MAY 20-23, 1863.-Demonstration upon Kinston, N. C., and skirmishes (22nd) at Gum Swamp and (23rd) at Batchelder's Creek.
Numbers 1.-Major General John G. Foster, U. S. Army, commanding the Department of North Carolina.
Numbers 2.-Colonel J. Richter Jones, Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry, of skirmish at Gum Swamp.
Numbers 3.-Itinerary of the First Division, Eighteenth Army Corps, Brigadier General Innis N. Palmer commanding, May 20-23.
Numbers 4.-Colonel George H. Peirson, Fifth Massachusetts Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.
Numbers 5.-Colonel Josiah Pickett, Twenty-fifth Massachusetts Infantry.
Numbers 6.-Colonel Silas P. Richmond, Third Massachusetts Infantry, Second Brigade, Fifth Division, of operations May 23.
Numbers 1. Reports of Major General John G. Foster, U. S. Army, commanding of Department of North Carolina.
HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
New Berne, N. C., May 22, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that, finding the enemy's troops were constantly being drained from this department for Virginia, and finding that I could safely make a demonstration toward Kinston and capture the enemy's picket regiment, I ordered Colonel J. Richter, Jones, commanding outpost (Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers), to endeavor to surround the enemy at Gum Swamp, and, if capturing it, to make a demonstration as if attacking in force, carefully guarding a safe and sure retreat. I re-enforced him with four regiments, four pieces of artillery, and three companies of cavalry, and I am happy to say that so far the plan has been successfully carried out. Colonel Jones surrounded the Fifty-eighth North Carolina, attacking them on four sides, and succeeded in capturing between 200 and 300 prisoners.
I forward this meager account by this opportunity, and will have the honor to send the further details as soon as they ascertained.
Colonel Jones is some 7 miles from Kinston, threatening that place. His retreat, should he be forced to fall back, is perfectly secure.
In my previous letters I omitted to mention, owing to the press of business and the facts that I was just going on a tour of inspection, a very successful little affair of four companies Third New York Cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis, about the 7th of this month.* they were ordered to make a circuit from New Berne to the White Oak River via Pollocksville and Young's Cross-Roads and return by the way of Newport. Colonel Lewis, learning where a company of the enemy's cavalry were, which had gone from Kinston to endeavor to cut the railroad communication between this point and Beaufort, charged them and succeeded in killing 2, capturing 14, and taking 36 horses, and without the loss of a man killed or wounded on our side.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. FOSTER,
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.
*Reference probably to skirmish at Peletier's Mill, May 5.