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[257]

Colonel Sprague's report.

headquarters Fifty-First Massachusetts regiment, Foster barracks, Newbern, N. C., December 21, 1862.
Adjutant-General William Schouler, State House, Boston, Mass.:
In obedience to department General Orders No. 77, and brigade General Orders No. 31, I reported with my command, seven hundred and seventy-eight rank and file, on the Trent road, in light marching order, at seven o'clock on the morning of Thursday, eleventh inst., remaining with the brigade en route till the afternoon of Friday, when we were detached in company with two pieces of artillery, under command of Captain Ransom, to guard the Beaver Creek bridge, the main road to Kinston, and the road to Trenton, in rear of the advancing column.

Receiving orders from Major-General Foster at half-past 1 o'clock on Sunday morning to join the main force without delay, we marched at sunrise, having in charge twenty-one prisoners, (taken by the cavalry on the main road to Kinston,) which were turned over to the provost-marshal upon our arrival at Kinston on Sunday evening.

We advanced with the brigade on Monday morning, arriving at the scene of action at Whitehall, about eleven o'clock A. M. on Tuesday morning, and though not participating in the engagement, were within range of the enemy's guns on the right of the artillery which was engaged.

At this point, in obedience to orders of Major-General Foster, Lieut. Sanderson, with a detachment of men, was detailed to examine the river below the bridge, to ascertain the practicability of fording it. After a careful examination of the river for nearly a mile, he reported that it was not fordable.

Tuesday afternoon, passing up with the main column on the left bank of the Neuse, we bivouacked at night about twelve miles from Goldsboro. On Wednesday we were detached to guard the baggage train, from which duty we were relieved in the afternoon, when the baggage train and troops were countermarched, after the burning of the railroad bridge by the advance.

Keeping our place on the return on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, we encamped on Saturday night near Deep Gully, and arrived at our barracks on the Trent at eleven o'clock on Sunday morning, my men considerably jaded and footsore. The orders in regard to pillaging and foraging were enforced, and the men suffered in consequence of an insufficient supply of meat.

Taking into consideration the fact that this regiment had been but a week in the field, and received their arms only two days before they received marching orders, I have the honor to report that they behaved well during the entire march.

None were killed, two wounded, and none missing.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. B. R. Sprague, Colonel Fifty-first Massachusetts Regiment.


Report of Colonel Amory.

headquarters of First brigade, First division, Department of North-Carolina, Newbern, N. C., December 21, 1862.
Major: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the brigade under my command in the several actions of the fourteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth instant.

The first brigade, consisting of the Seventeenth, Twenty-third, Forty-third, Forty-fifth, and Fifty-first Massachusetts regiments, (the last three being nine months volunteers,) marched from Newbern with the army under General Foster, on the morning of the eleventh instant. The brigade numbered at this time nearly three thousand five hundred men; of these about one hundred were sent back on our second day out, being mostly convalescents from hospital, who were found unfit to continue the march.

On our arrival at South-west Creek on the thirteenth, I was ordered to form my brigade in two lines on the left of the road, detaching one regiment to line the bank of the creek, the passage of which was disputed by the enemy. I sent forward the Twenty-third Massachusetts, which crossed at the mill-dam, the bridge having been destroyed. This regiment remained on the opposite bank and reenforced my command on the march next morning. The Fifty-first Massachusetts had previously been detached, with orders to remain at Beaver Creek, guarding our rear. This regiment rejoined my command on the evening of the fourteenth.

In approaching the battle-field of Kinston on the fourteenth, by order of the Commanding General, I detached the Twenty-third and Forty-third Massachusetts to the right and left of the road respectively, in support of batteries. The Eighteenth was sent to the extreme right to support Colonel Heckman, Ninth New-Jersey, in advance. While superintending this movement on the right, the Twenty-third and Forty-fifth were ordered forward in the centre and opened fire in the woods, gradually advancing, as did the entire line, driving the enemy to the bridge. On the right I posted the Forty-third to cut off the forces of the enemy on the river road from the bridge, and a portion of these — some sixty in number — shortly after surrendered to Major Chambers, Twenty-third Massachusetts. In this action the Forty-fifth suffered most severely, as indicated by the return of killed and wounded hereto annexed, together with the reports of the regimental commanders, to which I beg leave to refer for particulars. The different regiments of my brigade were, during most of the action, scattered through the woods or separated in support of batteries. All who came under my observation conducted themselves with commendable steadiness and gallantry.

In the action at Whitehall, on the sixteenth, my brigade being in advance, three of the regiments — the Seventeenth, Twenty-third, and Forty-fifth--were immediately engaged, with what effect could not be ascertained, as the enemy was


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John G. Foster (3)
A. B. R. Sprague (2)
William Schouler (1)
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