Doc. 174.-the march to Washington, N. C.
Brigadier-General Heckman's report.
Washington, N. C.: Friday, (seventeenth instant,) having received orders to cross the Neuse River with my command and take the advance, I proceeded on the road toward Washington as far as Purify's plantation, distant from Newbern seven miles, the road for a greater part of the distance being of the most horrid character. The column not having closed up, I placed Belger's battery, commanded by Lieutenant Simpson, in position, and my two regiments of infantry and a squadron of cavalry, commanded by Lieutenant Beecher, in line to support them. I then ordered the troops to bivouac for the night. At daylight on the morning of the eighteenth, formed the line and continued the march without interruption until we arrived at Swift Creek road, at ten o'clock A. M. Learning that the road to Swift Creek was blockaded for a number of miles, I continued on the direct road to Blunt's Creek Mills. At twelve M., the main column being some distance in the rear, I halted to rest and allow the column to close up. After a halt of about two hours I was joined by General Naglee and staff, when we immediately pushed forward, and reached Blunt's Creek about half-past 3 P. M. Found the bridge over the creek destroyed; but with very little labor the pioneers constructed a passage through the mill. Received orders from General Naglee to halt the column when it arrived, bivouac, and move forward early in the morning, the General proceeding in the direction of Washington, accompanied by his staff. As soon as the cavalry arrived and had fed their horses, I ordered them to follow, which they did, corning up with the General about eight miles from our encampment. At half-past 5 A. M. column again in motion received orders, upon arriving at the road leading to Hill's Point, to take one regiment of infantry and ascertain if the fort was occupied, and, if so, by whom. Accompanied by my staff, and followed by the Ninth New-Jersey, I rode into the fort and found it occupied by detachments of the Forty-third and Forty-fourth regiments Massachusetts volunteers. At twelve M. received orders to continue the march toward Washington, leaving the Ninth New-Jersey and Twenty-third Massachusetts at Hill's Point. Placed the Seventeenth Massachusetts in advance,  and arrived at Washington at three P. M. The Ninth New-Jersey volunteers arrived by boat from Hill's Point at five P. M. Left on steamer Escort for Newbern, N. C., on the twentieth, and reached here at six A. M. on the twenty-first. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,