RICHMOND, VA., March 9, 1863.
Lieutenant General JAMES LONGSTREET, Petersburg, Va.:
GENERAL: It is highly important to know the strength, organization, and position of the forces under your command, and you are desired to give this information with the least delay practicable, extending your report so as to embrace the forces on the line of North Carolina, Wilmington included.
Very respectfully, & c,
Adjutant and Inspector General.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,
Petersburg, Va., March 9, 1863.
General S. G. FRENCH, Commanding, & c.:
GENERAL: I am instructed by the commanding-general to direct that your order one of the regiments of cavalry now serving on the Blackwater down to Greenville, N. C., to operate with a brigade of infantry to be sent to Tarborough in covering and protecting foraging expeditions. The regiment should start with at least three days' rations, and on its reaching Greenville the commander will notify General Hill, at Goldsborough, by telegraph, of the arrival of his command. The commanding general desires it to move with promptness and dispatch.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. MOXLEY SORREL,
Kinston, N. C., March 9, 1863.
Major General D. H. HILL,
Commanding at Goldsborough, N. C.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose communications* from Captain Whitford. Major Nethercutt desires me to say that he ascertained that the works at Shepherdsville or Newport can be turned on the left, through a bad road of swamp land for 4 or 5 miles; on the right, cannot be turned except by going around by Carolina City and crossing Newport River at railroad bridge. The enemy have pickets there and there is a block-house. Persons traveling the Sound road can be seen from the Sound in passing from Swansborough to Carolina City. The Sound road comes into the road that leads from Smith's Mill to Carolina City immediately above Broad Creek; Fifty-first Massachusetts Regiment and five companies of cavalry are on duty at Shepherdsville.
William F. Bell, called the 3rd (now at Warsaw, a refugee), can give you more reliable information of that country than any one else. The latest information of the enemy I forwarded you by telegraph. The negro alluded to in one of the telegrams is here a prisoner. He is intelligent, and his story as to their numbers is corroborated by the rumors Majors Nethercutt and McNeill had from citizens. There is no enemy,
* Not found.