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Doc. 134.-battle of Camden, N. C.1
fought April 19, 1862.

General Burnside's report.

headquarters Department North-Carolina, Newbern, April 29, 1862.
Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War:
sir: I have the honor to enclose Gen. Reno's report of the movements made by him, in accordance with my order, for the purpose of accomplishing certain objects already indicated in a former despatch, the main order of which was most successfully accomplished.

Gen. Reno's report gives a detailed account of the movement, and I need only add that I feel increased confidence in the brave officers and soldiers, who accomplished so much in so short a time.

Our loss in the engagement was fourteen killed and ninety-six wounded, and two taken prisoners. The enemy's loss must have been much greater, as the Chaplain of the New-York regiment, left in charge of the wounded, reports having seen on the field thirty killed, besides several wounded — the main body of the wounded having been taken from the field when they retreated.

Our forces drove the enemy from the field in a most gallant style; buried our dead; bivouacked on the field for seven hours; transported all the wounded, except fourteen, so severely wounded that they could not be moved, but who were comfortably provided for and left in charge of a surgeon and chaplain.

Gen. Reno then, in obedience to orders, returned to his fleet, and embarked his men. He felt less reluctance in leaving behind these fourteen wounded, with the surgeon and chaplain, from the fact that I had but a few days before released some eighty wounded, with the surgeons, who were left by the enemy in Newbern; and the commanding officer in that neighborhood would be less than human were he to refuse to release these wounded men as soon as they can be transported safety.

I beg to enclose my congratulatory order in the report of Gen. Reno; also, the correspondence between the General and the commanding officer at South-Mills.

I have the honor to be,

Your obedient servant,

A. E. Burnside, Major-General Commanding Department of North-Carolina.

Report of General Reno.

headquarters Second division, Newbern, N. C., April 22, 1862.
Capt. Lewis Richmond, Assistant Adjutant-General :
Captain: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to the order of Major-Gen. Burnside, I proceeded from Newbern, with the Twenty-first Massachusetts and Fifty-first Pennsylvania regiments, to Roanoke, and was there joined by part of the Ninth and Eighty-ninth New-York and Sixth New-Hampshire.

We proceeded directly to Elizabeth City, and commenced disembarking on the nineteenth inst., at midnight, at a point about three miles below, on the east side. By three P. M., Col. Hawkins's brigade, consisting of the Ninth and Eighty-ninth New-York and Sixth New-Hampshire, were landed, and ready to move. I ordered Col. Hawkins to proceed at once with his brigade toward South-Mills, for the purpose of making a demonstration on Norfolk. I remained to bring up the other two regiments, they having been delayed by their vessels getting aground at the mouth of the river. They came up at daylight, and were landed by seven A. M. I proceeded directly toward South-Mills, and about twelve miles out met Col. Hawkins's brigade, who, it seems, lost his way, either by the treachery or incompetency of his guide — he having marched some ten miles out of his way. As his men were very much jaded by their long march, I ordered them to follow the Second brigade. Proceeding about four miles further, to within a mile and a half of South-Mills, [476] the rebels opened upon us with artillery, ,before my advanced guard discovered them.

I immediately reconnoitred their position, and found that they were posted in an advantageous position, in line perpendicular to the road-their infantry in ditches, and their artillery commanding all the direct approaches; their rear protected by a dense forest. I ordered the Fifty-first Pennsylvania immediately to file to the right, and pass over to the edge of the woods to turn their left. I also ordered the Twenty-first Massachusetts to pursue the same course; and when Col. Hawkins came up with his brigade, I sent him with the Ninth and Eighty-Ninth New-York to their support. The Sixth New-Hampshire were formed in line to the left of the road, and ordered to support our four pieces of artillery. Owing to the excessive fatigue of the men, they could not reach their position for some time.

In the mean time the enemy kept up a brisk artillery fire, which was gallantly responded to by our small pieces, under charge of Colonel Howard, of the “Coast guard,” who, during the entire engagement, displayed most conspicuous gallantry, and rendered very efficient service, both during the action and upon the return, he bringing up the rear. As soon as the Fifty-first Pennsylvania and Twenty-first Massachusetts had succeeded in turning their left, they opened a brisk musketry fire, and about the same time the Ninth New-York, also coming in range, and being too eager to engage, unfortunately charged upon the enemy's artillery. It was a most gallant charge, but they were exposed to a most deadly fire of grape and musketry, and were forced to retire, but rallied immediately upon the Eighty-ninth New-York coming up. I then ordered both regiments to form a junction with the Twenty-first Massachusetts.

In the mean time the Fifty-first Pennsylvania and Twenty-first Massachusetts kept up an incessant fire upon the rebels, who now had withdrawn their artillery and had commenced to retreat in good order. The Sixth New-Hampshire had steadily advanced in line to the left of the road, and when within about two hundred yards poured in a most deadly volley, which completely demoralized the enemy and ended the battle. Our men were so completely fagged out by the intense heat and their long march that we could not pursue them. The men rested under arms in line of battle until about ten o'clock P. M., when I ordered a return to our boats, having accomplished the principal object of the expedition, conveying the idea that the entire “Burnside expedition” was marching upon Norfolk. Owing to want of transportation, I was compelled to leave some sixteen of our most severely wounded men. Assist. Surg. Warren was left with them. I sent a flag of truce the next day to ask that they might be returned to us, Commander Rowan kindly volunteering to attend to it.

