forces back, and that the enemy will have to come out and give him battle before he can reach Washington, unless he succeeds in reducing the fort. He has not yet been able to make any impression upon our fort. General Hill is now ordered to endeavor to establish a like fort below New Berne to prevent this succoring force returning to New Berne. He expresses every confidence in being able to overcome the enemy should he land for the purpose of relieving Washington. If he reduces Washington and succeeds in getting a good point on the river below New Berne I hope that all of the State (North Carolina) below the Chowan will soon be relieved of the presence of the enemy. I shall not be able to cross the Blackwater before Saturday, possibly not before Sunday. If I find it practicable I shall get around the enemy's position at Suffolk and endeavor to cut off re-enforcements by batteries on the river, &c. I do not propose to do anything more than draw out the supplies from that country unless something very favorable should offer. I have ordered General Wise, with such of his force as can be spared from Richmond, to make a strong diversion on the Peninsula. If I find that I can do no more than haul off supplies I shall hurry one of my divisions (Hood's) back, so as to be within reach of you, unless the force is much stronger at Suffolk than you suppose it to be.
I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Petersburg, Va., April 7, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: Major-General Hill is now operating against Washington, N. C., with the purpose of reducing that garrison and opening thereby the counties east of that to our subsistence and quartermasters' departments. The town of Washington is completely invested, and a fort that we have constructed below that cuts off re-enforcements, but unable to get them to Washington until he can reduce our fort. He has not as yet been able to make any impression on the fort, and we hope that he may be obliged to land and give battle or give up the garrison. In the mean time General Hill is ordered to throw a force below New Berne and fortify some good position so as to prevent General Foster returning to New Berne. To make this last move secure it may be necessary for General Hill to use the brigade of General Evans, the only one left at Wilmington. I deem it proper to advise you of the condition of affairs in North Carolina that you may better judge of the propriety of ordering General Evans' brigade to Charleston. I have received no intimation from the department that any of the troops of this command would be called for to re-enforce Charleston and could not therefore be expected to be ready for such emergency. If the safety of Charleston depends upon such re-enforcements, however, we can resume defensive arrangements and spare even more than this brigade.
I remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,