Spear and his crack regiment a very rough handling a few days since, of which you have heard by General French. They carried off four 4-horse ambulances filled with wounded, their legs hanging out in front and rear, and their caisson-boxes were also crowded with wounded and a number also on horseback. They acknowledged at the time a loss of 70. I would like your judgment of the two following plans which I have matured and concluded too try in a few days: First, to move out at night and place a regiment of infantry in ambush between Carrsville and Suffolk and a regiment in ambush where the South Quay road intersects the other road from Carrsville to Suffolk, and move out with artillery and infantry (some three or four regiments) to Councils Cross-Roads, to support, if necessary, and try and annihilate Spear's regiment; then follow this with a dash of Baker's regiment of cavalry upon the enemy's cavalry camp on the Windsor road (some 4 or 5 miles this side of Suffolk), moving out on the Windsor road with all the forces I can spare from the exposed points on the line and taking a strong position beyond Windsor, give them battle if they will come out with their forces. I am anxious to have the other companies of Baker's regiment here and hope you will not replace his regiment by another, as he is a fine officer, and with his absent companies I think I could, after breaking up Spear with infantry, keep the enemy close in Suffolk.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, & c.
HEADQUARTERS, March 24, 1863.
Major General D. H. HILL,
Commanding, & c., Goldsborough, N. C.:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 23rd* and General Garnett's of the 22nd,* through you, are received. I believe that I understand the positions of your troops. I suppose General Kemper, with one regiment of General Daniel's brigade and one of Ransom's, to be at and near Kinston; Daniel's brigade, less one regiment, at Blount Hall, in readiness to threaten New Berne or support you; Garnett and Pettigrew to operate against Washington if practicable; if not, to draw off supplies for our entire army. I did telegraph to stop the movement of Ransom's brigade and substitute that of Kemper's, but I afterward suggested that it would be well to have Ransom's at Goldsborough, in addition to the others, that you might, if you had occasion to do so, threaten New Berne while operating against Washington. Ransom is not necessary at Wilmington and might greatly aid you in your operations by strengthening your force at Goldsborough so as to enable you to seriously threaten New Berne in case that garrison should be disposed to succor the one at Washington. General Whiting has been ordered to send Ransom to you should you call for him for this purpose. He has acknowledged the receipt of the order, and you can have Ransom's brigade at Goldsborough if you will telegraph for it.
General Garnett's transportation has been ordered to him and ought to be at Tarborough now unless it has been detained by high water, & c. Great results depend more or less upon the rapidity of your movements. I am likely to be called upon for Garnett's and Kemper's bri
* Not found.