War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0688 NORTH CAROLINA AND S. E. VIRGINIA. Chapter XXX.

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SUNDAY, May 3, 1863.

Major-General FOSTER:

MY DEAR GENERAL: My official letter, May 1, briefly and rather hastily gives my views on the public points noticed in your unofficial favor of the 22nd ultimo.

I am sure you will not misunderstand my motives. I am subject to so many calls for aid which I have not to give and for service which I cannot render that I must try and find out just what is or should be required of me and to try to do it. If I had only time to lay before you quantity and kinds of demands made on me here you would laugh outright if they were not so earnest and provoking.

One point requires a world of explanation from me to you. My impression is that I twice had some conversation with you respecting naval occupations (resulting from army occupations) in the Sounds. Some of the views you now write you expressed to me at New Berne. I expressed my views fully to Townsend and I think to Davenport and Flusser. This Townsend recollects, and says Davenport thinks he recollects some conversation between you and myself about it. It may be that I said less to you than to others after hearing your views, for then as now I was impressed by what you said.

If the occupation of Washington and Plymouth would facilitate instead of clogging your operations, of which you are the best judge, you are right to hold them. But I should like to have the military occupation made as complete as possible so as to lessen or dispense with the stationary naval force at each point.

I meant to add to my official letter to you that I hope you will be at liberty with the Dirigo to have the obstructions in the river at Washington removed. Such impediments should be removed everywhere. The army is less hampered by limits than the navy I believe, especially in war.

I was sorry to hear you were not quite well. Hope your ailment was slight. Please present my most respectfully compliments to Mrs. Foster, and believe me, very truly, yours,

S. P. LEE.

P. S.-General Halleck cannot give you the troops for that island. I am very sorry it is so.

I have been obliged to write in great haste to save this good chance for Beaufort. We place no dependence in the canal mail now.


May 4, 1863-10.30 a. m.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,


A few hours after the fight yesterday the enemy commenced his retreat. We are in pursuit. He was re-enforced on Saturday by Benning's brigade from North Carolina and Kemper's is on the way, having crossed the Chowan near Gatesville. I shall make the movement agreed upon with you at once. Longstreet has over 30,000 men.