of our forces. You will perceive that they have with their negro troops hung one of our soldiers and manacled ladies, and have taken them off in irons. They have run riot over all the country east of the Perquimans River, behind which they fell, burning the bridges upon the first approach of a squadron of our cavalry. My orders were to spare no one. But unfortunately our foe is too wary. They, like the Indians, only was on the defenseless. You will see likewise that they are going to play the same game in Suffolk that they did in Norfolk--make all take the oath of allegiance to the Federal Government or confiscate their property. I really do not know what advice to give in answer to the question they ask me. With my force it is impossible to protect such distant points. Still it makes my blood boil to think of these enormities being practiced, and we have no way of arresting them.
Eight thousand men are reported as at Washington. This I doubt. Probably they intend making a similar trip from Washington in the adjoining county to the Elizabeth City one.
I inclose also report of General Barton about the capture of some of our cavalry. A few days before, the enemy attacked our pickets near Free Bridge and were repulsed, leaving 5 killed on the field and 2 horses.
I will give orders to the cavalry now at or near Franklin to make an expedition to Suffolk and the vicinity. We of course cannot hold the place, but might possibly do the enemy some damage.
What answer had I better give the Suffolk people? I understand that the citizens of Norfolk have mostly taken the oath asked for by Butler. I communicated with General Butler in reference to Major Borroughs, but have as yet received no reply.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. E. PICKETT,
It is impossible for the Department to answer the question propounded by General Pickett in respect to the deputation of ladies from Suffolk further than to state that taking the compulsory oath exacted of them by an infuriated [foe], for their safety, &c., should not, under the pressing necessities of the case represented by them, be considered as an indication of their want of fidelity to the Southern cause. General Pickett, in all other respects, appears to have taken the necessary measures, to the extent of his means, to check the outrages complained of.
S. C. [COOPER.]
[Inclosure Numbers 1.]
Greenville, N. C., December 17, 1863.
Captain J. D. DARDEN,
CAPTAIN: It is my painful duty to announce the capture of about 35 men of Captain J. W. Moore's company (H), of my command. A battalion of Yankee infantry crossed a foot ford which had been blockaded, avoiding my pickets, and making their way to and sur-