We took only a few prisoners, some ten or fifteen, most of whom belonged to the Third Georgia regiment.

The Ninth New-York suffered most severely, owing to their premature charge-our total loss in killed and wounded being about ninety, some sixty belonging to that regiment.

The officers and men of the several regiments all behaved with their usual gallantry, and many are worthy of particular mention, and I presume the brigade and regimental commanders will do justice to their respective commands. I will forward their reports as soon as received.

The return march was made in perfect order, and few if any stragglers were left behind. Considering that during the advance the weather was intensely hot and that on the return a severe rain rendered the roads very muddy, and that a portion of the command had to march forty-five miles, and the others thirty-five, and fight a battalion the mean time, and that all this was accomplished in less than twenty-four hours, I think that the Commanding General has every reason to be satisfied with his command.

I desire to return my thanks to Commander Rowan and the officers and men under him for their untiring energy in disembarking and reembarking my command; and also to Lieut. Flusser for the gallant manner in which he assisted us by proceeding up the river and driving the enemy out of the woods along the banks.

Col. Hawkins, commanding the First brigade, and Lieut.-Col. Bell commanding the Second, both displayed a conspicuous courage, as did also the regimental commanders. Lieut.-Col. Clark commanded the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Major Schall the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, Lieut.-Col. Kimball the Ninth New-York, and Lieut.-Col. Griffen the Sixth New-Hampshire. Capt. Fearing, the aid-de-camp of Gen. Burnside, accompanied me as a volunteer aid, and rendered efficient and gallant service; also Capt. Ritchie, A. C.S., and Lieutenants Gordon and Breed, of the Signal Corps. My own aids, Lieuts. Reno and Morris, behaved with their usual gallantry.

As soon as the brigade and regimental reports are furnished I will forward them, together with a complete list of killed and wounded.

The enemy's loss was considerable, but they succeeded in carrying off most of their wounded. Several, however, were left on the field, one of which was a captain of the Third Georgia regiment. The color-bearer of the Third Georgia regiment was shot down by the Twenty-first Massachusetts while waving defiantly his traitorous flag. The enemy had from six to ten pieces of artillery and from eighteen hundred to two thousand men. We approached to within thirty miles of Norfolk, and undoubtedly the defeat of one of their best regiments, the Third Georgia, produced considerable panic at Norfolk.

I have the honor to be, respectfully,

J. L. Reno, Commanding Brigadier-General Second Division.

Report of Lieut.-Col. Kimball.

headquarters, Ninth regiment N. Y. V., Roanoke Island, N. C., April 21, 1862
Colonel: I have the honor to report that in pursuance of your order of the eighteenth inst., [477] I left this camp at eleven o'clock of that day, and proceeded to your headquarters with the Ninth regiment New-York volunteers, numbering an aggregate force of seven hundred and twenty-seven men, with whom I embarked on the transport steamer Ocean Wave. I then proceeded to land my command at the point designated by you, the whole force having to wade middle deep in water in order to reach the shore from the surfboats.

I landed with the first detachment, company A, Capt. Graham, whom I ordered forward to take possession of a house about one eighth of a mile from the point of landing, and also to throw forward a picket on the road toward Camden, which order he promptly executed. I then formed the remaining companies of the regiment in line of battle and awaited your order, which I received from you in person at about two o'clock on the morning of the nineteenth.

From this time until you were seriously wounded, while gallantly leading your command in a charge against the enemy, I shall not attempt to enter so fully into details as I otherwise should had not your regiment during that period been constantly under your eye and immediate command. Allow me, however, to express my gratitude and admiration at the cheerful and determined manner with which the men endured every hardship and fatigue of the march, and notwithstanding they had no sleep the night before, they made the entire march (of not less than thirty miles) in their wet clothes and stockings, in a broiling sun, and arrived at the field of battle in less than eight hours. At this time the troops were so exhausted they could hardly drag one leg after the other; but when the order to charge was given they replied with a cheer, and attacked the enemy in a manner so intrepid and determined as to force him back; and, although not at the time entering his position, the object of the charge was accomplished, as, upon being partially repulsed, our movement to the woods on his left led him to suppose he was to be attacked on his flank and rear, when he immediately evacuated his position.

The bravery and intrepidity displayed by every one in this charge — which was made across an open field of seven hundred yards in front of the enemy, who was posted in the woods on our left and in front, and consequently completely enfilading us by his fire — has but few parallels.

Where all behaved so gallantly it would be invidious to mention as particularly distinguished one above the other; but I would take this opportunity to call your very favorable attention to Major Jardine, (slightly wounded,) who on this occasion (as well as on all others when required) displayed a care for the regiment and gallantry on the battle-field seldom equalled. Capts. Graham and Hammill, Lieuts. Bartholomew, Klingsochr, Powell, and McKechnie, wounded, (the latter being in command, the captain of the company having been left in command of this camp;) Capts. Le Baire, Parisen, and Leahy, also Capt. Whiting, Lieuts. Morris and Herbert, in charge of the battery of the regiment, did splendid service. Lieuts. Childs and Barnett, (the captain being absent recruiting,) John K. Perley, (the captain falling out from exhaustion, being sick when he joined the expedition,) Lieut. Webster, in command of company H after the captain was wounded — all commanding companies — are entitled to great credit.

