of cavalry to make a reconnaissance to White Hall. He found one regiment and four guns on our side of the bridge over the Neuse, but they quickly retreated as he approached, firing the bridge effectually.
The next morning (16th) I ordered Major Garrard, with five companies Third New York Cavalry and one section of artillery Twenty-third New York, to proceed to Mount Olive, a station on the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, 14 miles below Goldsborough. In passing White Hall en route for Mount Olive his command was fired upon from the opposite side of the river. He placed his guns in position and returned the fire until the main column arrived, when he limbered up and proceeded toward Mount Olive, which point he reached without opposition. Here he destroyed the railroad track for about a mile. He then proceeded along the line of the railroad for 4 miles and destroyed the bridge over Goshen Swamp. The track between Mount Olive and the Goshen Swamp Bridge was torn up and burned in five places.
The column having arrived at White Hall and finding the bridge burned and the enemy in some force, with infantry and artillery on the other side, and this being the direct road to Goldsborough, I determined to make a strong feint, as if to rebuild and cross. The Ninth New Jersey and Colonel Amory's brigade were sent forward and posted on the bank of the river to engage the enemy. I then ordered up several batteries and posted them on a hill overlooking the enemy's intrenchments. They opened on and silenced, after an hour's firing, the enemy's guns. The enemy still maintained their admirable position with sharpshooters, but deeming my object accomplished I moved my command forward toward Goldsborough, leaving sharpshooters in rear to continue the fight. We bivouacked that night 8 miles from Goldsborough, encountering no further opposition.
On the morning of the 17th I advanced on Goldsborough. I ordered Major Fitz Simmons, with two companies of cavalry, to make a feint in the direction of Dudley Station and Everettsville. They scattered a small force of the enemy there in every direction, burned two trestle-work culverts, destroyed a train of four railroad cars, water-station, depot, &c., as well as some small-arms, which they were not able to carry off, and captured a flag of the enemy. They then returned by a short cut to the main column. I also ordered Major Garrard, with four companies of cavalry and one section of artillery, to make a feint in the direction of a bridge over the Neuse, on our right, called Thompson's Bridge. He found the enemy in force, supposed to be one regiment of infantry and four pieces of artillery, and the bridge already burned. I then directed, in order to make the feint more complete and to further distract the enemy, one regiment (Forty-third Massachusetts) and Angel's battery Third New York Artillery to the support of the cavalry and engage the enemy, which they did, silencing, after an hour's brisk engagement, the enemy's fire.
Colonel Lee's brigade was in advance of the main column and came upon the enemy in small force on the edge of the wood lining the railroad track. Riggs' battery Third New York Artillery was placed in position and opened on them, when the enemy retired. The Ninth New Jersey and Seventeenth Massachusetts were ordered to strike the railroad track and follow it up direct to the bridge, which they were to burn. Three regiments of Colonel Lee's brigade were ordered to their support (the Twenty-fifth, Twenty-seventh, and Third Massachusetts); the remaining regiment was thrown on the left to protect our flank in that quarter. General Wessells' brigade was advanced and formed on the hill overlooking the track, &c.; three regiments were thrown to the left,