Trent. Fourth. Two regiments occupy those on the north side of the Neuse. There are three methods of attacking New Berne. First, by surprise and assualt; second, by assault without surprise; third, by regular approaches. The first and last methods are impracticable at the present, for the enemy must be awazre of your intentions, and we have not sufficient time to execute the last; the second plan is, therefore, the only on which can now be carried into effect. It can, however, be made to partake more or less of a surprise, and with the assistance of the iron-clad gun-boat Albemarle, from Plymouth, the attack should meet with complete success. I regret to say that not hope need be entertained of the co-operation of the iron-clad gun-boat now aground in the Neuse near this place, for it is not probable it can be got afloat again or bemade to pass over the bars and sand banks below its present position without a considerable rise in the river, an event which is not likely to take place until next raiy season. The attack on New Berne should be so made as to capture or destroy the separate forces of theenemy before they could be concentrated. Fork that purpose the Albemarle, immediately after having sunk the two or trhee wooden gun-boats aiding in the defense of the town, should destroy the long bridge across the Trent, so as to isolate the troops now stationed on its south side: the Albemarle should then take such a position in the Neuse as to cut off from New Berne the communication of the forces on the north side of that river, and it should also co-operate with General Hoke's attack by taking in flank and rear the works and lines extending from the Neuse to the Trent, defending the direct approach to the city.
The land operations should be conducted as follows, subject to such modifications as future information may develop: First. One regiment of cavalry, supported by two regiments of infantry and one light battery, should be sent by the best and safest route to cut off about Croatan the railroad from New Berne to Morehead City and prevent re-enforcements being thrown from the latter to the former or the retreat of the garrison from New Berne to Morehead City. Second. A strong demonstration should be made in front of the enemy's advanced lines on Batchelder's Creek, about seven miles from New Berne, to hold into position the forces there stationed until the main body of General Hoke's troops shall have got to their rear about half way between the creek and the town of New Benre. The best route to be followed by General Hoke's main column seems to be the Trenton road, south of Trent River, as far as thenearest cross-road to Tar Landing or Rocky Landing, on the Trenth, where ethis river must be crossed on a pontoon bridge hastily constructed. From this point the Trent road must be reached by the shortest route and followed until coming to the Savannah road, near James' Branch or Creek. The column will then move alongthe Savannah road until reaching the Neuse road from Kinston to New Berne, where it will take up its positiion, throwing forward some cavalry and light troops to threaten New Berne and guard the roads leading out of that town. A proper force should be left to guard the crossings of James' Branch by the Trenth and Savannah roads, in order to prevent a part of the enemy's troops occupying the advanced lines from retreating into New Berne. A small force of cavalry, with a section of artillery, should be thrown toward Clermont Bridge, on the Trent, to prevent the troops from the south side of the Trent from getting into New Berne after the destruction of the long bridge by the Albemarle. Third. General Hoke will then throw forward a sufficient force from his main body