to leave a sufficient force to protect this place from any movement they may make from the other side of the river by their pontoon bridge, and still be strong enough on that bank to beat them. Such is an outline of my present intention, as far as the present information enables me to judge of the probable views and intentions of the enemy. If you receive no further instructions, let Pettigrew's brigade come up to this place at daylight and Evans fall back in this direction, as above, Robertson taking position at Spring Bank Bridge, leaving outlying guards below upon the river and roads for the purpose of giving information.
Very respectfully and truly, yours,
G. W. SMITH,
P. S. - Your note of 9.30 p.m. was received just after the above was signed. We have not yet been in condition to cross the river at this point and move forward, but must await the arrival of the troops from Richmond and horses to mount the cavalry before we can hope to act with effect in the presence of such a force.
White Hall Bridge, N. C., December 16, 1862-4.30 p.m.
[Major General S. G. FRENCH:]
GENERAL: About two hours since it was reported that the enemy, after leaving the bridge, moved up the river, but the news was not confirmed. Their ambulance and wagon trains are now passing White Hall, going in the same direction. They are undoubtedly making direct for the railroad, which I have suspected since yesterday evening. Hurry up the ammunition for Leventhorpe. Firing has nearly ceased.
In haste, most respectfully,
B. H. ROBERTSON,
WILMINGTON, N. C., December 16, 1862.
General GUSTAVUS W. SMITH, Goldsborough, N. C.:
Two regiments and a battery have arrived from Beauregard. Telegraph your orders.
W. H. C. WHITING,
SPRING BANK, N. C.,
December -, 1862-sundown.
Major General S. G. FRENCH, Commanding, &c.:
GENERAL: Two hundred of the Thirty-first Regiment were left on guard at White Hall. They had no rations. I think a force of 30 men, with 2 mounted couriers, enough to guard that point, considering the present position of the enemy.
B. H. ROBERTSON,