10th at 2 p.m. when, by your orders, I returned to New Berne, leaving the four companies, under Captain Denny, in their former position, near Deep Gully.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Twenty-fifth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers.
Colonel HORACE C. LEE,
Commanding Second Brigadier First Div., Eighteenth Army Corps.
Numbers 2. Reports of Colonel J. Richter Jones, Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry.
HDQRS. OUTPOSTS, CAMP FIFTY-EIGHTH PA. VOLS.,
March 8, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report that conformably to instructions I made a movement in connection with the general reconnaissance, but as the orders were not received in time, not in fact until the 7th, I was unable to operate in exact connection.
I left my camp at 8 o'clock the evening of the 6th (Friday) with the efficient men of the Fifty-eighth (about 500) and reached the neighborhood of Core Creek about 2 a.m. of the 7th, having also ordered a small detachment of Company H, Third New York Cavalry, to follow. Ascertaining that the line of the creek-relinquished after my expedition to Sandy Ridge-was again occupied by the enemy, I endeavored to cross at some unobserved point, but owing to the darkness of the woods and the depth of water in the swamps was unable. Being obliged to force a passage, I did so at the Dover road, just before daylight by opening a heavy fire on the crest the breastwork which defended the crossing, while a party rushed over the single string-piece, a round log, which remained on the bridge. The enemy fired sharply at first, but their fire was soon silenced, when they cried out that they surrendered, but on the consequent cessation of our fire they took the opportunity to retire under cover of the darkness before my men could reach their works.
I then rebuilt the bridge, which detained me until full daylight, and leaving a company in charge of it I moved forward, but the various posts of the enemy had been put on the alert by the firing, and the alarm had been propagated, perhaps, to Kinston by signal-rockets sent up immediately afterward.
About a mile beyond the creek my advance was fired on from a swampy thicket and woods flanking the road on both sides, and as the enemy stuck closely to cover it cost my skirmishers time and labor to dislodge them. In my subsequent advance at the forks of the Dover and the railroad depot roads I captured a camp recently and suddenly abandoned, apparently by two companies, containing rough shelter, blankets, knapsacks, sparer clothing, &c., the blankets, &c., being good and new; but I could find no enemy in force, and being informed by the negroes that they knew of none nearer than Rouse farm, 12 miles from the creek, and the driving of fugitives from thickets and swamps without definite object being useless labor, I concluded to return.
From the marks on the captured property the enemy whom I encountered belong to the Forty-third North Carolina and the Sixty-third North