Lieuts. Fleming, Cooper, Burdett, Donaldson, Henry Perley, (the latter in command of company F after the captain was wounded,) sustained their previous high reputation. Surgeon Humphries, of this regiment, Acting Brigade Surgeon, is entitled to very great credit, having been constantly in attendance on the wounded till after their arrival at this place, and upwards of twenty-eight hours without sleep. I would also, on behalf of Surgeon Humphries and myself, express our own and the thanks of the entire regiment to Surgeon Jones, of the United States Navy, attached to the flag-ship Philadelphia; and Squires, of the Eighty-ninth New-York volunteers, and Assistant Surgeon Cooper, of the Sixth New-Hampshire volunteers, for assistance rendered to our wounded.

I cannot close this report without bearing testimony to the good conduct on the battle-field and in the field-hospital of the Rev. T. W. Conway, chaplain of this regiment. He not only encouraged the men on the field, but remained after the army had left, and aided the wounded in hospital, and buried and performed the funeral services over all the dead of the different regiments. He then collected, took command of, and brought safely into camp, detachments from the different regiments of about forty stragglers who had fallen out by the roadside from exhaustion.

I would call particular attention to the wounded non-commissioned officers and privates whose names accompany this report, all of whom patiently endured their painful wounds till they could be properly attended to, without a murmur, many of them with cheerfulness, thereby showing their discipline as soldiers and determination as patriots.

Although the field was won, its price was dear to the regiment, and particularly so in the loss of its Adjutant — that gallant soldier and gentleman--Lieut. Charles A. Gadsden. He was but lately appointed and been only on duty with the regiment for the short space of five days ; yet in that time he had shown his ability as a soldier and endeared himself to all with whom he had come in contact. He died gallantly at the head of the regiment and in the honorable performance of the duties of his profession, which he had so lately adopted. All regret his death, and will ever kindly and proudly remember him and his connection with us. The deaths of Corporals Otto Von Grieff and William Saward, and privates Dillman, Kelly, Shephard, Caranaughe, Mayne, and Daly are deeply felt by their companions and the entire regiment. Their friends may know that they died as true soldiers are willing to die — honorably fighting for the flag of their country — and that their names are embalmed in the [478] hearts of their comrades, and will ever when spoken be revered by a grateful people. After the battle the regiment bivouacked on the ground from which the enemy was dislodged, and scarcely had the men thrown themselves down, when, notwithstanding the rain was falling fast, they were in a profound sleep, from which they were soon after with difficulty awakened, with an order to immediately take up their march for our transports. Upon arising from the ground, I found myself almost totally disabled from the pain of a sprained knee and foot, with which, you are aware, I had been suffering during the day; and, as my horse was shot from under me during the action, I was compelled to temporarily place Major Jardine in command of the regiment, who formed it in the most admirable manner in the short space of ten minutes, not a word being spoken except the commands of the officers, given in whispers — shortly after which a horse was procured for me, when I resumed command. I then, in accordance with orders, marched the regiment at a quick pace through mud ankle deep, in almost pitch darkness, a distance of twelve miles to the draw-bridge near Camden, which we held till the entire army had passed over, at daylight. I then, as previously directed, cut away the bridge, and then with my command brought up the rear of the last division, arriving at our transports at about nine o'clock A. M., with many of the men barefooted, completely exhausted, and their feet blistered and skinned, after which nothing worthy of note transpired.

The following is a list of the prisoners taken by the Ninth New-York volunteers, on or near the battle-field at South-Mills, Camden County, April 19, 1862:

D. E. Elder, company L, Third regiment Georgia volunteers.

James Y. Banes, company B, Third regiment Georgia volunteers.

Hardey Jennigan, company C, Third regiment Georgia volunteers.

Falman Berry, supposed North-Carolina militia.

Peter Sawyer, supposed North-Carolina militia.

Tinley Brown, supposed North-Carolina militia.

Lemuel Sawyer, supposed North--Carolina militia.

Wm. Williams, supposed North-Carolina militia.

Benjamin Clark, supposed North-Carolina militia.

In conclusion, allow me again to express my thanks to every officer and man of the regiment engaged in this action, and to bear testimony to their coolness under the hottest of fires, and general good conduct as soldiers under all circumstances, and also to express our united thanks and gratitude to yourself for the consideration you bestowed upon us, and gallantry with which you led us upon this as well as other occasions.

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

E. A. Kimball, Lieut.-Col. Commanding Ninth New-York Volunteers. To Col. Rush C. Hawkins, Ninth New-York Volunteers, Commanding Brigade.

Congratulatory order of Gen. Burnside.

headquarters Department of North-Carolina, April 6, 1862.
The Commanding General desires to express his high appreciation of the excellent conduct of the forces under command of Brig.-Gen. Reno, in the late demonstration upon Norfolk. He congratulates them as well upon the manly fortitude with which they endured excessive heat and extraordinary fatigue, on a forced march of forty miles in twenty-four hours, as upon the indomitable courage with which, notwithstanding their exhaustion, they attacked a large body of the enemy's best artillery, infantry and cavalry, in their own chosen position, achieving a complete victory.

It is therefore ordered, as a deserved tribute to the perseverance, discipline, and bravery exhibited by the officers and soldiers of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Fifty-first Pennsylvania, Ninth New-York, Eighty-ninth New-York, and Sixth New-Hampshire, on the nineteenth of April, a day already memorable in the history of our country, that the above regiments inscribe upon their respective colors the name “Camden, April 19th.”

