I recalled the company of the Seventh Massachusetts, stationed at Evans' Mill, 8 miles from here. They arrived this morning at the camp of the Seventeenth Massachusetts and have since then returned. I dispatched a locomotive and train at 1. 30 a. m. for Captain Lee's battery (Rocket Battalion) and all the available force, consisting of four companies infantry and about 30 cavalry at Newport Barracks. They arrived at 8 o'clock this morning. The infantry and cavalry returned by the morning train; the battery remains waiting further orders.
The Ninth New Jersey, Fifth Island, and Belger's battery having arrived during the night with the gunboat Hunchback, I posted these troops at various points as reserves to the line of pickets with orders to the infantry in case of an attack to occupy the rifle-pits extended across the peninsula.
At daylight this morning I ordered out forces on the different roads to reconnoiter the position of the enemy, still supposing him to be in force somewhere in our front. The whole cavalry force under Lieutenant-Colonel Mix was ordered to scout the Neuse road as far as Batchelder's Creek.
The Twenty-third Massachusetts, under command of Major Chambers, advanced along the railroad as far as the bridge, and leaving one company to re-enforce those in charge of the monitor, returned this evening without having seen the enemy.
From all the information I have been able to obtain I am inclined to believe that the force of the enemy which came down upon our pickets was much smaller than at first supposed, perhaps not over 300 men, infantry and cavalry. Whether or not a larger force remained in their rear I have not been able to learn with certainly.
Our regular pickets have since been re-established, those on the Trent road, consisting of four companies Twenty-fifth Massachusetts, extending out as far as Jackson's. The enemy burned the negro houses opposite Jackson's house. I think if one or two light howitzers could be posted with the reserves of this force it would be well.
I would also beg leave to call the attention of the general commanding to the fact that none of the block-houses are yet armed with guns.
The earthwork at the head of county bridge, on Trent River, was manned partly by a platoon of the Seventeenth Massachusetts.
A permanent guard well drilled at the heavy guns would be an advantage.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THOS. J. C. AMORY,
First Division, New Berne, N. C.
Major SOUTHWARD HOFFMAN,
Asst. Adjt. General, First Division, New Berne, N. C.
Numbers 2. Report of Captain J. Waldo Denny, Twenty-fifth Massachusetts Infantry.
HEADQUARTERS CAMP HARKNESS,
November 14, 1862.
SIR: On the morning of Tuesday, the 11th instant, by your permission I ordered a party of 50 men, under command of Lieutenant J. M. Drennan, of Company F, of my command, to proceed by an indicated route to the red house, and thence to the Trent road, at a point near the