Colonel Jones, commanding picket line, pushed a reconnaissance to Core Creek, and drove the enemy back in that direction. A force was sent to Hyde County to catch certain guerrillas in that county and to break up a smuggling trade in corn and forage. This party was ambuscaded, and lost, before they dispersed the enemy, 4 killed and 13 wounded from the Third New York Cavalry. On their return, as I found the object had not been thoroughly accomplished, I sent a larger force, under command of Colonel Morris, One hundred and first Pennsylvania Volunteers. From this I have not yet heard.
The information derived from these various scouts is, briefly-
Thirty-eighth thousand rations are issued daily from Goldsborough to troops within drawing distance. This in all probability includes the forces at Goldsborough, Kinston, Tarborough, Kenansville (west of Onslow, near the railroad), and possibly the force on the Roanoke River leaving Weldon and Wilmington as separate points of issue.
The information given in mine of March 2, as to the force on Roanoke River, has been confirmed, both as to position and numbers. The ironclad, also mentioned, is again reported as being now ready.
Owing to the dearth of transportation in this department at present I shall have to await the return of the expedition to Hyde County in order to send re-enforcements to Plymouth, which I propose to do, and also to erect a battery there capable of defending the town, holding the mouth of the river, and assisting the Navy in repelling the iron-clads.
Owing to the fact that so large a portion of my light artillery is now in the Department of the South (a picket force) it is necessary to amount two companies Third New York Artillery, and I have made the requisitions (to-day's mail) for two batteries of Napoleon guns, complete, and for the requisite number of horses. I trust this will meet your approval, and that the guns and horses will be at once ordered.
I omitted to mention that General Dix having kindly offered to scout from Norfolk and Suffolk, with his cavalry, in the direction of Edenton, Elizabeth City, and Winfield, I have embraced the offer, and shall concentrate the forces at these small posts, Plymouth, and Roanoke. The small posts above-named were difficult to re-enforce or support, and yet some force should be in this direction, and this relieves me of the weight.
Your favor of the 4th of March, on the subject of the Maine artillery, has just come to hand, and in obedience thereto I am taking the necessary steps to muster out such members of that organization as do not voluntarily join some other arm of the service.
I am, general, with great respect, your obedient servant,
J. G. FOSTER,
SUFFOLK, March 12, 1863.
Major General JOHN A. DIX:
There has been some mystery about Longstreet's moves, but the following from Charleston Mercury settles all doubt:
Longstreet has been appointed by the President to the department made vacant by the resignation of General Smith. This department includes South Virginia and North Carolina. General Longstreet's headquarters will be at Petersburg.
JOHN J. PECK,