Numbers 2. Report of Colonel Theodore F. Lehmann, One hundred and third Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding expedition.
HDQRS. FIRST BRIG., FOURTH DIV., EIGHTEENTH A. C., Plymouth, N. C., July 8, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that, in compliance with orders and instructions received July 5, a detachment from regiments composing this brigade was made, in order to take part in an expedition in connection with gunboats, artillery, and cavalry, so as to divert the attention of the enemy from an expedition set on foot in New Berne, N. C., for certain purposes. The movements of the expedition under my command, I regret to say, were not executed as could have been desired, not on account of neglect or carelessness of officers and men, but owing to the unavoidable tardiness of the gunboats, on board of which a part of my force was transported. If the current of the river had not by its violence retarded the motion of the fleet, a more brilliant result might have been obtained, but, as it is, in my humble opinion all that could have been done was effected. Two regiments, the One hundred and first and One hundred and third Pennsylvania Volunteers, were transported, under command of Colonel Morris, by gunboats to Williamston, N. C., with instructions to march as soon as landed, which was supposed would take place at 7 a. m. on the 6th instant, and proceed by land toward and in the rear of a force stationed at Gardner`s Bridge, said to consist of three or four companies of infantry and some artillery, and, if possible, to attack the enemy. Meanwhile, one section of artillery, 50 cavalry, and a detachment of the Eighty-fifth and Ninety-sixth New York Volunteers, in all about 500 strong, marched under my own command, after having been towed in a scow to Warneck, the campground of the Ninety-sixth New York, on the Roanoke River, toward Gardner`s Bridge, to simultaneously attack the enemy in front, thus placing him between my own and the command of Colonel Morris. Unforeseen impediments prevented the gunboats from arriving at Williamston at the appointed time; consequently the co-operation of the two detachments of troops did not take place. Leaving Warneck at 12. 30 p. m., the land force arrived without any disturbance on the part of the enemy near Gardner`s Bridge at 6 a. m., where the enemy`s pickets were found and soon driven in over the bridge. The denseness of the woods and undergrowth at this locality, and the swampy ground in the vicinity of Gardner`s Creek, presented so many difficulties in discovering the enemy`s position, that the fire of the artillery, which had been brought to bear in what was thought the right direction, remained without any apparent effect, not even eliciting a reply from the enemy`s guns, which might have guided our cannoneers in delivering their fire. After many unsuccessful attempts to ascertain the exact position of the enemy, it was finally discovered to be opposite the bridge, on elevated ground, exposing to view one side of a rectangular redoubt, with one masked embrasure. The position was well selected, and commanded the bridge and its approaches. Riflemen were concealed within the redoubt. Having now discovered a more suitable ground for artillery, I ordered one piece to be brought to the front, and, though the enemy`s