about 1 1/2 miles beyond this. Thence upward the sills or cross-ties have been burned and the iron bent, and it will require time to reconstruct the track.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. J. CLARKE,
Colonel [Twenty-fourth North Carolina Troops], Commanding
Near Suffolk, Va., April 22, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 18th. If the enemy has abandoned the intention of reducing Charleston it would be well to have all the troops sent from North Carolina returned as soon as practicable, and indeed some of those comprising the regular garrisons. Generals Clingman's and Evens' brigades could be placed at Wilmington and General Cooke's at Goldsborough.
We were so unfortunate as to meet with a serious disaster on the 18th in losing Captain Stribling's battery, 55 of his men, and 70 of General Law's brigade. The enemy succeeded in making a complete got nearly under the fire of the battery, as though it was the intention to run the battery, then he opened fire upon our fort at our upon Hill's Point from gunboats, and land batteries as through his desire was to draw our attention from the gunboats which seemed to be trying to get by our battery. Under this fire and the seeming desire of the boat to pass the enemy landed probably 200 or 300 men in the vicinity of our fort and captured it by complete surprise. I have not made any report of the facts before this because I had hoped to have General however that I have thought it proper to mention this much that you may be apprised of the facts so far as they have come to light. As week as I can judge at present the misfortune is due to the entire want of vigilance on the troops in the fort. The fort is on the Nansemond, just above the mouth of Western Branch. The 70 infantrymen were, I understand, sharpshooters selected for the service. A regiment (about 700 strong) had been stationed by General French in supporting distance of the battery, but no call was made upon it for aid. One of our scouts just from Monroe reports the enemy re-enforcing effect a surprise by landing the Army of the Potomac o both sides of the James above us. His late successful dash at our battery and the limited time for which he holds many of his soldiers may induce him to attempt some extraordinary movements. Please keep me advised of any important information that you may receive.
I remain, with great respect, your most obedient servant,
Since writing this letter I have received dispatches from Generals Hill and Whiting reporting the arrival at Beaufort, N. C., of the enemy's forces and fleet from Charleston. I hope that General Beauregard may be ordered to re-enforce General Hill sufficiently to enable him to resist