routed the enemy before another detachment of the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts had reached the railroad on the left.
Colonel Jones, as soon as he could communicate with our column, ordered forward the cavalry, but the enemy, before the cavalry could overtake them, had proceeded too ar to be cut off.
The whole force remained at and near these works until after 5 o'clock p. m., many of men employed in demolishing the works, the others being allowed to rest. At this time our pickets were attacked by artillery and infantry and driven in. The Twenty-seventh and Fifty-eighth, then in bivouac on the other side of the cree, joined the main column, and a disposition was made of the whole force to resist an attack. After opening with artillery upon the enemy, who were in considerable force on the railroad, the column slowly retired, one piece of Battery H being in the rear of the infantry and one company of cavalry, under command of Captain Willson, covering the rear of the column. The enemy closely followed and opened with artillery upon our column, fortunately doing no harm, to which Lieutenant Clark replied with a few shots. Another column, apparently of considerable strength, moved down the railroad on the right. At 10 o'clock p. m. we crossed Core Creek and encamped for the night, being undisturbed by the enemy. A little after daybreak on the morning of the 23rd the enemy's skirmishers engaged ours at the creek, but a few shell from our artillery silenced their skirmish firing altogether.
Colonel Jones had previously determined to move his command in two column from Core Creek, the one on the Dover road to Batchelder's creek and the other by the cross-roads to the railroad and thence by cars to New Berne. In the opinion of Colonel Jones the enemy were not posted in any very considerable strength at this creek, and hence he did not deem it necessary to vary from his previous plans. Accordingly Colonel Jones, with the artillery, cavalry, and Fifty-eight Pennsylvania, guarding the prisoners and baggage train, moved leisurely down the Dover road to Batchelder's Creek without the least molestation from the enemy. The main column (Lee's brigade), under my immediate command, took the cross-road leading to the railroad, distant some 3 miles. Colonel Pickett, being at the head, sent forward one company as an advance guard, with orders to proceed to the railroad and report the condition of things there. In a few moments messengers came back from Lieutenant Hunt, Twenty-seventh Regiment, who had been left with 20 men at the Core Creek railroad bridge, with the information that the enemy had driven in his pickets and that three regiments were coming down the railroad track with the very evident intention of commanding the road, or, at all events, of attacking our left and rear before we could reach the cars. Judging that it was most wise under the circumstances to avoid a collision with the enemy, inasmuch as a victory even would have been a sacrifice of men and barren of any substantial benefits, and the more certainly to prevent their getting between our column and the cars, then in waiting in the vicinity of White's house, on consultation with Colonel Pickett, Twenty-fifth Massachusetts, and my staff officers, Captain Bartlett and Lieutenant Myrick, I determined to strike in a diagonal direction through the woods to the left and thus reach the cars in the shortest time. Unfortunately we were obliged to pass through a dense, briery-tangled, and dismal swamp, so common in the low marshy land in this part of the country. Our progress was thus somewhat delayed, but in due time the whole column safely crossed and took the cars for New Berne.
The subsequent attack by the enemy at Batchelder's Creek on the