Ocracoke report that there are forty-two steamers and three sail vessels at Hatteras. One who saw them reports to me: "These vessels have been arriving for ten or twelve days; many of them arrived last Saturday." The facts as stated are undoubtedly true, but of course we cannot learn anything as to the destination of the fleet. There are none inside the swash. Some of the boats of the Navy should be there to watch their movements. I shall give you the earliest information that reaches me of any new movement.
Yours, very respectfully,
L. O'B. BRANCH,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
Goldsborough, January 19, 1862.
Brigadier General L. O'B. BRANCH,
Commanding, &c., New Berne, N. C.:
GENERAL: I am in receipt of your note of this date. If the information given you from Ocracoke be true, Burnside's expedition is much larger than we had formerly believed. As the majority of the forty-two steamers arrived on Saturday, the thirty-five that sailed from Norfolk the next day will bring the number up to seventy-seven, and yesterday nine transports sailed from Fortress Monroe. I do not wish to discredit the information; there is probably some mistake as to the character of the vessels. It will be necessary to keep up a vigilant watch all along the coast. No news from other quarters.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. C. GATLIN,
ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 16.
Richmond, January 20, 1862.
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XXII. Major A. B. Magruder, assistant commissary, Provisional Army, will proceed without delay to Yorktown, Va., and report for duty to Major General J. B. Magruder, commanding, as chief commissary, army of the Peninsula.
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By command of the Secretary of War:
RICHMOND, January 20, 1862.
General B. HUGER,
General R. C. Gatlin telegraphs twenty-four small steamers and sixteen sailing vessels inside and seven large steamers outside the bar at Hatteras.
Adjutant and Inspector-General.