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[125] effective, and I take great pleasure in acknowledging the gallant services of their officers and crews. The army gunboats, Smith Briggs. and West End, commanded by Captain Lee and Lieutenant Rowe, proved invaluable. The Smith Briggs was for many days the only boat above the West Branch, in consequence of the order of Admiral Lee.

My personal staff have all earned a place in this record by their zeal, fidelity, and unremitting labors, day and night, increased by injuries which I sustained from the fall of my horse. Their claims to promotion were established long before the siege of Suffolk: Major Benjamin B. Foster, A. A. G.; Captain George S. Dodge, Quartermaster; Lieutenants Charles R. Stirling and James D. Outwater, Aides-de-Camp; Lieutenant A. B. Johnson, Ordnance Officer, and Lieutenant J. D. Mahon, Judge Advocate.

Doubtless many names have been omitted, but discrimination is impossible where all have done so well.

For the conclusion is reserved the agreeable duty of testifying to the cordial and efficient support I have ever received from Major-General Dix. No request or suggestion has ever escaped his attention, and most of my requirements have been anticipated by his liberal and comprehensive policy.

Very respectfully

Your obedient servant,

John J. Peck, Major-General.


headquarters Army and District of North Carolina, Newbern, N. C., December 25, 1863.
Brigadier-General L. Thomas, Adjutant-General United States Army:
General: I have the honor to make the following supplementary report, as a part of my report of operations during the siege of Suffolk, in April and May last:

The name of Colonel J. R. McMahon, One Hundred and Sixty-fourth New York, should have been in the paragraph commencing with “Colonel Murphy, commanding brigade.”

My right flank rested upon the upper Nansemond for some eight miles, a narrow, shallow, and tortuous stream, offering great facilities to an enterprising enemy for crossing and cutting the communication with Norfolk. Including this, the whole line extending to the Dismal Swamp was from twelve to fifteen miles in length; besides, a force in observation was requisite at South Mills, thirty miles distant--the key of the southern approaches to the Swamp. In view of these and other objections, I advised the withdrawal of the troops to a reduced short line near Portsmouth after the reduction of the rebel and Union fortifications.

The advance of Pettigrew towards Newbern, and of Hill upon Little Washington, were only feints (our casualties being less than a dozen at both places), made by order of Longstreet some days before the date fixed for his own advance upon Suffolk, for the purpose of inducing the authorities in North Carolina to call on Virginia for reinforcements. As designed, ten thousand men were asked for North Carolina, of which I was contributing three thousand on the tenth. The information reached Longstreet at Franklin, and he crossed the Blackwater last night.

Major-General Hooker kindly telegraphed that he had advices that General Hill would join Longstreet. The time when the North Carolina troops arrived is material; Major Stratton, of the cavalry, reported the fact on the twentieth, and I did the same on the twenty-fifth; some of them being captured. Major Stratton was correct, for Major-General Foster advised that the enemy retired from Little Washington on the evening of the fifteenth, and that the deserters said the cause was that they were, ordered to “reinforce the army in Virginia.”

May fourth.--While in full pursuit of the columns of Longstreet and Hill towards the Blackwater, an order was received to despatch General Gordon with a large force to West Point. Ten thousand additional were also ordered to be held in readiness to be moved at a moment's notice, leaving but the ordinary small garrison intact at Suffolk, and, of course, ending offensive operations.

On the fourth of May prisoners were taken representing forty odd regiments and independent commands, which gives some idea of the organization and masses of the enemy.

The many miles of earthworks thrown up by the rebels were constructed by the troops. Lest the contrabands should come into my lines, the bulk of them were left on the other side of the Blackwater.

It is proper to remark, that the forces under my command, from September to April, 1863, were rated by the public at twice and even thrice the actual numbers.

I am, very respectfully

Your obedient servant,

John J. Peck, Major-General.

headquarters Eighteenth Army corps, Newbery, April 17, 1863.
Major-General H. W. Halleck, General-in-Chief, Washington, D. C.:
Being about to start with a relieving force to raise the siege of Washington, North Carolina, I learned that the enemy had evacuated the batteries in front of Washington; and deserters say that the cause was that they were ordered to reinforce the army in Virginia.

I shall march myself, with my force, in pursuit, and endeavor to overtake the enemy.

I have the honor to be,

Very respectfully

Your obedient servant,

J. G. Foster, Major-General, commanding.

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