house at Washington, Private Reed, standing on the parapet of the battery, flagged three messages of some length under a very severe fire of shell and shrapnel from the enemy's batteries at Rodman's Point and Blount's house. Many of the shell and shrapnel burst very close, dropping pieces immediately around him, but Reed never once left his position until I had done signaling. Reed has several times before this behaved in an equally admirable manner, and I take pleasure in again recommending him to your favorable notice, and hope he may receive a suitable promotion. He is sober, intelligent, discreet, and brave, and has been kept in the ranks solely for the reason that he has been detached from his company and serving in a separate command.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
DAVID A. TAYLOR,
Captain and Acting Signal Officer.
Major General J. G. FOSTER,
Commanding Eighteenth Army Corps.
Numbers 3. Reports of Brigadier General Edward E. Potter, U. S. Army, commanding at Washington, of operations April 16-17.
WASHINGTON, N. C., April 16, 1863.
GENERAL: The enemy evacuated the batteries in our front last night and retreated toward Greenville by the Jamesville road. Five deserters came in this morning at 5 o'clock, who brought the information. They stated the force under General Garnett on this side of the river to be about 4,000 men and that they received orders last night to withdraw in order to re-enforce the army in Virginia.
I sent Captain Jocknick out on a reconnaissance to learn the whereabouts of the enemy. He followed them 4 or 5 miles, but they had crossed Tranter's Creek at Gainer's Bridge. Suspecting that there was a general movement I requested Captain Renshaw this morning to send a gunboat to Rodman's to discover whether any of the guns had been left there. The Ceres and the Eagle went down and shelled the Point but received no reply. A sergeant of the Forty-third Massachusetts volunteered to go down and ascertain the condition of affairs. He went with 10 or 15 men of that regiment on a schooner. When they had reached the Point a small boat put off from her to land as did also one from the Ceres. This was contrary to my wish and instructions. When they had got quite close to the shore the rebels opened a sharp fire of musketry, killing the third engineer of the Ceres and wounding 2 men of the Forty-third. The boats were all god off. Being convinced that the force at the Point was very small I determined to send five companies of Fifth Rhode Island too occupy it his afternoon.
In the mean time the gunboats had come up from below and threw a large quantity of 9-inch shells into Rodman's. I sent the five companies on the Ceres and in a flat protected by hay bales. On the flat was a 6-pounder. Master McKeever went down on a schooner armed with a boat howitzer. He was the first to land. The whole force landed without opposition. Hill's Point is also evacuated. I shall send three companies to occupy it along with the two companies of the Forty-third Massachusetts now below.
I have had all the batteries on the ridge in our front leveled to-day.