WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, October 12, 1863-3. 35 p. m.
On the 5th, Brigadier-General Kelley was ordered to relieve General Lockwood from command of Harper's Ferry, and to send him, with a Maryland regiment, to report to the commanding general of the Middle Department.
H. W. HALLECK,
HDQRS. ARMY OF DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA, New Berne, N. C., October 12,, 1863-7 p. m.
JOHN G. FOSTER:
MY DEAR GENERAL: Yours of the 9th and 10th have just reached me, and I have been looking over the ground very closely. You need all the regiments named, and more, but the active force is very small in North Carolina from sickness and other causes. The regiments named in the order, Ninth New Jersey, Twenty-third and Twenty-seventh Massachusetts, Eighty-first New York, and Ninety-eighth New York number about 2,700, and with Heckman are the flower of the command. General Palmer is absent, leaving only General Wessells, who, by the way, reports sickness on teh increase in his district. The One hundred and fifty-eighth New York, Colonel Jourdan tells me, has a great deal of sickness, and he thinks he cannot get out much over 200 for drills, &c. I have ordered him to relieve General Heckman and take his regiment to Morehead for sea air.
In view of the length of the line and other considerations, I do not think any more regiments should be drawn from North Carolina at this time. The instruction of the Twelfth New York is being pushed as rapidly as possible, but I fear it will be some time before they will render much service. Colonel Mix is at Elizabeth City with 350 men, as I advised, for the purpose of breaking up Colonel James W. Hinton's arrangements for raising a regiment, and had I anticipated your operations, I would not have sent him. However, I think he will be back before the regiments all reach you. At all events, I will write the colonel to shorten his time somewhat.
On the 9th, I mounted my horse for teh first time since April, when my horse was thrown down upon me with great violence while forming line of battle. The experiment was not as satisfactory as I wish, but I hope in time to recover from the blow near teh spine.
I shall be glad, to run up to Plymouth with you, meeting at the outlet of teh canal, or here, as you also suggest. It seems to me that you can fix the day, time, and place better than I can, and therefore I leave it to you, with the request that you will give me timely notice. I shall be glad to see you here.
I am, very truly,
JOHN J. PECK,
P. S. -The south part of North Carolina has been made into a new department, under General Whiting. More than the ordinary force is reported under his orders, as an attack is looked for in that quarter.