enemy has not seen fit to renew the action of yesterday; that he had just received a dispatch from General Peck stating that the rebels had not crossed as yet, but believed they would try it this afternoon or to-night. Lieutenant Cushing says that the rebels intended to cross below the West Branch yesterday, but were beaten back by the fire of the gunboats. I had already instructed Lieutenant the Nansemond. Lieutenant Lamson expects to go up the river on the arrival of the tug Alert, whose rudder has been repaired and is being shipped, with the assistance of a diver.
Lieutenant Cushing surmises that the rebels may be masking batteries to protect their crossing.
S. P. LEE,
SUFFOLK, April 15, 1863.
There has been a large force on the Upper Nansemond all day, but they have been prevented from crossing. I fear they will attempt this to-night. If your boats can arrive at once we shall be able to hold the river.
ROANOKE ISLAND, April 15, 1863.
GENERAL: The inclosed letter was sent open to me yesterday at the blockade below Washington to be forwarded through General Dix. I immediately ran here to have them forwarded by the commanding officer here. Dispatches for Admiral Lee go at the same time.
The expedition under General Spinola, mentioned in General Foster's letter, returned to New Berne the third day after it left. General S. decided that his force was entirely too small to attempt to push its way to Washington.
As soon as I heard of his intention to return I determined that men and supplies could be sent through the blockade, and I placed one regiment, with a quantity of provisions and ammunition, on board a river steamer and went with them myself. After some little delay on account of weather and the fears of the pilot I succeeded by threatening, promising pecuniary reward, &c., to push the boat through. The navy gunboats ran up to the blockade to assist in case of accident. The steamer went through safely, I think. She was lying (as I am informed by a signal officer) safely at the wharf in Washington yesterday.
There are more troops and supplies near the blockade ready to be pushed in if General Foster wishes them.
General Wessells, who arrived in New Berne the day before I left, informs me in a dispatch of yesterday that the enemy are assembling a force at Swansborough. From there they threaten Beaufort, Morehead City, Fort Macon, and the railroad. This, I think, is only to prevent our sending too many of our force from here toward Washington.
Lieutenant-Commander Flusser, a bold, energetic naval officer, has arrived to take command of the fleet below the blockade, and I think he will be able to reduce or cripple the batteries on the river.
A force (a brigade, one battery, and two companies of cavalry) has been sent by General Wessells again in the direction of Washington to divert the attention of the enemy from Washington.