I am gratified to say that my men were perfectly cool under fire, and would, no doubt, in a more serious engagement, have acquitted themselves with credit.
I am sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
First Lieutenant Seventeenth Infantry, Acting Artillery Officer.
Captain N. PRIME,
JUNE 28, 1863. - Reconnaissance from Plymouth to Nichol's Mills, N. C.
Report of Captain Raymond Ferguson, Twelfth New York Cavalry.
HDQRS. TROOP E, TWELFTH NEW YORK CAVALRY, June 29, 1863.
GENERAL: It is with regret that I am obliged to remit you the following report, knowing that, where the fault lies, he alone will be censured without regard to rank. I left here as per order, 9 p. m. 28th instant, with 50 men of my command, and 100 infantry, commanded by Captain Freeman, of the One hundred and first Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. We had arrived within 1 mile of Nichol's Mills when we discovered 5 men running from us toward the woods. The nature of the ground was such that they escaped. Proceeded on to Nichol's Mills, laid bridge, and crossed over. Captain Freeman's command remained here. I had arrived within 100 yards of the junction of the Jamesville road and the road which leads to the camp of the Ninety-sixth New York Volunteers, when I discovered men prowling along the road. I halted my command; was then challenged, "Halt! Who comes there?" Answer, "Friends. " Waited a few seconds for a reply. I then asked twice, in a clear, distinct voice, "What regiment are you?" No answer. I replied, " I am Twelfth New York Cavalry. " Still received no reply. I then formed my troop by troop by fours, and gave the command to charge. Four of my company followed me. Shots were exchanged on both sides. I then found out my supposed enemy was Colonel [Edgar M.] Cullen's command. There was no loss of either men or horses of my troop. In the first place, I was to meet Colonel Cullen's force only at Grey's farm, about 4 or 5 miles beyond. He was to have a picket stationed from his main body, so I would not run on his whole command at first. Instead of this, he changed his plans, and met me when and how I have explained. When the disorder was over, I reported my command under his charge; also gave him instructions as regarded gunboat. He then asked me what he should do. I told him he was in command, and that I was willing to push on to Gardner's Bridge. He said the rebels might have heard our firing, and he did not wish to advance. He then gave me orders to return to my quarters; I did so, and arrived here this 3. 30 a. m.
I am, general, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain Troop E, Twelfth New York Cavalry.
Brigadier General H. W. WESSELLS, Commanding.