The weak points at Suffolk are the Nansemond, running to the rear 7 miles, with an average width of less than 100 yards, and a range of heights which overlook a portion of our defenses.
All your suggestions have been anticipated, and it will require a large force to dislodge us. Our line is a long one, but with a reserve force in position to be moved promptly to any point of attack I feel confident that we are secure. The enemy is bringing siege guns from Petersburg and is constructing forts. He has three batteries on the Nansemond, and in constructing caseated forts there. All indicate that he has come to stay. I visit Suffolk every other day. I have entire confidence in General Peck, whose prudence, watchfulness, and good judgment leave nothing to be desired.
I am greatly indebted to you for the diversion you are making, and if you can keep General Hill where he is you will render us a great service.
General Hooker has moved with his whole army. It is large, well disciplined, and amply provided with all the material of war; great and confident hopes are entertained of the success of his movement on Richmond. I have never thought it the right way to that capital, but join in the general hope.
We have a cavalry force at South Mills and shall keep one the canal route as long as we can. It would be well, however, to exercise some caution in using it and arrange so as to secure the destruction of the dispatches with which a messenger is charged if he should chance to be intercepted.
I am, dear general, truly, yours,
JOHN A. DIX,
Please keep me advised of your movements.
Washington, N. C., April 29, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel SOUTHARD HOFFMAN,
Asst. Adjt. General, Eighteenth Army Corps:
COLONEL: Major-General Foster, commanding Eighteenth Army Corps, informed me that Washington, N. C., had been made a military post, and that my brigade had been ordered there, and that I was to command the post while General Prince was to command the District of the Pamlico, and that Washington would be included in that district and form part of his command. I also received very full verbal instructions from General Foster in regard to the management of the post, as well as to what he desired should be done to strengthen its defenses. I accordingly (after reporting on my arrival here to General Wessells, who was in command at that time) fully complied with all of General Foster's verbal instructions so far as they applied to the south side of the river by disposing of part of the troops at Hill's Point and Rodman's farm, at the cross-roads, Red Hill, &c., in exact conformity with the general's instructions; but after General Prince's arrival I discovered that his views did not correspond with those of General Foster. He informed me that he had received no written orders defining his duties or mine; but he issued the annexed (General Orders, Numbers 2) from his headquarters on the afternoon of April 28, 1863, and on April 29, 1863, at 6.45 o'clock p. m., I was served with General Orders, Numbers 3, from the headquarters of General Prince, a copy of which is also hereto attached.