Partisan Rangers, operate with the cavalry near Deep Gully and across the Trent River, in Jones County.
On account of retiring 6 miles from Kinston I desire to strengthen my cavalry pickets by a regiment of infantry and a battery of artillery to support it, should there be any necessity for it. There is also another reason: There is a large amount of grain and meat in that section of the country which I want to secure. As soon as the three additional companies of cavalry are sent there instructions will be given them to collect all the grain and provisions possible and send them to a safe place to the rear, from which point I expect to haul it to Kinston.
The most reliable information that can be received of the enemy's forces at New Berne estimates it form 8,000 to 10,000. The balance of General Burnside's forces are with General McClellan in Virginia. Should the enemy take Richmond or withdraw from the Peninsula, Burnside's forces will doubtless return to him, and he will at once commence his onward march through North Carolina. He has a large number of wagons and means of transportation and is rebuilding that railroad bridge across the Trent. Several engineers have already been sent to him, and it is supposed some engines and cars are at Beaufort. He is building at New Berne two iron-clad cars or batteries, to carry six guns each.
The railroad bridge across the Trent. Several engineers and cars are at Beaufort. He is building at New Berne two iron-clad cars or batteries, to carry six guns each.
The railroad track was taken up from Core Creek to the Dover road, about 10 miles, when I took command. Since then I had strong parties to work on it. The ties have been burned and the iron best so as to render it useless. Several additional miles of the track are being taken up and the iron taken to a safe place by the railroad. This would render the enemy's advance by railroad, should he attempt it, slow and laborious. In his advance, should he take either of the roads along the Neuse or Trent Rivers, I could offer but feeble resistance with my present force. An advancing column can march on both sides fo the roads for any distance that its strength will permit it to extend. Should he take the Trent Road it would be extremely hazardous to go below Kinston with my command, as there is only one bridge, and that a very poor concern, and the river not fordable. If the enemy should march on the south side of the river, instead of crossing at Kinston, little or no resistance could be offered to him to White Hall.
The river is at present navigable to Kinston, and is higher than it has been for years. The obstructions placed in the river below Kinston are entirely covered by several feet of water, and I fear damaged, if not washed away.
As far as I have been able to examine, this section of the country is level and intersected by many roads, making it extremely difficult to defend. The enemy can only be meet with any degree of safety by as force equal to his own and well supplied with transportation.
Since I assumed command of this brigade it has been increased by two small new infantry regiments, who report less than 400 men each present for duty. My aggregate effective infantry force to-day fit for duty is 3,887 men-cavalry, 648, and 212 artillery. The cavalry are deficient in arms and equipments, and I have been informed by the ordnance officer at Goldsborough, in answer to a requisition made on him, that he cannot supply any.
The Batteries are greatly in need of men. In their present weak condition they cannot be expected to render good service. A few days ago one of them did not have a sufficient number of men for duty to drill with four pieces. An officer should be detailed from each of these