The activity and energy of the officers and men of the Fifth Pennsylvania Cavalry and the uniforms which was attended their numerous scouts during the last three months are worthy of notice.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. D. KEYES,
Major-General, Commanding Corps.
Major General JOHN A. DIX,
Commanding Seventh Army Corps and Dept.of Virginia.
JANUARY 27-28, 1863.-Reconnaissances on the Neuse, Dover, and Trent Roads, N. C.
Report of Colonel John Richter Jones, Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry.
HDQRS. OUTPOSTS, CAMP FIFTY-EIGHTH Regiment PA. VOLS., January 28, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report that in order to close our lines effectually and at the same time to obtain information of the position of the enemy on my front, I yesterday dispatched strong parties on the Neuse and Dover roads; also on the railroad and on the Trent road. My directions were to feel the enemy, capturing his small parties and outposts but avoiding those which showed strength, and to obtain as much intelligence as possible. My several parties returned this evening.
On the Neuse and Dover roads the bridges over Core Creek were found broken down, and no posts on this side,and no parties met except one of a few men near the creek on the Neuse road, who retired hastily and escaped into the woods. There were no pickets on the Dover road crossing or the railroad, but a very small one at the Neuse, beyond the creek.
The railroad bridge at Core Creek was found standing, by the up rights are chopped nearly off close to the water, so as to fall readily. From the information obtained the enemy seem to have retired to Sandy Ridge, some 2 1/2 miles beyond Core Creek, where they are fortifying themselves. They also have blockaded up the cross-roads between the railroad and the Dover road. The force at Sandy Ridge is reported by residents of the vicinity to be two companies, and they also report that General Evans is in command at Kinston, but with what force they do not know or choose to say.
On the Trent road while a working party which I sent to finish blocking the roads on the flank of Deep Gully was thus engaged, the escort, Company K, of the Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, under Captain Cecil Clay, moved in advance. On the Trent road, near the 14-mile post, a blockade was found obstructing effectually the passage of artillery and cavalry,and continuing more or less complete to beyond the eighteenth post. At the forks of the Trent road Captain Clay discovered a post of the enemy, which, by judicious arrangements, he surrounded and surprised, capturing the whole party - 8 infantry and 2 cavalry. In this little affair, Captain Clay reports that good service was rendered by Lieutenant Wells (Company F), who, being with him for topographical purposes, had command of the squad which made the actual capture; also that his men behaved admirably.