6th to the forks of the Trenton and Kinston roads, 17 miles distant from this place.
We reached our destination about 4 p.m. I immediately secreted my force from the observation of the enemy, between Jumping Run and Nethercutt's, my purpose being to make a demonstration on their outposts during the night. The expedition, consisting of three companies of infantry, under command of Captain Denny, with Captains Jacobs' and Chamberlin's companies of the Third York Cavalry, left our bivouac at midnight, proceeding rapidly up the Kinston road a distance of 4 miles. The cavalry, leading the advance, encountered and were fired upon by the rebel pickets. They immediately made a most gallant charge of over a mile, the infantry following at double-quick, reaching Jones' house (their reserve picket most). Captain Jacobs succeeded in capturing two of the enemy's scouts, and in so doing was fired upon from an ambush, seriously wounding a sergeant and private of his company.
Ascertaining that their camp was alarmed, Captain Denny ordered the infantry in the advance and pushed on, receiving and returning their fire from various points. When within a short distance of their camp the infantry were deployed as skirmishers on each side of the road. The line moved up speedily, passing the barricade of trees, and when within a few rods of the rebels (intrenched by another barricade) received a heavy volley of musketry; this was returned, and after a sharp skirmish the rebels were routed and pursued for some distance, but escaped into the woods.
Pursuit being useless, and perhaps under the circumstances imprudent, Captain Denny ordered his men to return-burned their camp, destroying twelve tents, several log barracks, a large number of new knapsacks, arms, equipments, blankets, several boxes of new clothing, and in fact everything left by the rebels in their hasty departure.
Owing to their superior speed only 5 prisoners were taken, whom I forwarded under guard to headquarters. The force reported back to our bivouac with no loss, and only 2 wounded, at 6 a.m., having marched a distance of 16 miles and within 12 miles of Kinston. From muster-rolls found in the enemy's camp their force was estimated, at 190 effective men. Ours numbered 130 infantry (which was the only force engaged after leaving Jones' house) and 80 cavalry.
I desire to acknowledge the gallantry, bravery, and endurance of both officers and men engaged in the affair. Considering their fatiguing march of the previous day, to march 8 miles after midnight, whip the rebels handsomely, and return by daybreak, very much credit is due them. Captain Denny is entitled to great praise for the able manner in which he conducted the expedition. The Third New York Cavalry sustained its brilliant reputation. To Captains Jacobs and Chamberlin I am under great obligation for their valuable co-operation and assistance. They left us on the morning of the 7th. During our stay at Nethercutt's scouting parties were sent out occasionally to observe the movements of the enemy.
On the morning of the 8th, Captain O'Neil discovered them in Trenton and exchanged shots across the river. Captain Harrington, from a reconnaissance on the Kinston road, returned with the intelligence that a large body of rebel cavalry had approached to within 1 mile of our pickets during the night. Receiving orders from you 10 a.m. on the 8th to fall back to a more defensible position, I retired to the forks of the Trenton and Pollocksville roads, remaining there until the