Numbers 5. Report of Lieutenant Francis U. Farquhar, U. A. Corps of Engineers, Chief Engineer Eighteenth Army Corps.
HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH CORPS D'ARMEE,
New Berne, March 12, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report that in accordance with your orders I joined the command of Brigadier-General Prince on the 6th instant.
The command moved along the Pollocksville road on the south side of the Trent. After passing Brice's Creek the general direction of the road was a very little north of west. As far as Mill Creek the road was only tolerable, but after the rain it was very bad. We found it necessary to build the bridge across Mill Creek, which occasioned a halt of the advance guard of two hours. After passing the creek the road was firm and good. From Pollocksville the road bore nearly west. Our first day's march ended at the Mill Creek, near McDaniel's plantation. On the 7th the march was resumed toward Trenton. With the exception of the crossing of the creek near McDaniel's the road was good. The creek near Trenton could not well be forded by field artillery when the creek is high. The Trenton Bridge was destroyed, as was also the White Hall Bridge. From reliable information we learned that there was a bridge known as the Quaker Bridge, and another bridge above White Hall and below Tuckahoe Creek. There is also a small neighborhood bridge known as Wilcox's Bridge, about 6 miles from Trenton. However, these bridges are not absolutely necessary, as at the ordinary height of water the stream is fordable in many places above Trenton.
The road from New Berne to Trenton affords many good places for camping, especially after passing Mill Creek, water and wood being abundant. At Trenton the command countermarched and returned to McDaniel's plantation, where we had camped the previous night. From thence we took a road bearing south by east for 5 miles and southeast for 3, which brought us to Young's Cross-Roads. This road passed for the greater part through an extensive pocoson. The road was bad in some places. About Young's Cross-Roads the ground was good for camping. Here our day's march ended. The bridge across White Oak River was destroyed, and would have been rebuilt during the night, but the troops and negroes were very tired, having marched nearly 22 miles, and the enemy's pickets were on the other side of the stream. On the morning of the 8th instant the troops crossed at 6.45. By 9.30 the bridge was finished. The general direction of the road toward Jacksonville south by one-half east. The country is slightly undulating. On the west side of the road for 8 or 9 miles is an extensive pocoson, from which flow many small tributaries of the White Oak River. Through this semi-swamp run many roads, at most times impracticable for wagons, but through which with great toil infantry might march. About 4 1/2 miles from White Oak River there is a church known as "The Tabernacle," near which the road forks, the left fork leading direct to Swansborough, the distance to latter place being 13 miles; the right-hand road leads to Jacksonville, the distance being 16 miles. About 4 miles from this fork the road again forks, the right hand fork leading to Jacksonville, the left direct to Snead's Ferry, passing through Piney Green. Near this latter fork the command bivouacked for the night.
The next morning, with the cavalry for an escort I made a reconnaissance to Swansborough. We took the Snead's Ferry road as far as Piney Green; then we turned to the left toward Swansborough. From Piney Green to Swansborough the distance is 12 miles, and to