The General Commanding desires to express his approbation of Gen. Reno's strict observance of his orders, when the temptation to follow the retreating enemy was so great.

Care of the wounded.

headquarters Second brigade, Department of North-Carolina, April 20, 1862.
To the Commanding Officer at Elizabeth City, or at South-Mills:
sir: In the recent engagement near South-Mills, owing to the lack of transportation, I was compelled to leave a few of my wounded under the charge of one of our surgeons. As it has been invariably our practice to release the wounded on parole, I confidently anticipate that you will pursue the same course, in which case you will please inform Commander Rowan at what time and place they can be received. I also request permission to remove the body of Lieutenant Gadsden, of the Ninth New-York. The Surgeon will point out the place of his interment.

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

J. L. Reno, Brigadier-General.

Department of Norfolk, headquarters Third brigade Volunteers, Camden Co., N. C., April 21.
To Brig.-Gen. J. L. Reno, U. S. A.:
General: In reply to your letter of the twentieth instant, I have to state that I have referred the subject of the wounded men to department headquarters, and am instructed to inform you that they will be paroled and sent to Commander Rowan as soon as they are able to be transported, of which due notice will be [479] given. The body of Lieut. Gadsden will be sent as soon as possible. The surgeon will be released with the paroled wounded. I have now to call your attention to the case of Lieutenant H. E. Jarrigan, company C, Third Georgia volunteers, who was left as a nurse with Lieutenant Wilson of the same regiment, wounded and paroled. I ask that Jarrigan be paroled or exchanged for one of your men prisoners in our possession.

Your obedient servant,

Albert Blanchard, Brigadier-General C. S.A.

Account by one of the wounded.

United States General hospital, Fortress Monroe, Va., April 26, 1862.
dear Father and mother: I suppose you both will be greatly surprised to hear that I am back again to the hospital at the Fortress, but not with sickness this time, but in consequence of a wound which I received last Saturday afternoon in the fight at South-Mills.

You know I said in my last letter that we expected to have another fight soon. Well, last Friday, the eighteenth, we embarked on board the steamer Ocean Wave--the other regiments going on other boats. About half-past 1 o'clock at night we landed at a place called Green Bank. We had to wade from the steamer about one quarter of a mile through the water. We commenced our march at half-past 2, and kept on till they attacked us about four o'clock in the afternoon. We had marched nearly thirty-eight miles.

We were ordered by Gen. Reno, that is, our regiment, the Ninth New-York, and the Eighty-ninth New-York, to flank the battery on the right. I think there was not a musket fired on either side, it was all cannonading. I tell you what it is, our two small pieces did good service.

Well, we got on the right of them and lay down in the woods to rest and waited for further orders. We lay down because we were so awful tired, and fell asleep in no time. At last Col. Hawkins came and told us we could finish the work if we could march about three quarters of a mile further and then charge on them the rest of the mile and drive them all away.

He said he knew that we were tired and worn out, and if we did not feel able to do so we must say so. But, you know, all our boys love their dear Colonel, and would follow him anywhere. We all sprang to our feet and shouted: “Charge the battery!”

In front of the battery was a large open cornfield. In this we started our charge. Our company, (B,) you know, is on the right of the line. As soon as they saw our red caps coming, they opened fire with musketry. We were about halfway across the field when our corporal fell. We were going in when the corporal fell. I turned to look at him, when I was shot; the ball, a Minie, struck me between the knee and thigh. I tried to get up, but found it easier said than done — the bone was shattered to pieces. After the fight cleared away a little, we were carried on stretchers to a house which was used as our hospital.

I must stop, as the doctor has come to dress my wound.

He has finished. I had cold water applications only to my leg, until Tuesday, when the surgeon left in charge of the wounded cut it off. I did not know it was off until about an hour afterward.

So now I am minus a leg! But never mind, dear parents. I suffer but little pain, and will be home in a few weeks, I think.

The head-surgeon of the hospital and all treat me so kindly; when they heard I was here they all came to see me.

Surgeon Bontogue is the head man here. He tells me I can get up in a few days and walk with crutches.

My dinner is by my side, and I will close my letter, wishing you both not to mourn about me, for I am all right. Write soon to your affectionate son,

William V. H. Cortelyou, Company B, Ninth Regiment, N. Y. V.

A National account.

Newbern, N. C., April 25, 1862.
A short time since I was given to understand that a reconnaissance in force would be made in the vicinity of Norfolk, by a portion of the Burnside Expedition.

Learning that the enemy had a brigade of their best men stationed at Elizabeth City, it was evident to me that an engagement with the enemy would take place between Elizabeth City and Norfolk.

When last at Elizabeth City, I learned that the rebel force was composed of the Georgia Third volunteers, a regiment of North-Carolina volunteers, a regiment of Louisiana Wild Cats, a regiment of Virginia cavalry, two batteries from Louisiana, of two hundred and fifty men each, a few companies of militia, amounting to a little over five thousand men altogether.

All of this force had been called to Yorktown and Norfolk, and part, I learn, left for those places on the eighteenth inst. The remainder were to leave on the twenty-first inst., which was the day that the Georgia Third expected to be mustered out of service, as their time for which they enlisted expired on that day; but to their astonishment, they were informed that the rebel Congress had decided that no more regiments were to be mustered out of service until the war was over. As you may imagine, this sweeping impressment was not relished in the least by this regiment, which is one of the best Georgia has in the field.

