was advanced at daylight on the morning of the-ultimo, and vigorously engaged the rebel outposts, driving them quite back upon their reserves, who retired nearly a mile to the old mill, about 5 miles from this place. At this time about 3,000 men were reported on the Edenton road and vicinity.
The rebels at once commenced throwing up a redan and strong breastworks completely commanding the road and approaches to their position. Rifle-pits for the protection of their outposts were also constructed. It was not considered advisable to attempt to prevent this as our forces were at that time too much engaged upon important duty under General Getty. Slight skirmishing between the outposts continued daily, with, however, but 2 casualties upon part. Scouts were continually out, and every exertion was made to keep us fully informed of whatever the enemy might be attempting. Occasional deserters from their ranks aided us greatly in this respect.
On the-a force of some 200 infantry and an equal number of cavalry, under the command of Colonel S. P. Spear, Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry, endeavored to again feel the enemy on our front, but was unable to drive them from their rifle-pits, which were uncommonly defensible.
On the - most of the troops along this front were detailed by the brigadier-general commanding for a reconnaissance in force under his own command. During his absence it became my duty to dispose, as advantageously as possible along General Corcoran's front, such fresh troops as had been ordered up to defend the line in place of those relieved, and to prepare for any emergency that might occur upon either the Edenton or Somerton roads, upon which our forces were engaged. General Corcoran reported the enemy re-enforced to about 6,000 or 8,000 men and eight pieces of artillery on the Edenton road.
From the - ultimo to the 2nd instant nothing of moment occurred along this front, and our men were kept most busy at the various fatigue work necessary.
About 11 o'clock on the evening of the 3rd instant the officer of the day reported with two deserters, who informed us that the enemy were rapidly withdrawing their forces and en route for the Blackwater. The troops were at once ordered under arms and the report forwarded to headquarters south front. Investigation and additional deserters soon confirmed the first report, and with a column of about 150 cavalry, four pieces of light artillery, and three regiments of infantry I started, by command of Brigadier-General Corcoran, in pursuit. Advancing rapidly but cautiously we soon arrived at the enemy's earthworks, which were found quite deserted. Pushing on, a small cavalry detachment was sent to Cyprus Chapel, on the edenton road, where several rebel officers and men were secured, and with the main body we moved by the first available road over to the main Somerton road, and leaving a force at the cross-roads pushed on to Leesville, where we united with Colonel Foster's column, which, starting simultaneously with ourselves and having some 5 miles less distance to travel, had reached that point in advance of us and succeeded in picking up large numbers of stragglers and a portion of the enemy's rear guard as prisoners.
Brigadier-General Corcoran then assuming command of the united forces, we advanced some distance toward Holland's Corners, where, upon consultation, it was decided that no advantage could be gained by pushing the infantry farther, as our advanced scouts and others reported the main force of the enemy already over the river and occupying their strong earthworks there. Cavalry, however, was thrown forward to