order annexing the District of North Carolina to the Department of the South, and directing me to furnish you certain information concerning the command in North Carolina.
In a communication to Rear-Admiral Porter, and in a private letter written to you on the 13th instant, both of which you have doubtless ere this received, I gave you in general terms the information called for in the letter of General Townsend. I shall, however, inclose herewith reports from my own headquarters, together with those in detail from the sub-districts and stations under my command up to the 10th instant. I believe they explain themselves. Since that date no material changes have taken place. I shall also inclose a report of the ordnance and ordnance stores on hand in the arsenal here, together with a statement of the armament of the various works in this command, since the date of which no particular changes have taken place. I will also state that we keep constantly on hand at least ninety day's rations for all the troops in the district.
For fear that you may not have received the communication already referred to as having been sent you by Admiral Porter, I will state:
1. The railroad. -This is in tolerable running order from Morehead City to Batchelder's Creek, which is our extreme outpost on the railroad toward Kinston, and with Little trouble I can place it in order as far as Core Creek, ten miles farther. From Core Creek to Kinston, a distance of about eighteen miles, the road had been in a great measure destroyed, but, as the grade is still preserved, it could be easily relaid. I have, however, no iron here to do this. There are now on the road four engines, two passenger cars, about ten each of box-cars and crates, and twenty platform-cars in order, and twenty which can be repaired.
2. Water transportation. -This consists of eight small steamers, fit only for the rivers and sounds, and two tugs. None of these are in very good order, and barely sufficient to transact business about the sounds.
3. Outposts. -These extend in a line toward Kinston, from the Trent to the Neuse River, a distance of about twelve miles; all the points of this line being about eight miles from New Berne.
The number of troops at the different stations, as shown by the returns inclosed, are barely sufficient to hold them. All the troops that could possible be spared from this district were sent to Virginia early in the spring of 1864. I have, however, been able from time to time to send off various expeditions into the interior, which I flatter myself had the effect to hold no inconsiderable force of the enemy in this State, and away from other scenes of active operations.
4. Fortifications. -The different fortifications and field-works are in good condition, well armed and supplied, but weakly garrisoned.
In General Townsend's letter he informs me that you direct that the crossing of the Neuse at Kinston be at once secured. With regard to this, I would state that the Neuse River can be forded at one or more points a few miles above and below Kinston at the ordinary stage of the river. To secure the railroad crossing of the Neuse River at Kinston it will be necessary to capture and hold securely that place. Two of my scouts have this morning returned from near Kinston, and I am satisfied from the information I have obtained from them that there is only a small force, not to exceed two or three regiments, with from twelve to sixteen pieces of light Artillery, in and about Kinston. But the bridge on the south and east side of the Neuse is defended by field works with some heavy guns. Now, while I think it possible, with the force which I can collect, to capture Kinston, it is very doubtful whether