Gen. Reno, who was designated to take command of this expedition, left Newbern on the morning of the seventeenth inst., with two regiments of his brigade, the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Lieut.-Col. Clark, and Fifty-first Pennsylvania, Col. Hartranft, which embarked on the army transports Northerner, Admiral, Pilot Boy, and Ocean Wave, for Roanoke Island, in convoy of the flag-ship Philadelphia, Com. Rowan, and the [480] war-steamers Delaware, Lieut. Commanding S. P. Quackenbush, and the Picket, Capt. Ives, arriving at Roanoke Island on the evening of the seventeenth, a distance of one hundred and twenty miles, where they anchored until morning.

Early on the morning of the eighteenth, Com. Rowan and staff, together with Gen. Reno and staff, went on shore and paid a visit to Col. Hawkins, Acting Brigadier-General, in command of the forces on Roanoke Island, who was to join the expedition with three regiments of his brigade, the Ninth and Eighty-ninth New-York and Sixth New-Hampshire. After a brief consultation, it was decided to embark Col. Hawkins's three regiments as soon as possible, and get under way, so as to reach the mouth of the Pasquotank River, on which Elizabeth City is situated, before dark. The fleet was then to move up the river and land the troops some three miles this side of Elizabeth City, at midnight, when part of the force was to push on rapidly, by a circuitous route, and take possession of the canal bridge, some twenty miles this side of Norfolk, for the purpose of cutting off the retreat of the rebel force left at Elizabeth City — some one thousand eight hundred strong.

Col. Hawkins with his three regiments was detailed to perform this work, leaving Gen. Reno with two regiments to bring up the rear, in order that we might get the enemy between our forces, when Gen. Reno anticipated no difficulty in making prisoners of them all.

Col. Howard, of the Marine Artillery, and commander of the war-steamer Virginia, was also included in the expedition, with a battery of light field-pieces.

Col. Hawkins's force embarked on the Phoenix, Capt. Ashcroft, Massasoit, Capt. Clark, Philadelphia, and Ocean Wave.

All was in readiness by ten o'clock A. M., when the fleet left the island and proceeded slowly to the point where the troops were to be landed, which job was to be completed between twelve and one o'clock, before the moon rose, and as quietly as possible.

When we arrived at our destination it was about ten o'clock in the evening, and quite as dark as necessary for all practical purposes. Preparations were at once made to land the force as expeditiously as possible. The blockading squadron at Elizabeth City were in readiness to render all assistance in their power to Gen. Reno. They tendered all their launches and small boats, and the services of their officers and crews to assist in the landing of the troops, which consumed much more time than was at first anticipated.

Col. Hawkins's three regiments were all landed, however, and on the march, by two o'clock, leaving General Reno to land his two regiments, the army wagons, four in number, together with the horses belonging to the same, and the field-pieces, a tedious job, which was not completed until daylight.

It was a beautiful and imposing sight to witness the landing of these troops by moonlight, with horses, wagons, field-pieces, etc. Some on rafts and some in small boats. Some of them wading even cheerfully through the water in their anxiety to reach the shore first.

Had it not been for the valuable assistance rendered by the gunboats in landing, Gen. Reno would have been delayed many hours longer. He expressed himself as under many obligations to the officers and men of the entire navy fleet at Elizabeth City, many of whom plunged into the water, and worked like heroes until everything was landed, and the force on the march. Among those boats most efficient in this good work were the Perry, Delaware, Lockwood, Picket, South-field, Stars and Stripes, Underwriter, Putnam, Ceres, Shawsheen, and Whitehead.

By five o'clock on the morning of the nineteenth, Reno's column was in motion. So quietly had the landing of the troops been effected that no alarm whatever was given by the enemy's pickets, four of whom were found asleep not more than fifty rods from our place of debarkation. It is also evident that the rebel troops at Elizabeth City, three miles from the landing, knew nothing of our approach or operations during the night, for they were in their camp, near the city, when our gunboats went and shelled them out at daylight.

When our gunboats moved up to the city, and let fly their shells into the camp of the sleeping rebels, they were greatly surprised at such an unceremonious call so early in the morning, and in great confusion they started for Norfolk, with Gen. Reno at their heels in close pursuit.

Before proceeding further, I must not forget to mention that much credit is due to C. H. Flusser, of the Commodore Perry, commanding the squadron at Elizabeth City, for planning this affair. No naval officer on this coast has given the rebels more hard knocks and greater frights than this brave and efficient officer, who is a terror to the whole Southern conspiracy. Soon after daylight, Gen. Reno was in close pursuit of the enemy, with the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Fifty-first Pennsylvania, and Col. Harrard's battery.

It was a lovely morning; the birds were singing and skipping from one green bough to another, as if attracted by our beautiful colors. The roads were in good condition, which enabled our troops to get rapidly over the ground. The people along the route knew nothing of our coming until we were passing their doors, when of course it was too late for them to get up a fright.

The Union sentiment was openly manifested by the inhabitants all along the route. At one house the inmates were so overjoyed at our coming as to make demonstrations of delight, by waving the Stars and Stripes, which brought forth deafening cheers from our troops, many of whom shed tears of joy on seeing the strong attachment to the old flag by these oppressed people. Other Union citizens informed us that the Stars and Stripes had been taken from them by the rebels, otherwise they would have given us a like reception.

