War of the Rebellion: Serial 045 Page 0512 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

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Reports at Westminster represent Longstreet killed; Sickles' leg amputated. I brought down the advance of the wounded.


Brigadier-General, in Charge of U. S. Military Railroads.

U. S. S. SACRAMENTO, Off Beaufort, N. C., July 3, 1863.

Major-General FOSTER:

SIR: I have just arrived from the blockade off Wilmington. The long-expected iron-clad has at last made her appearance, and was, at the time of my leaving, lying in the river, just above Fort Caswell, in company with a large gunboat; steam up, and apparently ready for sea. The blockading vessels cannot stop them.

I see nothing to prevent their carrying out their threat of entering Beaufort Harbor. Did I command so formidable a vessel as she appears to be, I would not hesitate to undertake the capture or destruction of every vessel in the harbor. To my nautical eye, I see nothing about Fort Macon (all barbette guns) to prevent.

One of the Monitor iron-clads, could you have one sent down, would be the most certain prevention.

I am anxious to forward to Hampton Roads an account of the advent of this vessel. Is it in your power to assist me, by placing a quartermaster's steamer at my disposal, so that I can send Lieutenant-Commander [Walter W.] Queen as bearer of dispatches? Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, U. S. Navy.

U. S. S. HETZEL, Off New Berne, N. C., July 3, 1863.

Major General J. G. FOSTER,

Comdg. 18th A. C., Dept. of N. C., New Berne, N. C.:

GENERAL: I am very much gratified that you acknowledge the justice of my disposition to protect the official dignity of my command in these waters, as regards official correspondence relative to the movements of the naval force.

Officially, I am in ignorance as to any military movements on foot requiring my co-operation, and I could not, of course, previous to your explanation, just received, understand why what I regarded as the proper official course should be departed from. That explanation I regard as in every way satisfactory, and only regret that the assistant adjutant-general did not let it accompany his letter to me.

I am surprised to learn that the gunboats were lying "idly" in the harbor. I suppose they were lying here for a purpose, and that purpose in co-operation with the army-the defense of New Berne.

If they are not needed for that purpose, there is ample work for them to do elsewhere. Believing this to be a responsible duty, you will see, general, that when I am asked to diminish and weaken my force, I have some right to know the purpose and circumstances under which such a request is made, unless I am regarded as merely an irresponsible subordinate.