War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0336 OPERATION IN NORTH CAROLINA. Chapter XX.

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Numbers 2. Report of Lieutenant Colonel J. Eugene Duryee, Second Maryland Infantry.


Near New Berne, N. C., May 18, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report:

On Wednesday, the 14th, about noon, I received from Lieutenant Morris Brigadier-General Reno's order to move my regiment at 5 o'clock that afternoon, with two days' rations. In obedience to his directions I at once reported to Brigadier-General Foster and Colonel Amory for instructions. I was ordered by them to march at 5 o'clock in the afternoon to occupy Pollocksville, the bridge across the Trent, and Young's Cross-Roads, 5 miles from Pollocksville, and hold these points until I received further orders from Colonel Amory. Between 4 and 5 o'clock I started with the regiment in the midst of a violent thunder-storm, which turned into a steady rain, making the roads almost impassable.

I reached Haughton's Mill about 5 o'clock on Thursday morning [15th], when for the first time we encountered the pickets of the enemy. When fired upon by two of the advance guard they galloped away at full speed, part in the direction of Pollocksville and part toward Young's Cross-Roads. Immediately after rapid was heard in the woods in the direction of Young's Cross-Road, probably to give notice of our arrival. I immediately sent three companies (D, F, and K), under the command of Captain M. Wilson, to Young's Cross-Roads, and with the rest of the regiment marched to Pollocksville. I found the bridge across the Trent had been burned, but nevertheless stationed sentinels there. During the remainder of the day (Thursday) everything remained quiet at Pollocksville, but at Young's Cross-Roads, where I had stationed Captain Wilson, with three companies, a body of cavalry made their appearance about 1 p. m. They approached by the road leading from Onslow Court-House. When within about 200 yards our men fired upon them. One officer ws badly wounded, but this comrades managed to keep him in his saddle and escaped with him. The citizens in the neighborhood say that the same of the officer was Colonel William Cotton, and that he was dangerously wounded. About 11 o'clock that night the enemy began to annoy our pickets, driving them in twice, and during the remainder of the night Captain Wilson kept his whole command under arms. Lieutenant Fleckenstein, of Company K, made a reconnaissance for about 2 miles our lines and returned in three hours, having ascertained that the enemy had retreated over White Oak River Bridge, on the road leading to Onslow Court-House.

About 2 o'clock next morning the report of a musket was heard near my headquarters at Pollocksville. The long roll was sounded and the regiment immediately turned out under arms. From the statements of the prisoners whom we captured on Friday afternoon I am satisfied that the enemy was moving forward to surprise us under cover of the darkness, but on hearing the roll beat, and perceiving the promptness with which the regiment turned out, they concluded to defer the attack until the next day.

About 12 o'clock on Friday [16th] our pickets were driven in and there was quite a smart skirmish at two of our outposts. Two or three of the enemy were killed, a number wounded, and two prisoners were captured. I was every moment excepting an attack in force, which I had made every preparation to receive. From the circumstances I supposed that the enemy were in full retreat from Colonel Amory's