before Newbern, is about one thousand five hundred prisoners; but few were killed or wounded. The rebels suffered severely in killed. The figures stated in my last, are near the mark. We took a number of prisoners, but not sufficient to cover our loss in this respect. I have been unable to learn the intentions of the enemy for the past few days. It is likely that reeforcements from Longstreet will be sent to the vicinity of Newbern, and then another attempt will be made to enter that or this town. We are ready here; but what can fifteen hundred men do against four times that number? In the last extremity we may look for reenforcernents, and no sooner, from present appearances. In the mean time, however, the enemy may retreat toward Kingston or Raleigh, foraging the country as they move along. The roads are in the best order; the weather delightful; the spirits of the Union troops excellent and buoyant; they are more willing to fight at any time than to think of surrendering. You will hear from me soon again.
W. C. H.
A rebel account.
Richmond, February 6, 1864.Advices received yesterday from North-Carolina were very sanguine of the capture of Newbern, and represented that it had been completely invested by our forces. The report yesterday was that our troops had obtained possession of the outer line of fortifications. Newbern is the key to a large and productive country, in which, even now, vast amounts of provisions are contained. It is also reported to be the rendezvous of a large number of fugitive slaves, and the most important depot of supplies which the enemy has in eastern North-Carolina. We are sorry to dash the reports which were so freely circulated yesterday of a success at Newbern. There is no doubt that a despatch was received yesterday by the Government that General Pickett had found it necessary to fall back to Kinston, and was then performing that movement. Whatever may have been the result of the affair, we are left to conclude that General Pickett found the enemy's works at Newbern too strong to carry by assault, and has retired; his six brigades of infantry, with artillery and cavalry to match, have turned out to be a successful foraging expedition. The defences of Newbern are certainly of the most formidable description, and, from what we can learn, are well calculated to withstand the perils of any assault. The town is situated between two rivers, and the strip of land, not more than a mile wide, is said to be traversed by a deep ditch, twenty feet wide, with a gunboat stationed at each of its extremities.
Official despatch from General Pickett.
Newbern, with Hoke's brigade and a part of Corse's and Clingman's, and some artillery; met the enemy in force at Bachelor's Creek; killed and wounded about one hundred in all; captured thirteen officers and two hundred and eighty prisoners, fourteen negroes, two rifled pieces and caissons, three hundred stand of small-arms, four ambulances, three wagons, fifty-five animals, a quantity of clothing, camp and garrison equipage, and two flags. Commander Wood, confederate States Navy, captured and destroyed the United States gunboat Underwriter. Our loss thirty-five killed and wounded.
G. E. Pickett, Major-General Commanding.