Yankees at Deep Gully I would have pursued them to their next strong-hold, at Rocky Run, 3 miles nearer New Berne, but as Pettigrew had been silenced, and there were three shorter roads to Kinston than the one I was on, I fell back to a point opposite Trenton. Remained there Sunday and until noon to-day. No pursuit by the Yankees. Our loss has been slight.
General Pettigrew reports:
The absence of the Whitworth ruined us. The 20-pounder Parrotts are worse than useless. One burst, killing 4 men and wounding 4; another broke its axle. The shells of all them burst just at the mouth of the gun. I hope never to see them again.
Robertson sent me out a lieutenant, who partly cut the railroad. He sent out a colonel, who saw some Yankees and came back. Robertson did not go himself. We must have a better man. Garnett did not start until Sunday. I have sent Pettigrew to Greenville to protect him if necessary. I propose to go over there myself in a few days. I fear Garnett has seriously compromised himself by his long delay. If it be true, as your scout reports, that the Yankees have been so heavily re-enforced at New Berne they may attempt to cut Garnett off. Had the Whitworth been sent the gunboat would have been beaten and New Berne would have been at Pettigrew's mercy. Then if my original plan had been carried out of moving Ransom on the Sound road to the rear of New Berne I think we would have gained the town, or at least have caused a very salutary alarm. The spirit manifested by Whiting has spoiled everything. My order of assignment says: "General D. H. Hill is assigned to the command of all the troops in North Carolina." If I am to cut down to two brigades I will not submit to the swindle.
So far as I can judge there will be no movement at Charleston until Hooked gets out of the mud. The there will be a general movement on Fredericksburg, Petersburg, the North Carolina Railroad, and Wilmington. We ought to have been clearing out North Carolina while Hooker was mud-bound. This I urged three months ago, but I was unheeded. It is not yet too late to do something and I am anxious to go to work. I started out with my throat in a terrible fix and thought it might cost me my life. Thank God, I am no worse.
Foster ought to be ashamed of letting one brigade run him into his rat-hole.
I have received nothing but contemptuous treatment from Richmond from the very beginning of the war, but I hope they will not carry matters so far as to perpetuate a swindle.
You were greatly mistaken in supposing that I was indifferent about the Whitworth. I told you that it was too late to get it, but that it was worth all the guns I had. I had tried the Parrotts, and their shells all burst prematurely.
If the Yankee re-enforcements are as large as your scout represent them they will establish an inland communication between New Berne, Washington, and Plymouth, and thus have their cordon of forts complete from Suffolk down. A glance at the map will show how seriously this would embarrass us. For my part I could get no information from New Berne.
With great respect,
D. H. HILL,