If I have misunderstood General Foster, I deeply regret it; but it is utterly impossible that I could do so, as the conversation was too definite and explicit. I write now for the purpose of asking that my duties as commander of the post may be defined by an order. My desire is to serve my country to the best of my ability, but I can be of no benefit to the service in my present position unless I either have some instructions to guide me or I am allowed to proceed according to my own judgment.
By General Orders, Numbers 2 (hereto annexed), the defenses of the post were placed under my command. This morning I commenced throwing up an earthwork at a point to the right of Block-house Numbers 3, where General Potter indicated that General Foster desired it should be done; but, as the order of General Prince defining my duties and placing the defenses of the post under my command has been rescinded, I do not feel at liberty to proceed with this or any of the other works necessary for the defense of the place until I shall receive an explicit order to do so, as Orders Numbers 2 placed me not only in command of the defenses of the post but also of the troops stationed here. That being now rescinded it leaves me without any command.
I did feel a desire to aid in driving back the enemy that now seems to be hovering around this place. In fact I was in hopes that I would be able to make it too warm for them to have even a picket within 20 miles of Washington, much less to be allowed to remain in force within 6 or 7 miles of this place.
A Mrs. Lucinda Willard, from the neighborhood of Beaver Dam, and who says that General Potter knows her very well, came to our lines to-day on the Plymouth road and informed me that the enemy was encamped in large force at Tranter's Creek, and that they intended making another attack upon the place, both by land and with a floating battery which they are to bring down the river, and that their object this time is to burn the town. She says that the rebel soldiers have been writing this to their families in her vicinity for the past three or four days. I make the statement for what it is worth. If General Potter knows her he can tell whether any reliance should be put in what she says. Her statement in regard to the troops and their location is confirmed from other sources. However, I think it would be well to have a strong work erected on the extreme left of our lines, as in case they should take it in their heads to approach the place by the river and at a time when the gunboats might be engaged below the bridge they could give us some trouble unless we have everything ready for their reception.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. B. SPINOLA,
GENERAL ORDERS, Numbers 2.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE PAMLICO,
Washington, N. C., April 28, 1863.
I. The military post of Washington consists of the immediate defenses of that place. The town and citizens are not included in the military post. The command of those defenses and of the troops will devolve upon Brigadier-General Spinola. The town is in charge of the provost-marshal, whose authority emanates from headquarters of the district.
II. No interference with private property excepting by or through the provost-marshal will be sanctioned.