveniences which arise from this. I would suggest that a certificate in each case from the quartermaster, stating that the vessel had come as a transport in the employ of the army and was going out in ballast, would be all that is necessary.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, yours,
S. P. LEE,
Actg. Rear Admiral, Commanding N. Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA, SEVENTH ARMY CORPS,
Fort Monroe, Va., March 7, 1863.
His Excellency ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
President of the United States:
SIR: I am extremely unwilling to trouble you, amid your multifarious and responsible duties, with a matter which ought to have been settled elsewhere; but having failed in every effort to arrange it I feel it my duty to the public service to appeal to you. Soon after Admiral Lee took command of the blockading squadron on this part of the coast he placed a gunboat between Fort Monroe and Fort Wool, a short distance to the east, and required all vessels bound to this post, even when laden with army stores, to come to anchor or heave to until a permit to come to the dock could be procured from me. No such requirement has been