New Berne, N. C., March 10, 1863.
Received from Colonel Lewis, Third New York Cavalry, 7 prisoners, viz: William B. Pringle, Tenth North Carolina Volunteers; T. B. Snipes, Lieutenant L. B. Williams, Josiah Tyson, and Wesley B. Mews, Sixty-third North Carolina Volunteers; Joseph Grey, deserter, and Z. M. Caston, citizen.*
GEORGE F. WOODMAN,
Numbers 2. Report of Captain David A. Taylor, Third New York Light Artillery, Chief Signal Officer, of operations March 5-15.
HDQRS. SIGNAL DETACHMENT, EIGHTEENTH A. C.,
New Berne, N. C., March 16, 1863.
SIR: In pursuance to your orders, on the 5th instant I detailed two officers (Lieuts. Joseph Fricker and E. R. Blagden) to accompany the force commanded by Brigadier-General Prince on the late reconnaissance to Swansborough. At the same time I detailed First Lieutenant N. S. Barstow to accompany the force under Colonel Sprague, at Newport Barracks, which was to advance on Swansborough by southern route, and Second Lieutenant Henry T. Merrill to accompany the command of Colonel Pickett, who covered the right flank of General Prince's movement.
That the different forces might have a ready and certain mode of communication I drew up a rocket code of signals for the use of the officers on this expedition. The command of General Prince bivouacked near Pollocksville on the night of the first day's march; the command of Colonel Pickett bivouacked at the Trenton Cross-Roads, with a heavy picket force of the enemy in front, for the reason that Colonel Pickett was going to attempt a surprise of the enemy. Lieutenant Merrill did not answer the rockets sent up by General Prince, as the rockets would reveal the position of Colonel Pickett's force which it was necessary to keep concealed. At 3 a.m. of the 6th instant Colonel Pickett surprised a rebel picket, taking 5 prisoners and destroying their camp.
On the 7th instant Colonel Pickett fell back to the Pollocksville Cross-Roads to await the return of General Prince. General Prince marched directly to Swansborough, Colonel Sprague at the same time advancing to the same point and reaching there nearly the same time, when communication between the two commands was immediately opened by Lieutenant Fricker and Barstow.
On the return of the different forces there was no occasion for any signal communication between them. All parties arrived at New Berne in time to take part in the skirmish at Fort Anderson on the 14th. On the morning of March 14, immediately after the attack on Fort Anderson, Lieutenant Merrill and party was placed on board gunboat Shawsheen, Lieutenant E. R. Blagden and party on the Hunchback, and Lieutenant Joseph Fricker, on the evening of that day, on board the gunboat
*Discharged soldier from Thirty-fifth North Carolina Volunteers; has his discharge with him.
G. F. W.