SWIFT CREEK, May 9, 1863.
GEN'L: To-day when your courier came with your dispatch to me I was off trying to get information from the enemy. My scouts on Tar River report seven or eight steamers went down Tar River on the nights of the 7th and 8th instant. Those steamers are not at New Berne, or was not yesterday evening; they had no passed up Nuse River. The Yankees at Mrs. Grice's place, this side Washington, told the citizens at Cross-Roads yesterday that Yankee General Palmer's brigade and Yankee General Naglee's brigade has gone to re-enforce Hooker. They said Spinola was yet in Washington with his brigade. The person in their lines under no pretence; they turn all back from this side Nuse River. My two men that was crossing Nuse or and from is both sick. I understand persons from south side Nuse River can go in town and return. I don't know whether they can or not. if some citizens that could be relied upon, that lives below Pollocksville, in Jones County, [would go,] that is the best way now, as they will not allow any person from the north side to go in town. If they would I would soon know what Foster is up to. I don't know the people on the other side Nuse, or I would go in Jones County and get up a line of communication soon. I think Major Nethercutt could get some person to go in, as he knows every man in Jones County. I have scouts in every direction below here to find out there movements all I can. I think a demonstration in front of New Berne would stop Foster from sending off his troops to Hooker. I am glad to hear of Hooker's defeat. I will get that to the Yankees soon. They know in Washington and New Berne that Hooker is whiped.
Yours, very respectfully, and obedient servant,
JOHN N. WHITFORD,
Major, Commanding Outpost, Swift Creek.
SWIFT CREEK, May 8, 1863.
[Major General D. H. HILL:]
DEAR GENERAL: Rumors informs us at this place that thirty families have been sent up on the railroad from New Berne in the direction of Kinston three days ago; other rumors say that the Yankees have not decided whether to send them to Street's Ferry or to Core Creek. I am now waiting to hear from my letter to Foster; and should they send them out, and I down here, do me the favor to have my wife informed that I have engaged quarters for her and our effects with Mrs. Virginia Dudley, in Kinston. I should also take it as a great favor to be informed by the first courier if my family should be sent in that direction.
Several persons have tried to get to New Berne from this place, and all have failed except one lady that crossed the river and wend down on the railroad. She came up Wednesday, and says they were all packed up to start, but were afraid (the Yankees) that the train or boat would be captured by our forces, as there was no flag of truce, &c.
I know of no better way than to stay here until they move in the matter, as there is no telling what they will do. They have paroled a prisoner and sent him out, who states that they are sending great quantities of negroes away on transports. Others that have left New Berne and gone to Bay River tell the same tale, and all agree, too, as to their fortifying Morehead City. They let no person go to town from the north