Last spring we concentrated and defeated the enemy. Since then we have spread out and now the enemy is attacking us in detail. If not too late, I suggest, as I did last fall when my views were communicated by the Navy to the War Department, razing all their works. Their works are numerous in this vicinity, tempting a struggle for reoccupation and giving them a great advantage if reoccupied. I have and shall make every effort to co-operate with you.
The interest I feel in this great subject will be sufficient to excuse the freedom with which I communicate my views in reply to your private letter of the 12th instant, which I partly answered on the 16th instant.
Heartily wishing you success, I am, very truly, yours,
S. P. LEE,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Commanding N. Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
UNITED STATES FLAG-SHIP MINNESOTA, Off Newport News, April 17, 1863.
Major General JOHN A. DIX:
GENERAL: I send you a copy of a sketch received this evening by the Spaulding showing that the enemy has reoccupied his old earthworks at Washington, N. C. This experience sustains the views I have heretofore presented for your consideration.
I have the honor to be, general, respectfully, yours,
S. P. LEE,
NEAR CORE CREEK, N. C., April 17, -1.45 p. m.
COLONEL: I have received your dispatch of this date, and shall observe its contents. The enemy's pickets were driven in on the railroad last night and at crossing of Dover road. They were driven from their intrenchments after the forcing of the creek. We have 1 man killed and 4 wounded and taken 4 prisoners. The position on the railroad has no weakness save that it may be turned.
NEAR CORE CREEK, N. C., April 17, 1863-7.15 p. m.,
COLONEL: We have entertained the enemy very much to-day; during the entire day we have occupied his attention. My best information is that besides Nethercutt's 300 men there is a regiment, the Thirty-third [Sixty-third] North Carolina, at Wise's Cross-Roads; Ransom's brigade a mile or so this side of Kinston. We have observed evidences of a force on the railroad, 4 miles in our front, and we have rumors of a force at Sandy Ridge fortified. We are encamped on the east side of Core Creek, holding the railroad crossing and the Dover Crossing with pickets beyond the creek.