Hetzel. As soon as the attack commenced Lieutenant Barstow signaled to Lieutenant Fricker that the enemy were in front of the fort in large force, with artillery, and asked for re-enforcements, to which was replied, "Hold out as long as you can; re-enforcements will come as quickly as possible." When the gunboats got into position their fire was directed by means of signals by Lieutenant Barstow, stationed at Fort Anderson, and Lieutenant Merrill, on board the Shawsheen. Lieutenant Merrill, from the paddle-box of the boat, was able to obtain a better view of the movements of the enemy than any one else. He so skillfully directed their fire that one of the enemy's pieces was for a time abandoned and their infantry driven back some distance. Had the garrison of Fort Anderson been strong enough to have made it safe a well-conducted sortie would have easily captured one or more of the enemy's guns.
On the morning of the 15th three boats went up the Neuse, accompanied by Lieutenants Fricker, Merrill, and Knox, who, by their signals, kept up a constant communication between the different boats to the entire satisfaction of the officers in command, who expressed themselves in terms of admiration at the ease, rapidity, and certainty with which every message was transmitted.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
DAVID A. TAYLOR,
Captain and Acting Signal Officer in Charge.
Major General J. G. FOSTER,
Commanding Eighteenth Army Corps.
Numbers 3. Report of Lieutenant Joseph Fricker, Eighth Pennsylvania Reserve Infantry, Acting Signal Officer, of operations March 5-15.
HDQRS. SIGNAL DETACHMENT EIGHTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
New Berne, March 18, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to submit to you the following report of the expedition under the command of General Prince:
In obedience to your orders of March 5, 1863, I reported to General Prince for signal duty. Left New Berne at 8 o'clock, March 6, and proceeded 3 miles beyond Pollocksville; bivouacked for the night. According to arrangements made previous to starting I sent up two red rockets, the first at 9 o'clock p.m., the second at ten minutes past 9. The rockets were to indicate that "the advance of our column is here, and all quiet," but I received no reply from the other parties.
On the morning of the 7th we started and advanced on Trenton. We remained in Trenton a few hours, then started ad bivouacked about 6 miles from Trenton that night. There was nothing of any account took place, with the exception of taking a few of the enemy's pickets along the march.
On the 9th I received an order from General Prince to accompany the advance cavalry to Swansborough, a distance of 16 miles, which I did, accompanied by Flagmen W. J. Lindsay and H. P. Baker. When within 1 mile of Swansborough the cavalry charged into the town,myself and flagmen in the advance carrying a red signal flag. I immediately went down to the water's edge and called attention from the party