F, of the Ninth New Jersey, under supervision of Captain Farquhar and Lieutenant King, who, together with Captain Fitzgerald, rendered me much valuable service. On the morning of the 6th, I ordered the Twenty-third Massachusetts, Lieutenant-Colonel Chambers commanding, and one section of Belger`s battery, to proceed to the forks of the Comfort and Free Bridge roads, for the purpose of holding that point, having the afternoon previous, with my staff, made a reconnaissance to that point, and thought it of great importance to hold it. As soon as Colonel Chambers with his command arrived at the forks, he placed one piece of artillery on the Comfort road, and the other on the Free Bridge road, and stationed the necessary pickets, when he, in company with Captain [John B.] Raulston, of my staff, Lieutenant [Charles C. T.] Keith, of the signal corps, and Lieutenant Smith, of Belger`s battery, made a reconnaissance to the bridge. They reached the bridge, and had crossed very near the other side, when they discovered about 50 of the enemy`s cavalry. Colonel Chambers and party returned, and immediately threw out skirmishers, when the enemy opened upon them with artillery. I was on my way to visit the post when I heard the firing. Upon my arrival there, I immediately ordered the Ninth forward. When they arrived, I deployed them as skirmishers, and ordered Lieutenant Smith to take a position with his artillery farther to the front. The enemy again opened on us with artillery, but a few well-directed shots by Lieutenant Smith soon silenced them. I did not advance upon the bridge, for reasons I will state. There was a possibility that Colonel Lewis, with his command of cavalry, would cross there, and as they were expected very soon, I was hoping they would come up in the rear of the enemy, and we would capture the entire party. We held our position until the return of the cavalry, which was about 6 p. m. of the 6th, when I withdrew, and prepared to return. The casualties upon our side during the fight at the bridge were the wounding of Lieutenant-Colonel Chambers in the shoulder, and John Albert, bugler Company A, Ninth New Jersey, seriously wounded in the face. The loss of the enemy must have been great, as shells were seen to penetrate their ranks. At 9 p. m. 6th instant, started on our return. Bivouacked for the night at burnt mills, and reached New Berne at 6 p. m. of the 7th. I remain, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. A. HECKMAN,
Major General J. G. FOSTER, Commanding Department of North Carolina.
Numbers 5. Report of Lieutenant Silas A. Ilsley, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Joudan`s brigade.
RECORDS AND EVENTS OF A MARCH TO TRENTON, N. C. July 4, 1863. -
Received orders to march at daybreak. The brigade started from Fort Gaston July 4, 1863, at 5. 15 a. m., consisting of the One hundred and fifty-eighth New York Volunteers,
55 R R-VOL XXVII, PT II