No. 13. Report of Lieutenant Colonel John F. Fellows, Seventeenth Massachusetts Infantry, of engagements at Kinston, White Hall, and Goldsborough Bridge, December 14, 16, and 17.
HDQRS. SEVENTEENTH MASSACHUSETTS VOLUNTEERS,
New Berne, N. C., December 22, 1862.
LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to forward the following report of the movements of the regiment under my command on the late expedition to Goldsborough:
As nothing of particular interest occurred until Sunday, the 14th instant, that is not already known to the commander of the bridge, I will commence at the time I was ordered to report to General Wessells. Soon after the battle of Kinston commenced General Wessells ordered me forward to support Morrison's battery, which was stationed on the right of the road and in great danger of attack from the enemy. In about half an hour the battery was withdrawn to another position, and I was ordered to the edge of the wood. Soon after I was ordered to advance to the right to support another battery at that place. I found the Ninth New Jersey, Colonel Heckman, preparing to advance, and as I received an order to do the same the two regiments proceeded together. I was then notified that the Ninth New Jersey and Seventeenth Massachusetts were to act together, under command of Colonel Heckman. We pushed on over the open space in front and soon reached the bridge, which we crossed together, being the first regiments to go over. We took several prisoners and then marched to the town, when I was ordered on provost duty. This order was afterward countermanded and the regiment was ordered to rejoin the brigade on the other side of the bridge. On the way back I was ordered by General Foster to remain, as the bridge was to advance, and after joining the brigade was again ordered on provost duty.
On Monday we were again ordered to march, the Seventeenth being in advance with the Ninth New Jersey, and this order of march was continued on Tuesday, the 16th. Upon approaching White Hall the Ninth New Jersey was fired upon the deployed upon the banks of the river, where we followed, and remained some two or three hours, the enemy firing upon us from the opposite bank. Attempts were made to find a ford, but the water was found to be from 8 to 12 feet deep. During this time Lieutenant Day and 11 men were wounded. Upon resuming the march the Seventeenth was in the advance.
The next morning, being yet in the advance, I sent forward two companies of skirmishers, Companies F and C, under command of Captain Fuller, and upon approaching the battle-ground they were attacked, but drove the enemy before them. The enemy appearing to be in force in a wood to the left, I received orders from Colonel Heckman to proceed by a road through the wood and obtain possession of the railroad. This was successfully accomplished, with the loss of but 1 man, Sergeant Hardy, of Company F.
My next order was to take the regiment upon the railroad and proceed toward the bridge and to take advantage of the banks of the road for the protection of the men. We advanced, after leaving two companies to observe the enemy, and were soon fired upon by artillery and infantry; and to avoid the raking fire from the artillery the men were ordered to the banks of the railroad and thus continue the advance. Our march was necessarily by the flank, and upon arriving within 10