previous next

[192] reconstructed a bridge over the creek, three miles outside the town, for the transportation of their artillery to the opposite bank. I also learned, from information gathered on the spot, that an immediate attack was to have been made on the place; but upon hearing of my advance from Washington, and seeing the danger of their capture, they beat a precipitate and hasty retreat.

The navy under command of Com. Davenport, senior officer, cooperated heartily with me during the whole time, by sending five gunboats to Hamilton, and their placing four boat-howitzers, with their crews, at my disposal.

I desire to mention particularly the efficient conduct of Colonel Stevenson, commanding the Second brigade, and Colonel Potter, of the First North-Carolina Union volunteers.

I recommend that Colonel Stevenson, for his efficient services on this march, and in the affair at Little Creek and Rawls's Mills, as well as previous services at the battles of Roanoke and Newbern, be promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General, to date from November third, 1862. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant.

J. G. Foster, Major-General Commanding.

Boston Transcript account.

camp of the Fifth Massachusetts regiment, Newbern, N. C., Nov. 13, 1862.
The Fifth Massachusetts regiment, since it left Boston on the twenty second of October, has endured a greater share of the hardships of war than usually falls to the lot of new regiments. During the brief time which it has been absent from Massachusetts, it has sailed over one thousand miles in crowded transports, marched one hundred and seven miles over wretched roads and in all varieties of weather, from burning heat to extreme cold and snow, camping without tents for more than a week; has five times taken three days rations in their haversacks, and has smelt the smoke of battle, though not brought immediately under the enemy's fire.

The regiment had been but two days in camp here, and was still subsisting on the rations served out on board the steamer Mississippi, when orders were received from Major-General Foster to prepare to depart immediately upon an important expedition. Many of the necessary equipments had not yet been distributed to the men, nor had the arrangements for cooking been perfected; but within twelve hours from the time of receiving the order, guns, ammunition, and three days rations had been supplied to the troops, and they were ready to leave camp at four o'clock on the morning of Thursday, October thirtieth. Twenty-five men of each company were detailed to remain at Newbern as a campguard.

On reaching the wharf where we were to embark, it became evident that the expedition was one of considerable magnitude, and that about six thousand troops of all arms were to take part in it, the greater part of whom were of Massachusetts regiments. The Forty-fourth and Seventeenth Massachusetts regiments, the Third New-York cavalry and twenty-three pieces of artillery, had already left by land for Washington, N. C. and two gunboats and seven transports were waiting to take the balance of the expedition to the same place. The troops taken by the fleet were the Fifth Massachusetts, five companies of the Twenty-third Massachusetts, eight of the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, six of the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts, eight of the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts, Fifth Rhode Island, eight companies of the Twenty-fifth New-Jersey, and the Tenth Connecticut.

The fleet sailed at nine o'clock on the morning of the thirtieth October, and passing down the river Neuse into Pamlico Sound, arrived at Washington, at the entrance of Tar River, on the afternoon of the thirty-first, after a pleasant passage. Here a marine battery of four pieces were added to the artillery force.

The departure of the army from Washington was delayed twenty-four hours by the non-arrival of the force marching overland, and it was not until the morning of November second that the whole expedition set out for the interior, in three brigades, under Colonels Amory, Stevenson and Lee. The Fifth Massachusetts was in Col. Lee's brigade, the Forty-fourth was in that of Colonel Stevenson. The Twenty-third Massachusetts was commanded by Major Chambers. Major-General Foster commanded the expedition in person.

The column took up the march toward Williamtston, twenty-five miles distant, Gen. Stevenson's brigade at the head, and the New-York cavalry thrown out in advance. Skirmishers were sent out to the right and left, as the army proceeded. When nine miles from Washington a small rebel camp was found, from which the enemy had hastily fled, after burning such of their equipments as they could not conveniently take with them.

Our route lay through a level country, the soil sandy, intermixed with a light loam, extremely difficult to march on. An unbroken forest of pines, seeming almost interminable, lay on either side. In some places the road was covered with water a foot deep, for a great distance. The day was extremely warm, and our progress was necessarily slow, many of the troops, both of the old and new regiments, falling out of the ranks from exhaustion.

At four P. M., when within six miles of Williamston, cannonading and musket-firing was heard in the advance, and it was soon ascertained that a body of seven hundred rebels, with two artillery pieces, had made a stand in a very commanding position on the opposite bank of a small creek, at a place called Old Ford. The marine battery and the New-York battery opened upon them, and the Forty-fourth Massachusetts, supported by the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, charged across the stream, and the rebel position was speedily carried, the marine battery losing one man killed, James King, of Chicago; and the Forty-fourth Massachusetts two men, Charles Morse and----Rollins. The rebel loss could

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
C. R. Stevenson (5)
Fitz-Hugh Lee (2)
J. G. Foster (2)
Rollins (1)
L. H. Potter (1)
Charles Morse (1)
James King (1)
Hamilton (1)
John G. Foster (1)
H. K. Davenport (1)
Thomas Chambers (1)
T. J. C. Amory (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
October 30th (2)
November 13th, 1862 AD (1)
November 3rd, 1862 AD (1)
November 2nd (1)
October 22nd (1)
31st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: