No. 3. Report of Captain David A. Taylor, Third New York Light Artillery, Chief Signal Officer.
HDQRS. SIGNAL DETACHMENT, DEPT. OF N. C.,
New Berne, December 22, 1862.
SIR: Supplementary to the report already made out (but which I was unable to forward before this time), I forwarded the following report of the proceedings of the detachment under my command:
On the 11th day of December, 1862, I accompanied Major General J. G. Foster on an expedition to Goldsborough, taking with me the following-named officers with their men, viz: Joseph Fricker, first lieutenant, Eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and acting signal officer; F. Schlachter, first lieutenant, Eleventh Connecticut Volunteers, and acting signal officer; Henry T. Merrill, second lieutenant, Seventeenth Massachusetts Volunteers, and acting signal officer; C. C. F. Keith, second lieutenant, Twenty-third New York Volunteer Artillery; Edward S. Moffatt, second lieutenant, Ninth New Jersey Volunteers, and acting signal officer; and N. S. Barstow, second lieutenant, Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers, and acting signal officer.
Unfortunately Lieutenants Merrill and Barstow were taken sick soon after the expedition marched, and consequently were unable to take an active part in any of the battles which were fought on this march.
On Sunday, the 14th instant, the battle of Kinston was fought. As the battle was fought in a thick swamp there was no possible opportunity for signaling until just at the close of the action, after the enemy was driven into the open ground and across the Neuse River Bridge, when I saw a favorable opportunity to charge upon and capture two regiments of rebels, and accordingly I signaled back to General Foster to send forward a light battery and the cavalry which were already across the bridge; but the general instead sent up a flag of truce and asked them to surrender, which of course they did not do, but succeeded in escaping, as before treating they demanded and obtained a half hour's time, during which time the Union forces should remain halted at Kinston. I was most of the time occupied in carrying orders and placing troops in position and was with my flagmen a fourth of a mile in advance of the leading regiment.
At night I accompanied a company of cavalry to the rebel batteries, 4 miles below Kinston, and assisted in bringing off four field pieces and destroying an 8-inch columbiad and a 32-pounder siege gun, which were in position in the batteries, and with which the enemy had in the early part of the day driven off our gunboats.
On the 16th instant General Foster fought the battle of White Hall, on the Neuse River. As soon as the battle commenced I placed my officers in the most prominent positions on the field, and accompanied by Private Jacob A. Reed, Company I, Third New York Artillery, went in with the leading regiment and examined the position of the enemy. After obtaining a close and accurate survey of their works and position, I opened a station under a severe fire of musketry and called for some field guns to be sent to me, which General Foster immediately forwarded. Upon their arrival I placed them in position and twice sighted the guns myself. The fire of the guns was very effectual,