being eleven miles. He counted ninety-three, but the others said that there were more than 100 vessels, forty of them being steamers, the balance sail vessels; the large ship or frigate still aground on the bar. There were twenty steam and sail inside the sound; that is, over the 'swash." Only one steamer seemed to have steam up, and she appeared to be pulling off a vessel which was aground. I forgot to mention that pilots were told on Tuesday that the enemy was expecting thirty more vessels. The pilot seen by Mr.---- also said that when he was taken on board the flag-ship he noticed the vessels as closely as he could, and he could see on them only two guns each, one in the bow and one in the stern. He did not, however, go on board any but the flag-ship.
* * * * * *
L. O'B. BRANCH,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Goldsborough, January 27, 1862.
Brigadier General L. O'B BRANCH,
Commanding, &c., New Berne:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this date. The state of things reported to exist at Hatteras will enable you, I think, to put everything in good order to receive the enemy should he undertake to pay you a visit. The commanders of regiments ought to be required to select dry and healthy camps for their troops, and it would be well to keep and officer constantly on duty as acting inspector-general to keep you informed of the drill, discipline, &c., of the command.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. C. GATLIN,
HEADQUARTERS FIRST CORPS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, Centreville, Va., January 29, 1862.
Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: I have this day received the War Department letter of the 26th instant ordering me to assume command of the defenses at Columbus, Ky.* I will leave here as soon as practicable via Nashville and Bowling Green.
I remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. T. BEUAREGARD,
[5 and 7.]
HEADQUARTERS FIRST CORPS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, Near Centreville, January 30, 1862.
SOLDIERS OF THE FIRST CORPS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC:
My duty calls me away and to a temporary separation from you. I hope, however, to be with you again to share your labors and your
*See VOL. V, p.1048.