with about half his present force. The railroads being in a bad condition north of Richmond Lee must guard them carefully. I would therefore collect every man not necessary to retain the strongholds in North Carolina and in this department into one body to threaten the railroads north of Richmond.
As the supplies of provisions in Matthews County, Gloucester County, and above are still plentiful, and as the rebels are taking steps to transport them to their army, I am doing all in my power to thwart their purpose. Eight hundred of my men came in last night after destroying a large amount of grain and bringing in many sheep and cattle and mules. I left Yorktown too early this morning to collect the figures. I have still 200 men out with the gunboats, and by the last accounts they were hard at work over in Matthews County. We have certainly destroyed about 30,000 bushels of grain within a week past. The enemy is undoubtedly busy about our picket lines, but I infer they are only masking other movements. My lines are so strong that I have no fear of small bodies, and can do more damage to large bodies than they can do to me. I shall therefore continue to hunt for his supplies.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. D. KEYES,
UNITED STATES FLAG-SHIP MINNESOTA,
Off Newport News, Va., April 9, 1863.
Major General JOHN A. DIX, U. S. A.,
Commanding Seventh Army Corps, Fortress Monroe, Va.:
GENERAL: The bark Edisto, from Boston to Baltimore, claims demurrage for detention here while receiving repairs at the Gosport Navy-Yard, rendered necessary by a collision which took place on the 21st of March between her and the Wyandotte in Hampton Roads. It has been reported to me that this vessel, by your order of March 17 to Captain Millward, was sent to Hampton Roads and there detained.
I would be obliged if you would inform me, if practicable, of the circumstances which justified her being so ordered within the lines of this blockade, as in presenting the case to the Department it would be necessary to account for her presence here.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, yours,
S. P. LEE,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Commanding N. Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
FORT MONROE, VA., April 9, 1863.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
No communication has been received from General Foster, who, with 1,200 men, is shut up in Washington, N. C. Below him the Tar River is closed, I learn, by fourteen rebel batteries, against the possibility of our gunboats reaching him. He cannot be relieved except by an expedition by land. Palmer asks from New Berne for 10,000 men. Captain Murray, of the Navy, left here last night for Washington. He has the latest information from Foster's department. I will examine the subject further, and if I find it expedient will send such re-enforcements as can be spared.
E. D. KEYES,