JULY 28, 1862.- Expedition from Batchelder's Creek, on Neuse Road, N. C.
Report of Captain Charles D. Sanford, Twelfth Massachusetts Infantry.
--- -, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to report that, having received order from General Foster to make a reconnaissance on the Neuse road and if possible break up a company of guerrillas stationed, there, I left Batchelder's Creek with the following force at 2.45 a. m. July 28:
Company H, Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Infantry........... 44
Company D, Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Infantry........... 38
Company G, Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Infantry........... 2
Company C, Third New York Artillery........................ 11
Company G, Third New York Cavalry.......................... 10
Reaching the Neuse road and passing through Jumping Run Swamp (a small brook running through a dense swamp and crossed by a small log bridge), supposed to be a guerrilla rendezvous, we reached the house of White, when we were met by the outer guard of the enemy, who attempted to fire, but missed, and immediately ran into the woods. A mile farther and we reached Keith's, at the forks of two roads, where some 15 or 20 were charged on, but escaped through the corn fields. The house was searched and a few cartridges only found. The roads were carefully watched meanwhile by infantry and cavalry in every direction. Ascertaining from the residents that French's, a notorious rebel nest, was only a mile and a half farther on, I immediately moved forward and came on the house very suddenly, it being almost entirely concealed by trees. Sending Company D to the right and the cavalry forward, we nearly surrounded the house. We expected to meet the entire rebel force in that section there, and I therefore ordered a charge and a fire while charging (before Company D came within range of our guns on the right), considering it the shortest manner of ending the affair. The whole was well executed and promptly by the men. They fired a volley through he windows and yard, the volley being the first intimation the rebels had of our presence. They ran quickly, but only 4 escaped, 1 of them wounded in the leg. The prisoners were brought in from the swamp and placed under guard and the house searched. Nothing was found of any value but a few sabers, the rifles and pistols being mostly worthless and condemned. Some 20 good horses were captured, only 4 escaping. The wounded of the enemy were placed in a wagon and sent under charge of the cavalry to the railroad. Everything having been cleared out of the house, it, together with most of the outbuildings, were fired, and were burning finely when we left.
We took 10 prisoners, 1 dead man being intentionally left behind unburied, and 1 dying (Corp. Grier Black, of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina) on the return home. One with his arms shattered was immediately sent to the hospital; the remainder, by General Foster's order, being sent to the provost-marshal. The prisoners belonged to Company G, Second Carolina Cavalry, and had been at French's some three weeks.
We reached Batchelder's Creek at 9.15 a. m., having been absent six hours and a half. When we surprised the enemy at French's the sun had but just risen.
No wounds or injuries were received by any of our men.