HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF BEAUFORT,
New Berne, March 2, 1865.
Major J. A. CAMPBELL,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of North Carolina:
SIR: I arrived here in the night of February 28. Yesterday I divided the troops of this district (exclusive of General Ruger's) into two divisions, assigning part of the old troops and part of Meagher's to each. I have ordered away from the different posts and garrisons all that can be spared, and attached them to the moving column. There were a little over 3,000 of Meagher's men here. Palmer's and Carter's divisions will number not quite 4,000 each. If more can properly be drawn from the garrisons, I shall do so. The brigade of Ruger, which was at Fort Anderson, is now arriving at Morehead City. It was delayed by the same storm which kept me two days at Fort Fisher. I ordered yesterday part of Palmer's command up to Core Creek crossing, twenty miles from here, and to-day the remainder of his and Carter's divisions go up, Ruger's following at once. Colonel Wright has six miles of iron here, but expects more very soon. They intend changing the gange of the railroad, as they cannot get rolling stock to fit the present width of road. I shall keep as far ahead of them as we can supply ourselves, but we shall not be able to get above fifty wagons from the quartermaster's department for all purposes. My headquarters will be at Core Creek to-morrow, and if the railroad repairs progress as we hope they will I shall push on to Kinston within a day or two after. The Neuse is unfordable below Goldsborough. No light-draft gun-boats are here, and we can therefore get no help from the navy. We may get a light-draft steamer from the quartermastr's department to ferry troops, but I am not yet informed whether the right kind has been found. I will report again from Core Creek. The force at Kinston is believed to remain as heretofore.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. D. COX,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
ARMY OF THE OHIO,
Wilmington, N. C., March 2, 1865.
Major General J. D. COX,
Commanding District of Beaufort:
GENERAL: I have heard nothing yet from General Sherman except the reports brought by our paroled prisoners, who say he was near Charlotte on the 24th. I have sent a gun-boat up the river toward Fayetteville to see what can be learned. My impression is that he is making straight for Goldsborough, one column passing through or near Fayetteville. I am preparing as rapidly as possible to move forward from this place. I want to move the whole force now here by land if I can get wagons enough in time, and if it is not necessary to send you re-enforcements sooner than they could reach you in that way. If necessary I must send you a division or more by water, but the difficulties of water transportation are so great that I want to avoid it if possible. We ought to get Kinston at once, and Goldsborough with the least possible delay. It is, however, so easy for the enemy to concentrate troops at Goldsborough that I apprehend there may be some delay in getting that place. Get the best information you can of the