messengers to Swann's Point, who returned and reported they could find no means of crossing. This occasioned considerable delay. My forces are in front of and below the town. I deemed these the best positions to threaten the enemy and prevent his escape. My battery (four smooth bores) is from half to three-quarters of a mile from the enemy's works. I have not yet opened, because the guns are partially concealed, and the Yankees can concentrate on my artillery from ten to twelve guns of superior metal, some, if not all, rifled pieces. It is impossible to contend successfully with smooth-bores against guns intrenched and of superior range.
In accordance with your instructions to look well to my rear and strongly guard the Williamston, Jamestown, and Plymouth roads, I have placed Colonels Washington and Singeltary on these routes. This leaves me an infantry force but slightly superior to that of the enemy, as far as I can learn from careful inquiry. The Yankee works are strongly constructed, with artillery to sweep the front and enfilade the ditch extending along the whole line, 12 feet wide and from 4 to 5 fee deep. The fallen timber in advance of the line of fortification, within range of canister and grape, makes the construction of rifle-pits almost impossible. I have no evidence that the enemy has been demoralized by our presence, there having been no desertions or messages from them. I therefore infer they will make a good resistance if attacked. I will look into the practicability of using cotton bales as you suggest. I am truly anxious to forward your views, but I am satisfied that without long-range artillery to silence the enemy's batteries I cannot assail the town without great sacrifice of men, with doubtful hope of success.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. B. GARNETT,
P. S.-I have made arrangements to send you couriers by a shorter route. Please order the arrangements to be completed on your side of the river.
Ivor, Va., April 2, 1863.
Major General D. H. HILL, Commanding, &c.:
GENERAL: I think that the force recently at Newport News has gone West, except the re-enforcements left at Suffolk. From the accounts that I get the force at Suffolk varies from 18,000 to 50,000. The former estimate is probably about right, through I cannot satisfy myself that there can be more than 16,000. This is considerably more than I can put into the field. I must therefore call for the brigades of Kemper and Garnett, of General Pickett's division, and I also desire that you send to two Whitworth guns-all to Franklin. It may be necessary for your to suspend operations in North Carolina until I can send you another force. I desire particularly to haul from the counties east of the Chowan the subsistence and quartermasters' supplies there. We may not have so favorable an opportunity, and it is important that we should get the supplies from those counties. The enemy's cavalry force is more than double that which I can put into the field. I am particularly anxious to get a regiment of cavalry to put with our present force. If the cavalry has gone to Bertie I wish you would order it up to Franklin, except a regiment for Bertie and to look after gunboats. If the cavalry is still with you please make prompt arrangements with it to meet these views. I hope that you will lose no time in putting the bri-