the best mans we could for obtaining information from the south side of the river. There were no troops there whatever, the battalion picketing on that side below Kinston having been enveloped by the enemy. General French arrived about 7 o'clock this morning with one regiment from Petersburg,and has gone down to Bear Creek, about 12 miles, to join General Evans. During the night, not knowing the troops from Petersburg might be expected to get here, I had ordered General Evans to send one regiment to a bridge 6 miles below here and one to this place to guard the railroad bridge and common-road bridge near the city. We can get nothing through the telegraph from Wilmington. Heavy firing is now heard distinctly upon the river below, supposed to be at White Hall Bridge, 15 miles below, or perhaps pear the Six Mile Bridge. There is, as usual, great delay and difficulty in the railroad transportation. I hope soon to obtain information of the enemy's movements,and on the arrival of the troops from Richmond will endeavor to strike an effective blow. Banks' fleet is reported by General Whiting as certainly at Beaufort, but it is not known whether or not they have landed. They are within ten or twelve hours' sail of him. Troops from General Beauregard were to have arrived in Wilmington this morning early, but I have heard nothing from there to-day. We have no cavalry, no transportation, and are laboring some other difficulties. My staff is not here. I am much pressed for time,and write it great haste. The troops are in good heart. I shall do my best to give a good account of the enemy.
Very respectfully and truly, yours,
G. W. SMITH,
Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
P. S.-A good many of Evans' troops were cut off and are now coming straggling in across the river. The heavy guns in the battery at the obstructions below Kinston had to be abandoned when General Evans fell back. They had previously beaten back the gunboats. The 200 men composing the garrison, with the field battery, retired toward the north and arrived here with their pieces last night. General Evans has not furnished me with an estimate of his losses.
GOLDSBOROUGH, N. C., December 16, 1862.
The enemy made this morning a serious attack at White Hall Bridge, on the right and rear of our position,this side of Kinston. At 2 p.m.a cavalry force,estimated at 500 or more, burned a turpentine stem at Mount Olive, at the railroad, 14 miles from here; injured the track and cut the telegraph poles. Extent of injury not known.
Later.- The enemy have been driven back from White Hall Bridge; his loss very severe, ours not so. They have abandoned Kinston. The bridges below here are burned. We are sadly in want of cavalry. None of the troops from Richmond have arrived.
G. W. SMITH.
Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON.
GOLDSBOROUGH, N. C., December 18, 1862.
The enemy yesterday made a sudden movement in large force upon the two bridges near this place,drove back our pickets, and succeeded