War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0197 Chapter XXX. ATTACK ON NEW BERNE, N. C.

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The only news from the enemy is that of the 8th. The enemy's cavalry went to Swansborough from Smith's Mill, where they met some of their men in boats. The cavalry returned to Smith's Mill on the 9th.

Very respectfully, &c.,



Major General D. H. HILL,

Commanding at Goldsborough, N. C.

No. 12. Report of Brigadier General Beverly H. Robertson, C. S. Army, commanding Cavalry.


March 21, 1863.

MAJOR: I have the honor to report, for the information of the major-general commanding, that on Monday, the 9th instant in obedience to his written instructions, and immediately after their receipt, I moved with six squadrons of my command-three from the Fifty-ninth and the remainder from the Sixty-third Regiment North Carolina Troops, in all about 500 men-to the south side of Trent River; thence toward Jacksonville, the enemy having been reported advancing in that direction.

Upon my arrival at Huggins' farm I was informed by Captain [T. W.] Harris,[Company E, Sixty-third North Carolina Troops, or Fifth Cavalry], on picket duty in that vicinity, that the Yankees had recrossed the White Oak River and probably returned to New Berne. Learning next morning (Thursday) that they were reported in force at Trenton, I at once started for that point via Comfort, in the vicinity of which I encamped the same night.

Early on the following day, in order to protect Daniel's right and reconnoiter the country, I proceeded to Pollocksville, where it was stated the enemy had their pickets stationed and were strongly fortified. Upon my arrival there I ascertained the Yankees had crossed Mill Creek several days previous and destroyed the bridge over that stream, which, on account of the recent rains, I found impassable for cavalry, at least in that vicinity. I therefore returned to McDaniel's Mill and encamped, leaving McIntire's squadron on picket at Pollocksville and Mill Creek, with orders to hold those places at all hazards. With a view to carrying out the instructions of the major-general commanding, I detached a party under command of Lieutenant W. J. Wiley, Company F, Sixty-third Regiment, with directions to move rapidly and cut the railroad between Sheppardsville and New Berne. I provided the party with a few axes and sent with it the only good guide I had-Private Dennis, Forty-first Regiment North Carolina Troops. With the bulk of my force I determined either to head Mill Creek and operate in the enemy's rear nearer New Berne or move upon Sheppardsville. Upon reaching Richard Oldfield's I was informed by a most respectable, intelligent, and loyal citizen (well known to many of my officers), and perfectly familiar with that section of country, that but few cavalry could be advantageously used there. I therefore decided to detach good squadron, with instructions to strike a blow at or near Evans' farm, about 7 miles from New