Gen. Foster defeated the expectations of the rebels in every particular. As we go to press we learn that Goldsboro and Weldon have fallen, and that our victorious armies are still in motion.
Newbern, Dec. 23, 1862.In our Thursday's issue we gave an account of the battle at Kinston, and there left the victorious troops. We now proceed to give an account of what followed. On the fourteenth instant, after saving the bridge at Kinston, which the rebels endeavored in vain to destroy, the Federal army, under Gen. Foster, crossed over the river, and formed in two columns, advancing almost at right angles with each other toward Kinston, which is situated a short distance from the river. They found the enemy drawn up in line of battle at the farther extremity of the town, with a battery planted on Washington's Hill, in such a position as to rake the main street. Upon this, the columns halted, and a flag of truce was sent to General Evans, to demand a surrender of the town, and of the rebel forces under his command, which courteous request was declined. Soon after this, a flag of truce was sent to General Foster by Gen. Evans, requesting the removal of the women and children, as he was intending to shell Kinston immediately. While the women and children were being removed to a place of security, Gen. Evans, in violation of military etiquette, moved his command to a new and safer position. The Federal batteries opened upon the rebels for about an hour, shelling them across and over the town, when the rebel fire was silenced. But few people were found in town. Some seventy or eighty bales of cotton were set on fire by the rebels in the middle of the street and partially burned. Some cotton was captured in an undamaged state. The Provost-Marshal took possession of the town, and used reasonable precaution for the protection of property by placing guards. On entering the town, nine guns were captured, and the troops were encamped for the night at Kinston. During the night, two houses were accidentally destroyed by fire. About four hundred prisoners, mostly South-Carolinians, were here captured and paroled. On the morning of the fifteenth, a battalion of cavalry and two pieces of artillery moved up the main road for Goldsboro, and had a smart fight with the advanced force of the enemy. During this fight the whistle of a locomotive was heard, bringing reenforcements for the rebels. Although the train was not discernible, the fire of the artillery was directed in that direction, which had the effect to cause the train to fall back to Mosely Hall, where in strong intrenchments and great force they waited to give the Federals battle, thinking General Foster designed to march on Goldsboro by that route, thus making the diversion completely successful. While this by-play was going on in front, the main column recrossed the bridge at Kinston, and advanced up the left bank, taking the river road. After all the Federal forces had been safely crossed, the cavalry had been withdrawn, and transported to the left bank, the bridge was destroyed to prevent an attack upon the rear-guard and wagon-train. By nightfall on the fifteenth, the Union army encamped three and one half miles from the village of Whitehall, on the left bank of the river. During the evening of the fifteenth, a battalion of cavalry, with two guns, under command of Major Garrard, was sent to Whitehall to destroy the Neuse River bridge, and a gunboat, said to be building at that place. They charged into the village, found the bridge in flames, and learned that a regiment of South-Carolina chivalry, who had arrived too late to join in the battle at Kinston, had retreated across the bridge but a few minutes before their arrival. After a reconnoissance on the river-bank, the gunboat was discovered on the opposite side of the river, on the stocks, with her woodwork two thirds completed. She was being built for two guns and was to be plated with heavy sheet-iron, so as to render her impervious to musketry, was flat-bottomed, of light draught, and intended for reconnoissance duty. Finding that they could not cross the river at Whitehall, and knowing the enemy to be in force on the opposite side of the stream, some two thousand barrels of turpentine were set on fire, to the right and left of the bridge, in such a position as to throw the reflection of the light upon the enemy. A tree was felled across the stream, hoping by its help to cross and burn the boat, but the tree was too short. Two shots were fired by the enemy, who were discovered in great force on the opposite bank. No other way being left, volunteers were called for, to swim the stream and burn the boat. A private named Butler, volunteered. A brisk fire of shell was now opened on the enemy to the right and left of the bridge, and several rounds of canister, at short-range. Butler in the interim stripped to the task, plunged into the water and swam to the opposite bank. Running up the bank to the flaming bridge, to procure a brand, several shots were fired at him, and two of the enemy darted from their hiding-places, near the bridge, attempting to catch him. Quick as thought, he turned, and swam back, and though several shots were fired at him, returned safely and unhurt. On his return, the Federals again shelled the woods on the opposite bank, and threw solid shot and shell into the boat, inflicting all the injury possible under the circumstances, and then returned to camp. On the sixteenth, the main column advanced to Whitehall. As they came up, a brisk engagement ensued, and as the work began to grow warm, the artillery came up, and the fight waxed warm. The battalion of cavalry and two guns swept past Whitehall, and went rapidly on to Mount Olive Station, some seventeen miles from Goldsboro, to cut the railroad at that place. In the mean time General Foster entered into a general