The expedition consisted of six companies of the Ninth New jersey Volunteers, under Major Zabriskie; three companies of the Third New York Cavalry, under Captain Stearns, and one section of the Rocket Battalion, under Lieutenant Graham. We started from this point on Saturday, the 26th instant, at 4 a. m., and after building two bridges proceeded as far as Davis' Mill, 26 miles distant, where we bivouacked for the night.
At daylight on Sunday, 27th, we started for the Cross-Roads, where we arrived at 10 a. m. At 1 p. m. I started one company of cavalry toward Trenton for the purpose of communicating with the expedition from New Berne. With one company of cavalry I started on a reconnaissance toward Onslow. We had proceeded about 1 1/4 miles when we came a sharp curve in the road. As soon as the advance had made the turn a volley of musketry was poured into us from the opposite side of the creek, the bridge over which had been destroyed. I immediately ordered a halt, and those of the cavalry who were armed with rifles to dismount and deploy as skirmishers, and sent back for re-enforcements. The re-enforcements arriving promptly, I deployed them as skirmishers, and a brisk fire was opened upon the enemy. I also had a piece of artillery placed in position, and opened on them with grape and canister. Under cover of our fire I had the bridge rebuilt and crossed after them, but they had been completely routed, leaving behind several sabers, shot-guns, &c., taking with them, however, all their killed and wounded, the exact number of which I could not ascertain. Our loss was 6 wounded, 1 seriously. The rebels numbered about 300, under Captains Ward, Humphreys, and Perkins. I brought in 3 prisoners, 2 of whom belonged to rebel cavalry and were home on furlough.
My orders being to proceed to Young's Cross-Roads and if possible communicate with the expedition from New Berne, on Monday, 28th, I started, with one company of cavalry for Pollocksville, where I found the expedition had been, and left on Sunday afternoon. The distance being less from the Cross-Roads to New Berne than to New port, and the roads I had passed over being almost impassable, I concluded to go on to New Berne and obtain transportation from these to Newport. We left the Cross-Roads on Monday at 3 p. m., at night bivouacked at the Seminary, near Pollocksville. Tuesday morning at daylight we started, and arrived at New Berne at noon and at Newport the same evening.
I am deeply indebted to Captain Stearns, of the cavalry, and Lieutenant Graham, of the artillery, for valuable services rendered, and the prompt and energetic manner with which they executed every order. The officers and men of the infantry performed their duties nobly, and where all did their duty it is impossible to particularize.
I regret the necessity of reporting the burning of Mr. Foy's property, B miles from the Cross-Roads. The column had passed the house, when I perceived smoke ascending in that direction. I returned and found the house in flames. I have been unable to find out the cause of the fire or by whom it was done.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. A. HECKMAN,
Commanding Second Brigade, First Division, Department of North Carolina.