Many of the Union-loving inhabitants offered [481] refreshments and cold water to our troops as they passed by their houses. Some would collect together hastily what victuals they had cooked, run to the doors and windows, and hand out a lunch to the soldiers, with cheerful words of encouragement, as the troops passed on singing patriotic songs.

The day was unusually warm, which caused the men to drink a great deal of water, and, before the first ten miles had been travelled, our troops were much exhausted, many of them showing signs of fatigue of a definite character; having been on the go all night without food or rest, followed by this rapid march, which, under a burning sun, was quite enough to test the endurance of strong men.

Everything was progressing finely, however, and the prospect of securing our game was as good as could be desired, up to eleven o'clock, when one of Gen. Reno's Aids came up and informed him of the mortifying fact that Col. Hawkins's force had taken the wrong road, and had gone some ten miles out of their way, which would enable the enemy to reach the bridge in advance of our troops, make their escape from us complete, and form a junction with the remainder of the rebel force which left Elizabeth City the day before. These were not far from the bridge, in the vicinity of which were rebel intrenchments and batteries to protect the canal at this point, from whence supplies had been carried to Norfolk in considerable quantities.

All hopes of overhauling the enemy and having an engagement vanished on learning that Colonel Hawkins's force was in the rear of General Reno. However, General Reno decided to push on and make the reconnoissance, which was the chief object of the expedition. He could thus return to Elizabeth City on the following morning in order to connect with the boats for Roanoke Island and Newbern, which points he was to reach by a given time, Gen. Burnside having given positive orders in regard to the length of time he was to be absent.

Our course was in a northerly direction from Elizabeth City, on the direct road to Norfolk. As I said before, we had given up all hopes of overhauling the enemy, after learning that he had succeeded in getting ahead of us; but this mishap, however, did not cause Gen. Reno to slacken his speed in the least; on the contrary, he rushed on all the faster, that he might be able to complete his mission and return the sooner. By ten o'clock the heat was very oppressive, and the men began to show signs of fatigue, the effects of their sleepless night and rapid march on empty stomachs. Gen. Reno would order frequent halts for a few moments in order to give the troops a breathing spell as well as an opportunity to refresh themselves with a new supply of cold water.

At eleven o'clock A. M., to our surprise, we were upon the heels of the flying foe; of this fact we were made aware by a movement of the rebel cavalry, which fell back a short distance in the rear of their force and fired a few shots at our advanced pickets. On went General Reno's forces, however, with increased speed, pursuing the enemy until about one o'clock P. M., when it was evident that he had reached their batteries, and formed a junction with the rebel force that left Elizabeth City the day before. Along the roadside were woods and groves, and frequent clearings. The country was low, and under a very poor state of cultivation, and not very well cleared up, abounding more in swamps and woods than anything else.

About one o'clock we came to a clearing on each side of the road, which was the shape of a half-circle, some two miles through, the square side of which was in front, we having entered the curved side. All around this circle were dense woods, the road leading direct through the centre of the circle, in a northerly direction, which at this point was an air-line, for some three or four miles. As Gen. Reno's forces reached the centre of this half-circle, and before we had any idea that the enemy intended to make a stand, boom went their batteries and down this straight road came their shells, at a furious rate — a sudden invitation for us to halt and prepare for action.

Your correspondent was on the front wagon, seated by the side of Wagon-Master Plummer, engaged in a pleasant conversation, when the first shell came within a few inches of our heads. Down the road it went, just over the heads of the whole line, giving us all the benefit of its hissing notes.

In an instant all was commotion and activity. The first movement was to get the wagons — which were loaded with ammunition, etc.--out of the road, and bring up the howitzers, two of which were hitched on behind the wagons; the other two were with Col. Hawkins, who was at this time some four miles in our rear, with his force.

Gen. Reno at once ordered his two regiments, the Twenty-first Massachusetts and Fifty-first Pennsylvania, to take shelter in the woods to the right, and gradually to work their way up on to the right wing of the enemy, and get ready to charge upon him when Col. Hawkins should arrive with his force, he having been sent for by Gen. Reno to come forward with all possible despatch.

Col. Howard immediately advanced with his two howitzers, which were with Gen. Reno's command. Lieut. Herbert of the Ninth New-York was captain of one, and Lieut. Morris of the same regiment captain of the other. These pieces were run forward in the face of a raking fire from the enemy's batteries until they arrived within a few hundred feet of their guns, when Col. Howard and his brave men opened a brisk fire with telling effect, refusing to give an inch.

The enemy had selected a very desirable position, which enabled them to command the approaches from the road, as well as from the field. They were in a grove on the square side of this half-circle, sheltered by the trees, and in front of their position was a road running east and west, by the edge of the grove. We were approaching [482] them on the road which led directly north. A rail fence was right in front of the enemy, running east and west, behind which was a deep ditch, which answered the very excellent purpose of an intrenchment, all made to hand. The fence, which was only separated by this road from the grove, answered the purpose of shelter, and also enabled the enemy to rest their muskets and thus secure a steady aim, giving them the advantage of us in every particular.

