February 8, 1864
Sad to say it is true that we have fallen back from New Berne! Gen Picket made a reconnoissance, as he now calls it, “within a mile & a half of New Berne. . . . Met the enemy in force at Batchelor’s Creek, killed, & wounded about one hundred in all; captured thirteen officer’s & two hundred & eighty prisoners, fourteen negroes, two Rifled peices & caissons, three hundred stand of small arms, four ambulances, three wagons, fifty five animals (of what sort Gen Picket?), a quantity of clothing, camp & garrison equipage, and two flags. Commander Wood (C S) captured & destroyed the U S gunboat Underwriter” — signed G E Picket Maj Gen Comdg. He dates his dispatch from Kinston, so the Examiner’s hopes of a great battle the next day would not have been so sanguine, had he been acquainted with the geography of the country! Gen Whiting reports from Wilmington that “Gen Martin . . . broke the R R at Shepherdsville, driving the enemy from their works at Newport barracks & across Newport river,” so I suppose expectation which has been on tip toe for days past can now rest comfortably on the sole of her foot again. It is mortifying truly! James left us today to return to duty. His health is much better & the rest has been of service to him.
Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979).http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html