MARCH 1-6, 1863.-Expedition from New Berne to Swan Quarter, N. C.,
and skirmishes (3rd and 4th) near Fairfield and Swan Quarter.
Report of Captain Colin Richardson, Third New York Cavalry.
NEW BERNE, N. C., March 6, 1863.
COLONEL: I have the honor to report that I left this place Sunday. March 1, at 5 p.m., on board the steamer Escort with my company (F, Third New York Cavalry) and the first howitzer of the battery attached to the same regiment, also Company G, First North Carolina Volunteers, and proceeded to Rose Bay Bridge, not, however, without a great deal of delay for the want of a pilot, as there was no one on either of the two boats who was sufficiently acquainted with the place. I then ordered Captain Brinkerhoff to make a reconnaissance with his boat North State, who after a delay of four hours reported that he had found the bridge. I ordered the scow alongside and disembarked the infantry and howitzer and a portion of the cavalry, placing Lieutenant Joy in command until my arrival.
On arriving with the balance and having resumed the command I ordered a small guard on board the North State, with orders to the captain of the same to destroy the bridge; I in the mean time proceeded along the north side of the lake for a distance of about 5 miles. With much difficulty and delay we marched, the crossings of the road having been torn up by the negroes, under the orders of one Henry Cradle (whom I have brought back a prisoner), and having a protection from Governor Stanly. I encamped for the night at the cross-roads.
Next morning at daybreak, I resumed my march, encountering and driving in the enemy's pickets. About 3 miles from Fairfield we drove more of the enemy, and on arriving at the place I found it nearly deserted. I passed on about 2 miles farther, when I discovered a boat on the lake; hailed it, but no attention was paid to the hail. I ordered Lieutenant Burke to throw a shell across the bow of the boat, which brought it to shore. I found in the boat two men without protections, whom I ordered out of the boat, and placed in it a squad of infantry under charge of a non-commissioned officer, to sail around to Lake Landing, with orders to save the bridge if possible. I then moved on and encamped for the night 9 miles from Lake Landing.
The next morning (Wednesday) I resumed the march. After moving about 5 miles I was fired upon by guerrillas from some houses on the right of the road. Our men drove them from the house into the woods. I then deployed the infantry to the right and threw out cavalry skirmishers in front and rear and covered the infantry with the howitzer, shelling the woods and dispersing the enemy in all directions. Having rallied my command, I moved on toward Lake Landing, leaving Lieutenant Morse, with a party of cavalry, to burn their headquarters. I proceeded without further interruption until arriving at the bridge, which I found destroyed. I ordered the fences to be torn down and used to rebuild the bridge. I then moved on and drove in mounted pickets during the whole march from Lake Landing to within about 1 1/2 miles of Swan Quarter, when I was attacked from the swamp on the right of the road in front, and rear by about 80 guerrillas and ordered to surrender. A deep canal about 8 feet wide ran between me and the attacking party. As my vedettes were passing, the guerrillas fired one shot. Lieutenant Benson immediately charged with the first platoon of cavalry and received a volley, killing 3 of my men and wounding