One of the enemy's batteries, of four field-pieces, was located at the head of the road in our front, enabling it to rake the whole road for a great distance. This battery was playing upon our howitzers. The other battery, of four guns, belonging to the enemy, commanded the open field which our regiments were obliged to cross in order to reach the open field on the right. An incessant fire from this battery was kept up on the Twenty-first Massachusetts and Fifty-first Pennsylvania as they were crossing the field for the woods, almost within musket-range of the rebels, to get their position. In these woods there was a thick underbrush, which made it almost impossible for our troops to advance. And furthermore, they could not penetrate the woods far enough to shelter them from the enemy's guns; they nevertheless pushed bravely forward in the face of a severe fire, eager to get as near the enemy's right wing as possible before the time came for the charge.

About one hour and a half was thus consumed before Hawkins arrived, with but a slight loss on either side, no musketry having been fired up to this time. Only the batteries were engaged.

At three o'clock Col. Hawkins came up with the Ninth New-York, (the Hawkins Zouaves,) the Eighty-ninth New-York, and Sixth New-Hampshire, with Col. Howard's other two howitzers. Lieuts. Gerard and Avery of the Union Coast Guard, were the captains of these guns.

Gen. Reno ordered Col. Hawkins with the Ninth New-York and Eighty-ninth New-York to the right in the woods to the support of the Twenty-first Massachusetts and Fifty-first Pennsylvania, and to work around the right wing of the enemy and get into his rear, so as to cut off his retreat if it was possible. The Sixth New-Hampshire was ordered by Gen. Reno to the woods on the left, to keep possession of the road that led to the east, and thus prevent the enemy's escape in that direction. To secure this position, the Sixth New-Hampshire would be obliged to come within musket-range of the enemy's left wing and also face his batteries, but a few hundred yards in front of them. It was asking almost too much of little New-Hampshire, and I must confess I had some misgivings in regard to their ability to carry out an undertaking so perilous.

Gen. Reno detailed Lieut. Reno of his staff to accompany the Sixth New-Hampshire on to the field, with orders to execute this movement with all possible despatch, as it would doubtless decide the fate of the day.

The brave sons of New-Hampshire reported themselves in readiness for the work, and said they would go wherever they were led. Off they started with fixed bayonets on a double-quick, up the road commanded by the enemy's batteries, which opened a rapid fire on them as they wheeled to the left to execute the order.

By this time, the Twenty-first Massachusetts, closely followed by the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, had worked their way well up to the extreme right of the enemy, who had sent pickets out to annoy this advance, but they were soon driven in by two companies of the Massachusetts Twenty-first, who were some distance ahead.

At this particular juncture, Col. Hawkins came out in the open field in front of — the enemy, with the Ninth and Eighty-ninth New-York volunteers, with the intention of charging bayonets on their centre, a movement which Gen. Reno says was entirely unexpected and unauthorized by him. Col. H. formed his Zouaves in line of battle, supported by the Eighty-ninth New-York volunteers, and started with fixed bayonets at a double-quick on the charge. The enemy, on seeing them approach, turned at once all of their field-pieces and musketry upon the Zouaves, giving them a sweeping broadside from their masked batteries and covered intrenchments, which cut the regiment up at a fearful rate, and when they saw their Colonel and a large number of their officers fall, together with some sixty odd of their companions, throwing them into confusion for the time being.

Adjutant Gadsden, a very worthy young man, who had only been with the regiment a few days, was killed. Colonel Hawkins received a severe wound in the arm, and many of his officers were also severely wounded. The regiment, however, was soon rallied again by Lieut.-Col. Kimball and Major Jardine. The former has distinguished himself in many engagements, and in this charge had a horse shot under him. Major Jardine behaved equally as brave. Both are fine officers, and there can be no question of their gallantry. The regiment was quickly formed, ready for another charge, when Col. Hawkins revived and came up to lead them on again. The Eighty-ninth New-York volunteers now dashed forward in fine style with fixed bayonets on a doublequick to meet the enemy, with Col. Fairchilds at their head, and the other officers in their places.

By this time the Twenty-first Massachusetts had secured a good position within musketrange of the enemy, upon whom they had just opened a deadly fire, and were driving him to the left, when they discovered the other regiments getting ready for a charge. So Col. Clark of this regiment, a brave and accomplished officer, resolved to charge with the rest. The Fifty-first Pennsylvania, like the Massachusetts Twenty-first, had steadily advanced under cover of the woods and worked their way well up to the right wing of the enemy in the face of a raking fire, without flinching, eagerly waiting for the signal to spring upon the foe. The rebels saw that our force was in earnest and that they were [483] to give them the cold steel if they remained long enough to afford the “Yankees” the opportunity.

Every thing was in readiness, the signal given, and on sprang all of our regiments simultaneously to the charge, with deafening yells. The rebels now sprang up from their hiding-places, with the intention of giving the Eighty-ninth New-York, who were right in front, the same reception they gave the Zouaves. The Sixth New-Hampshire, now close on to the enemy's left, discovering this movement, suddenly halted, taking a deadly aim, right oblique, and at the command “Fire,” sent a thousand well-directed bullets into the rebel ranks, cutting them up in the most shocking manner, sending terror and consternation among the foe, who broke and fled in the wildest confusion from their intrenchments, as our five regiments sprang in upon them. The day was ours. The victory was complete. The struggle was the most fearful and best contested of the Burnside Expedition.

