(armed as infantry) at the railroad and county bridges over the Neuse near this place. Two pieces of artillery were placed commanding the railroad bridge, one at the county bridge, and two a short distance in the rear, enfilading a portion of the right bank of the river which flanked the position immediately at the bridge. These dispositions were completed at 7 a.m. About 10 a.m. I started with Colonel Cunningham without an escort to reconnoiter the right bank of the river from Dudley toward White Hall, having been led to believe that the enemy were or might be marching in that direction with a view of cutting the railroad. On arriving at Dudley, hearing nothing of the enemy, in company with Colonel Collier, of the county militia, I proceeded 4 or 5 miles on the road to White Hall, seeing nothing of the enemy. I soon saw a large smoke in the direction of Mount Olive. I rode immediately to Dudley and found a train of cars that started for Wilmington had turned back, finding the road was burned at Mount Olive. I took the train to this place to report to you the cutting of the road. On the way to Goldsborough I passed General Clingman's command on the roadside, near where the country road crosses the railroad.
Early the next morning I was directed to make an armed recognizance of the enemy with General Evans' and Clingman's commands. My instructions were to find the enemy, to sweep the county, guarding the flanks well, and if engaging the enemy the command should be so pressed as to fall back before being re-enforced, to fall back fighting and cross at the county bridge; or if pressed too closely to try that to continue up the river, crossing higher up. A first-rate guide was furnished me.
General Clingman's command being on the road to Dudley, I informed General Evans that his command ought to go to Dudley by rail as soon as they could be embarked. As soon as the troops were fairly aboard I started with Captain Reinhart and a part of his cavalry company for Dudley. On reaching the county bridge I heard a few cannon-shot east of the railroad. On crossing the bridge I found a portion of General Clingman's command, Colonel Shaw commanding. I was informed by Colonel Shaw that the enemy were advancing in two columns, one by the railroad, the other by the White Hall road, and the one regiment (Colonel Marshall's) was posted at the railroad bridge on the right bank. General Clingman then came upon the ground and I recommended him to form his command with two pieces of artillery obliquely across the county road, covering the head of the bridge. I then proceeded to the front and right on the county road to a point where the road turns to cross the railroad on the way of Dudley. A steady fire of artillery was kept up by the enemy at the railroad bridge. I soon saw one regiment of the enemy get on the railroad track, soon another, and finally four in all; these, with four or sic pieces of artillery, were all the troops I could see. They marched deliberately toward the railroad bridge, then double-quicked for a few instants, and finally disappeared from my view either in the woods or behind the railroad embankment. Immediately a sharp fire of musketry ensued. This very quickly ceased. I rode back to the county bridge and found General Clingman's command falling back, one regiment double-quicking on the road from the railroad bridge to the county bridge. I then met General Clingman, who said his men would not say at the railroad bridge, and asked me if I thought he had better cross the bridge. I thought if the men would not stand they had better cross,and told him so.
Lieutenant Fuller, of Starr's battery, placed his guns in position with coolness and judgment, and worked them some moments with ability,