the movement, I struck off to the left, and succeeded in reaching the passage of the Southwest Creek, at what is called the fourth crossing, before the enemy could concentrate to oppose it. Southwest Creek has four crossings, one between the main road and the mouth of the creek. The creek here has firm banks, and is favorable for throwing a bridge across and forcing a passage. The second crossing is where the main road to Kinston crosses, and is very unfavorable, as the enemy can hold the narrow causeway, which is a milldam, along which the road passes, with a comparatively small force. In forcing a passage in this vicinity the crossing should be made below the dam, between that and the mouth of the creek. The crossings, three and four, higher up the stream, are more unfavorable, unless secured by surprise, on account of the marshy nature of the banks on one side or the other.
We fought the battle of Kinston between the creek and the river, and pursued so rapidly after breaking the enemy as to secure the bridge crossing the river into the town of Kinston. I then made a feint to advance up the road to Goldsborough, on the north side of the river. This, however, is a difficult route to take if the enemy be in strong force, as the road crosses three or four creeks, behind which the enemy had, even at that time, provided strong defenses. After feinting, therefore, toward Goldsborough, on the north side, I recrossed the bridge and advanced rapidly up the south bank. The road here is higher, sandier, and altogether better than that on the north bank. There are no bridges on the river until between Kinston and Goldsborough, and only one ford at extreme low water a few miles below White Hall. There are no defiles on the road that cannot readily be forced. The country is open and good. Upon arriving at Goldsborough the river can be crossed either on the railroad bridge, to be in possession of the town, or by the country bridge, which is about half a mile above the railroad bridtained since that time the enemy have erected stronger works at Kinston, and they may also have erected works to defend the bridges at Goldsborough. Both, however can be turned by taking a more circuitous march in attacking either place. The railroad bridge at Kinston was partially destroyed by the rebels, and about two miles and a half of the railroad between it and Core Creek was taken up. The bridge at Core Creek was destroyed by our troops, but General Palmer ought to be able to rebuild it by the time you get there. General McCallum, with a corps of several hundred railroad constructionists, has been ordered to North Carolina to put the road from Beaufort to Goldsborough in perfect repair, to change the gauge to five feet, and to provide new locomotives and cars. While engaged in this work he must have the whole control of the management of the road and of the shops from which he will have to depend for the necessary repairs. If General McCallum be absent, Colonel Wright, his assistant, will exercise a like control, under your orders. The object is to have the road repaired and fitted in every respect, so as to convey rapidly sufficient supplies to Goldsborough for General Sherman's army when it arrives there. The extension will eventually be made to Raleigh, also toward Wilmington and Weldon.
General Sherman expects you to get possession of the railroad to Goldsborough as soon as possible, and have its reconstruction commenced and completed. If you cannot occupy the whole road, by reason of the enemy's strength, you must occupy as high up as possible-at any rate, to get possession of it as far Kinston. If the enemy's force has moved down in South Carolina to meet General Sherman you will not follow, but take advantage of the opportunity afforded
12 R R-VOL XLVII, PT II