The enemy's position was a perfect Gibraltar, and their force consisted of the whole brigade which was stationed at Elizabeth City, over five thousand strong. So says one of the prisoners we captured. Our force was less than four thousand, some of the regiments having left part of their number behind, and when our troops went into action they were nearly exhausted, having marched all night and all day through the most opppressive heat imaginable. The rebel dead and wounded lay all over the field; many of the latter, however, among whom were a large number of officers, were carried off just before they were routed. I am informed that the enemy's dead lay in heaps all through the woods. The chaplain of the Ninth New-York says he counted some sixty rebel bodies in one place, a considerable distance from their intrenchments, which doubtless was the effect of Col. Howard's battery, who, with his men, are all entitled to distinguished honors for their brave and efficient conduct all through the engagement. Col. Howard walked up the centre of the road, in front of the enemy's battery, until he arrived within musketrange, when he very coolly took a survey of their position through his glass, which so confounded them that they hardly knew what to make of this strange and daring move. After satisfying himself as to the number of their guns and their location, he turned and retraced his steps, walking down the centre of the road as deliberately as a farmer would return from the labors of the day, neither looking to the right or left at the shells which were flying in great numbers each side of him, one striking the flap of his coat.

Col. Howard, seeing that the position of the New-Hampshire regiment would give his battery some protection, ordered his four pieces up to the place where he had taken the survey. This command was obeyed cheerfully, and soon caused the rebels to fall back with their battery at the head of the road.

As soon as the battle was over, Gen. Reno detailed companies to go and bring the rebel wounded into our hospital for treatment, among whom was a colonel, whose name I was unable to ascertain. We also captured several prisoners, who said they were glad to fall into our hands.

It was a sickening sight to go over the field after the battle and behold the dead and wounded on both sides, all of whom endured their sufferings with remarkable fortitude.

Some of those who took an extensive survey of the rebel grounds after the battle, estimate the loss of the enemy as much greater than ours. Some say it will reach as high as three hundred. I am inclined to think, however, that two hundred and thirty will cover the entire loss, exclusive of prisoners.

Our loss, in killed and wounded, amounts to one hundred and thirteen, distributed as follows:

Ninth New-York,960
Eighty-Ninth New-York,13
Twenty-first Massachusetts,114
Fifty-first Pennsylvania,319
Sixth New-Hampshire,12

Among the number killed was one commissioned officer, Adjutant Gadsden, of the Zouaves, and two non-commissioned officers.

This engagement took place on the nineteenth of April, in the extreme northern part of Camden County, near the State line, twenty miles from Norfolk, and has been designated as the battle of Camden. The day will long be remembered as the anniversary of that on which the first blood was spilled in the streets of Baltimore.

Gen. Burnside is much elated over this important victory. He has paid a beautiful tribute to all the regiments engaged, and ordered that they inscribe “Camden” upon their banners, in commemoration of the brilliant triumph.

During the engagement Gen. Reno was in a very exposed position, coolly directing the different movements as he rode over the field, encouraging the troops by his intrepidity.

Capt. Fearing, of Gen. Burnside's staff, accompanied Gen. Reno as a volunteer aid, and was with him all through the dangers of the engagement, rendering valuable service. I got a glimpse of him as he was leading a force into the charge in the most skilful manner. Capt. Ritchie and Lieut. Reno, of Gen. Reno's staff, were equally as conspicuous in the fight, executing the General's orders with all promptness and despatch. The latter will share the honors with New-Hampshire.

Lieuts. Breed and Gordon, of the Signal Corps, also accompanied Gen. Reno as aids, and like the rest, performed their duty in the most fear-less manner.

So far as bravery is concerned, no fault can be found with a single officer or man in the whole expedition; if anything, there was too much recklessness displayed, causing a needless sacrifice of life.

The West may say much of the fighting qualities of her troops, but she must not forget the “Yankees” under Burnside, who have so satisfactorily [484] demonstrated their ability to cope with the best troops of the South.

After the battle, which ended about four o'clock P. M., Gen. Reno gave the troops six hours for repose. In the mean time the dead were buried and the wounded cared for, when we retraced our steps in the cool of the evening, arriving in good season at the landing, and forming a connection with the boats for Roanoke Island and Newbern, which places we reached by the time required by Gen. Burnside.

The enemy's wounded we were obliged to leave in the hospital in care of the surgeon of the Twenty-first Massachusetts; also a few of our wounded, who were injured too severely to justify their removal over a rough road, all of whom were brought down the next day in small boats that could go within three miles of the hospital.

Norfolk day-book account.

On Saturday afternoon, about two o'clock, eight companies of the Third Georgia regiment, under command of Col. Wright, attacked the enemy in an open field about two miles below South-Mills. The enemy's force was estimated at from three thousand five hundred to four thousand men, but notwithstanding the great odds in point of numbers against us, we succeeded in keeping the enemy at bay for a number of hours. Finally, owing to the fact that our ammunition had been exhausted, we were compelled to fall back to South-Mills, and from South-Mills to the Half-Way House, where we are now awaiting reenforcements. Our informant could not tell us the exact number of killed and wounded, but says it was at first estimated to be about one hundred. Since then the number has very much decreased, and from last accounts, our loss it is thought will not exceed fifty. The enemy's loss is represented as being very heavy, and is put down at from eight hundred to nine hundred. The account of the great havoc made among the Unionists by our artillery pieces, is confirmed by our informant.--Norfolk Day-Book, April 21.

1 this battle is also known by the name of the South-Mills.

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