the road was heavily re-enforced and ordered to retire slowly, and fight if they were pressed.
At daylight of the 14th General Pettigrew, with a force of 7,000 men and seventeen pieces artillery, attacked a small work on north side of the Neuse River, occupied by the Ninety second New York Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson.* They opened a fire from all their pieces on the work and held their infantry in reserve for assault. Colonel Anderson was summoned to surrender several times, which he declined doing. Referring to me for orders, I instructed him to defend and hold the work. The Navy gunboats were in an unfortunate position to be of much assistance at first, owing to one being aground and the other two damaged. They were, however, towed to position by tugs, and, assisted by a battery of rifled guns on this side of the Neuse, compelled General Pettigrew to withdraw his artillery and infantry, merely remaining in a threatening position till this a.m., when he finally retired. On south side of Trent River the enemy advanced to within 6 miles of New Berne, but have withdrawn. The attack was to have been made with vigor enough by General Pettigrew to have taken Camp Anderson, which would have enabled him to have planted rifled batteries at that point, whence he might have driven the gunboats from the river and shelled the town, during which a strong attack was to have been made on Trent and Neuse roads. Our pickets held them on Trent road, although they were ordered to fall back to my defenses where I proposed making the fight.
The whole affair, meant to be effective and strong, was ineffective and weak, inflicting no damage and accomplishing no object.
The force of the enemy was about 13,000 to 14,000 infantry and cavalry and thirty-nine pieces of artillery. Our loss was only 2 killed and 4 wounded.
Referring to my letter of March 2, I beg to say that recent information shows General Longstreet with his corps to be on the Blackwater, and not southwest, as reported.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. FOSTER,
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.
Numbers 2. Report of Captain David A. Taylor, Third New York Light Artillery, Chief Signal Officer.
HEADQUARTERS SIGNAL DETACHMENT,
New Berne, March 18, 1863.
SIR: Inclosed I forward you copies of the reports of Lieutenants Merrill# and Barstow, containing an account of their signal operations at and in the vicinity of New Berne during the late movements, and of the action which took place here on the 14th instant.
I can truly say that both Lieutenant Merrill and Barstow are by far too modest in describing their own share of the work.
*The casualties in the Ninety-second New York Infantry were 3 men wounded and 3 men missing; 1 man reported as killed, March 13.