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[545]

1st. One regiment of infantry and one of cavalry occupy the outer line of works about seven miles from Newbern, and guard the direct approaches to that town.

2d. Three regiments of infantry and several companies of heavy artillery occupy the forts and lines defending the town.

3d. Three regiments defend the works on the south side of the Trent.

4th. Two regiments occupy those on the north side of the Neuse.

There are three methods of attacking Newbern: first, by surprise and assault; second, by assault without surprise; third, by regular approaches.

The first and last methods are impracticable at present; for the enemy must be aware of your intentions, and we have not sufficient time to execute the last. The second plan is, therefore, the only one 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 ironclad gunboat Albemarle, from Plymouth, should meet with complete success. I regret to say that no hope need be entertained of the cooperation of the ironclad gunboat now aground in the Neuse, near this place; for it is not probable it can be got afloat again, or be made 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 the next rainy season.

The attack on Newbern should be so made as to capture or destroy the separate forces of the enemy before they can be concentrated; for that purpose the Albemarle, immediately after having sunken the two or three wooden gunboats aiding in the defence 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 Newbern the communications 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 approaches to the city.

The land operations should be conducted as follows, subject to such modifications as future information may develop:

1st. 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 Newbern to Morehead City, and prevent reinforcements being thrown from the latter to the former, or the retreat of the garrison from Newbern to Morehead City.

2d. A strong demonstration should be made in front of the enemy's advanced lines on Batchelor Creek, about seven miles from Newbern, to hold in position the forces there stationed until the main body of General Hoke's troops shall have got to their rear, about half-way between that creek and the town of Newbern.

The best route to be followed by General Hoke's main column seems to be the Trenton road (south of Trenton River) as far as the nearest cross-road to Tar Landing, or Rock Landing, on the Trent, where this 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


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