From him he learns that General Wessells is certainly in command there with two New York regiments, not exceeding 500 men each, and one battery; no cavalry. The cavalry and some other troops had left the town-supposed toward Suffolk.
The enemy is throwing up some intrenchments on a high point near Plymouth, either for the purpose of changing his camp, which is represented to be very filthy, or protecting some fisheries at the point. Colonel Towns considers this information entirely trustworthy.
I examined Fort Branch yesterday and feel satisfied, if properly garrisoned and provisioned, it can repel any attack of the enemy by land or water less than a regular siege. The supply of ammunition is good, and provisions for 1,000 men for thirty days are being placed in as rapidly as present circumstances permit. Coniho Creek, of which the general spoke to me, will be a very serious obstacle to a land attack on Fort Branch. The three roads crossing it near and below the fort are being effectually impeded. One of them has been closed entirely and the bridge destroyed. At one of the others intrenchments have been prepared and at the third are being prepared. This creek, however, is no impediment to an advance on Tarborough.
If the troops of my brigade are to be used exclusively to close Plymouth and Washington between the Tar and Roanoke, my impression is they should be moved nearer and occupy a line beginning from Jamesville or Gardner's Creek, near that town, and running toward Tranter's Creek, thence to the Tar River at or near Pactolus. On this subject I feel some hesitation in yet expressing a positive opinion.
If my brigade is to be held with a view to protect Weldon or some other point, it should not be removed beyond Hamilton or Greenville, except for picket guard.
Will you please inform me if any troops are to be stationed at Weldon and if they are to be under my command?
I shall go to-morrow to Greenville and thence to Tarborough, where I shall spend a day or two examining the quartermaster's and commissary departments.
The order substituting Colonel Griffin's cavalry regiment for Colonel Evans' has been received.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. MARTIN,
P. S.-Since writing the above the pickets have brought in 2 Yankee prisoners, who say that both General Wessells and General Hunt are in Plymouth with five regiments-the Eighty-fifth, Ninety-second, and Ninety-sixth New York, and One hundred and first and One hundred and third Pennsylvania; that the troops which left there recently went to New Berne, and they think General Wessells' brigade is going to Suffolk soon.
HANOVER JUNCTION, May 14, 1863-1 p. m.
Major-General ELZEY, Commanding, Richmond:
GENERAL: Tuesday night I sent a company of cavalry out, with instructions to go as near West Point as they could and find out what was going on there. I received a report dated 12 m. yesterday, "King William County, 4 miles outside of the enemy's pickets." From what they heard, the enemy had landed on Thursday last some 3,000 infantry,