railroad, on Saturday morning, and marched for Young's Cross-Roads, a point 25 miles distant (about), and on the direct road from Pollocksville to Wilmington, and distant 8 miles from the former place. On arriving at a creek just between them and the Cross-Roads the bridge was found taken up and the enemy showed themselves by firing a volley from the other side, which wounded 3 of our men, 1 mortally. The fire was replied too and one piece of artillery brought up and opened fire on them with canister, and when they retreated they were followed up by shell. The people in the neighborhood represent that they carried off two wagon loads of killed and wounded. The bridge was then rebuilt and the command bivouacked there for the night, and the next morning started for New Berne, via Pollocksville, reaching here without opposition.
The fourth detachment consisted of two companies Twenty-seventh Massachusetts, 10 cavalry, and 20 Third New York Artillery, with muskets, under command of Captain Sanford, of Twenty-seventh. Started Sunday a. m. up the railroad to break up the picket headquarters on the Neuse road. They moved up with great expedition for about 5 miles from Batchelder's Creek, our picket limits on that road, and then branched off toward the Neuse road, off of which was the headquarters. They drove in the vedettes and moved on with such speed as prevented the alarm being given. They reached the house and partially surrounded it, announcing their presence by a volley, wounding 3 and killing 1, and succeeded in capturing 10 soldiers of the Second North Carolina Cavalry and about 20 horses. The party then returned, having destroyed the house, to New Berne in safety.
By the foregoing we have learned much of the topography of the surrounding country and ascertained somewhat the force and position of the enemy. They have a very small force this side of Kinston. Only some two companies of cavalry and perhaps three companies of militia-guerrilla band or roving rangers, as they are called. At Kinston there is about one small brigade, supported by a larger force with artillery at Blackwater, some 8 miles beyond Kinston, on the road to Goldsborough. The Wilmington road is picketed by about 500 men.
Captain E. E. Potter, of may staff, acting colonel of the First North Carolina Union Volunteers, started from Washington, his headquarters, with a company of Third New York Cavalry, and rode across to Plymouth, a distance of 36 miles, meeting with no opposition, and hearing of no rebel force this side of Jamesville, at which place he estimates the force at some 400 or 500 men, more for defense than offense. At Halifax there are several regiments, probably two or three.
Colonel William A. Howard, of the Marine Artillery, in command of the post of Roanoke Island, has succeeded in destroying the salt-works on Currituck and so breaking up that source of supply. I shall hope soon to advise the breaking up two others on the peninsula, about 20 miles above Roanoke Island. Colonel Howard is now endeavoring to break up some of the trade with Richmond, carried on by way of the Perquimans and Chowan Rivers. This trade is represented as being carried on to a considerable extent, and, if so, a blow struck in that way might be severely felt.
I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,
J. G. FOSTER,
Brigadier-General, U. S. Army, Commanding Department.