We had a conversation yesterday with a member of the Confederate Minstrel Company
, just returned from Newbern, N. C.
, where, with his associates, he participated in the recent exciting events at that point.--The fight on Friday, he informs us, commenced at half-past 6 o'clock in the morning, and lasted two hours. The principal engagement occurred some three miles from the town, on the railroad, where a force of North Carolina militia had been stationed to contest the advance.
On the same day, seven trains of cars, crowded with women and children, succeeded in getting away, though the enemy threw one shell which exploded beyond a departing train, in the woods.
Our informant mentions a number of incidents connected with the fight, mainly confirmatory of the following, which we find in yesterday's Petersburg Express
Thursday the fleet advanced as far as Fort Dixis, a strong fortification, mounting four heavy guns, distant from Newbern
about five miles. This fort was surrounded by a breast-work, and, though shelled for three or four hours during the afternoon by the enemy's gunboats, was manfully defended until dark, when the enemy's fire ceased.
At night it was discovered that the enemy were landing in heavy force.
One estimate is that they sent ashore 20,000 infantry, a squadron of cavalry, and 30 pieces of field artillery.
It was deemed impossible to hold this post against such a force, aided by the gunboats, so the guns were spiked and the position abandoned.
Friday morning the fighting was commenced at early dawn, and continued until half-past 10, when our forces; being almost completely surrounded by an army, outnumbering them at least three to one, splendidly armed, disciplined, equipped, and officered, were compelled to retreat.
The retreat, we hear, was well conducted at first and in good order, but finally became a rout, the men throwing away their arms and everything else that could possibly impede their progress.
was the most formidable fortification on the river.
It was four miles from Newbern
, and mounted 18 heavy guns, two of them rifled 82-pounders.
Fort Ellis, three miles from Newbern
, mounted eight heavy guns.
It was commanded by Capt. Edelin
's Company B, First Maryland regiment.
Finding that the other fortifications had fallen; Capt.
E. ordered his guns to be dismounted, (having no spikes,) and they were thrown down the embankment.
, mounting eight guns, two miles from Newbern
, was blown up, Capt. Mayo
losing his life by remaining to fire the magazine.
he was killed by the explosion.
Union Point Battery, one mile from Newbern
, mounted two guns.
It was manned by the Confederate Minstrels
, under the command of Charles O. White
This battery fired, but twice, and then with but little effect, the enemy being out of range.--Three of the Minstrels are missing.
It is thought they were taken prisoners.
Their names are given as Prof. Iradella
, James Wood
, and Frank Heineman
and Lieut. Col. Haywood
, the latter of Raleigh
, are known to have been killed.
The loss in silled and wounded is believed to be small, but it is thought that a large number were taken prisoners.
Col. Z. B. Vance
's and Col. Every
's regiments are said to have fought with great bravery, taking a battery of six pieces at the point of the bayonet; but it was afterwards regained by the Yankees
, who had been much strengthened by heavy reinforcements.
's battery of six guns was lost, and nearly all his men killed by the enemy's sharp shooters.
's battery of six guns was also lost, and about 60 horse.
We have been unable to learn who commanded.
One account says Gen. Lawrence O'B. Branch
was in command Others say that Gen.
B. was sick, and that the command devolved upon Col. Hill
We had but 6,000 men in the field and at the batteries.
Our loss in killed, wounded and prisoners, it is thought, will not exceed 1,000,
The railroad bridge across Neuse river
was not burnt until after all our troops had crossed, except those whose escape had been effectually cut off by the Yankees
The railroad bridge is said to have been an elegant structure, and of a most substantial character.
It was burnt by a raft, upon which was piled 200 barrels spirits of turpentine and 150 bales cotton.
The torch was applied, the raft set adrift, and in a few moments it lay alongside the piers of the bridge, and the costly fabric was wrapped in flame from end to end.
The turnpike bridge across the river was also burnt by our forces.
The Gaston House
, the Washington Hotel
, many churches, and the greater portion of the town, is in ashes.
A lad who left Friday night, and reached Petersburg
yesterday morning, says the Yankees
were busily engaged in endeavoring to check the progress of the flames, and it was thought that some few houses would be saved, at least enough to shelter the demons who have invaded the place.
All the cotton, about 200 bales, and 1,500 barrels of rosin and turpentine, besides naval stores, were destroyed.
The theatre, it is said, escaped destruction.
Here the Yankees
secured about 25 kegs of gunpowder, which had been stored there for the manufacture of cartridges.
The steamer Post Boy
was destroyed by the Confederates
, but the Albemarle
, with a schooner in tow, loaded with commissary stores, was taken by the gunboats of the enemy.
It is said that Burnside
sent in a couple of officers, under a white flag, to declare to the people that they would not be molested, nor would their property be interfered with.
It was stated, however, that all soldiers or other persons found with arms in their hands would be arrested.
The Daily Progress
office falls into the hands of the enemy, but the proprietor, Mr. Pennington
, had thrown all the type into pi, and so disabled the press that it could not be used.
All the rolling stock of the railroad was saved, and but few persons remained in the town.
Women and children were overtaken by the trains many miles from Newbern
, some in vehicles of various kinds, and many on foot.
The people, with but few exceptions, say they prefer death to living in Newbern
under Yankee rule.
Eight miles from Newbern
, a member of the 27.
h N. C. regiment, named M. M. Hunter
, was found lying on the track, with a portion of his head blown off by an exploding shell.
He had walked that distance, when he fell from loss of blood.
He was taken up, but died on reaching Goldsboro
Another solder, who had been shot through the head by a musket ball, was walking about Goldsboro
' Friday evening, with the blood streaming from both sides, in pursuit of a physician.
He complained but little, and said his pains were not severe.
The obstructions which had been placed in Neuse river
, gave the Yankees
no annoyance whatever.
They had skillful pilots, and threaded the channel with as much facility as our own boats.
is the capital of Craven county
, and is situated at the confluence of the Neuse
and Trent rivers
, 120 miles Southeast of Raleigh
It was for many years the capital of the State
had a considerable trade before the war, and contained about 6,000 inhabitants.
Its chief articles of export were grain, lumber, turpentine, tar and naval stores.
Besides its court-house, jail and other public buildings, it contained several churches, two banks, and a theatre.
There were also elegant stores, and many very handsome private residences.
But one newspaper survived up to the present stage of the war — the Daily Progress
--and that is now discontinued, of course.
The taking of Newbern
throws Beaufort and Morehead City, distance about 42' miles, into the enemy's possession.
We fear, too, that the supplies for Fort Macon
will be cut off. It is stated that the garrison have been provisioned for a six months sledge, but we think this doubtful.
is the capital of Carteret county
, has a population of some 2,500, and contains, besides the county buildings, several seminaries of learning and two or three churches.
is a new settlement, but contains one or two very fine summer resorts.