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Doc. 95.-battle of Newbern, N. C., fought March 14, 1862.

General Burnside's report.

headquarters Department of North-Carolina, Newbern, March 16, 1862.
General L. Thomas, Adjutant-General United States Army:
General: I have the honor to report that, after embarking the troops with which I intended to attack Newbern, in conjunction with the naval force, on the morning of the eleventh, a rendezvous was made at Hatteras Inlet. Flag-Officer Goldsborough having been ordered to Hampton Roads, the naval fleet was left in command of Com. Rowan. Early on the morning of the twelfth, the entire force started for Newbern, and that night anchored off the mouth of Slocum's Creek, some eighteen miles from Newbern, where I, had decided to make a landing. The landing commenced by seven o'clock the next morning, under cover of the naval fleet, and was effected with the greatest enthusiasm by the troops. Many, too impatient for the boats, leaped into the water, and waded, waist-deep, to the shore, and then, after a toilsome march through the mud, the head of the column marched within a mile and a half of the enemy's stronghold, at eight P. M., a distance of twelve miles from the point of landing, where we bivouacked for the night, the rear of the column coming up with the boat-howitzers about three o'clock next morning, the de ention being caused by the shocking condition of the roads, consequent upon the heavy rain that had fallen during that day and the whole of the night, the men often wading kneedeep in mud, and requiring a whole regiment to drag the eight pieces which had been landed from the navy and our own vessels.

By signals agreed upon, the naval vessels, with the armed vessels of my force, were informed of our progress, and were thereby enabled to assist us much in our march by shelling the road in advance.

At daylight, on the morning of the fourteenth, I ordered an advance of the entire division, which will be understood by the enclosed pencil sketch. Gen. Foster's brigade was ordered up the main country-road, to attack the enemy's left; Gen. Reno, up the railroad, to attack their right, and Gen. Parke to follow Gen. Foster, and attack the enemy in front, with instructions to support either or both brigades.

I must defer, for want of time, a detailed account of the action. It is enough to say that, after an engagement of four hours, we succeeded in carrying a continuous line of field-works of over a mile in length, protected on the river-bank by a battery of thirteen heavy guns, and on the opposite bank by a line of redoubts of over half a mile in length, for riflemen and field-pieces, in the midst of swamps and dense forests, which line of works was defended by eight regiments of infantry, five hundred cavalry, and three batteries of field-artillery, of six guns each. The position was finally carried by a most gallant charge of our men, which enabled us to gain the rear of all the batteries between this point and Newbern, which was done by a rapid advance of the entire force up the main road and the railroad, the naval fleet meantime pushing its way up the river, throwing their shots into the forts and in front of us.

The enemy, after retreating in great confusion, throwing away blankets, knapsacks, arms, etc., across the railroad-bridge and country-road, burned the former, and destroyed the draw of the latter, thus preventing further pursuit, and causing detention in occupying the town by our military force; but the naval force had arrived at the wharves, and commanded it by their guns. I at once advanced Gen. Foster's brigade, to take possession of the town, by means of the naval vessels, which Com. Rowan had kindly volunteered for the purpose. The city was set on fire by the retreating rebels in many places; but owing to the exertions of the naval officers, the remaining citizens were induced to aid in extinguishing the flames, so that but little harm has been done. Many of the citizens are now returning, and we are now in quiet possession of the city. We have captured the printing-press, and shall at once issue a daily sheet. By this victory our combined force have captured eight batteries, containing forty-six heavy guns, and three batteries of light artillery, of six guns each, making in all sixty-four guns; two steamboats, a number of sailing vessels, wagons, horses, a large quantity of ammunition, commissary and quartermaster's stores, forage, the entire camp equipage of the rebel [308] troops, a large quantity of rosin, turpentine, cotton, etc., and over two hundred prisoners.

Our loss, thus far ascertained, will amount to ninety-one killed, and four hundred and sixty-six wounded, many of them mortally. Among these are some of our most gallant officers and men. The rebel loss is severe, but not so great as our own, they being effectually covered by their works.

Too much praise cannot be awarded to the officers and men for their untiring exertion, and unceasing patience, in accomplishing this work. The effecting of the landing, and the approach to within a mile and a half of the enemy's works on the thirteenth, I consider as great a victory as the engagement of the fourteenth.

Owing to the difficult nature of the landing, our men were forced to wade ashore waist-deep, march through mud to a point twelve miles distant, bivouac on low, marshy ground, in a rainstorm, for the night, engage the enemy at day-light in the morning, fighting them for four hours, amid a dense fog, that prevented them from seeing the position of the enemy, and finally advancing rapidly over bad roads upon the city. In the midst of all this, not a complaint was heard; the men were only eager to accomplish their work. Every brigade, and in fact every regiment, and I can almost say every officer and man of the force landed, was in the engagement.

The men are all in good spirits, and, under the circumstances, are in good health.

I beg to say to the General commanding that I have under my command a division that can be relied upon in any emergency.

A more detailed report will be forwarded as soon as I receive the brigade-returns. The Brigadier-Generals, having been in the midst of their regiments, whilst under fire, will be able to give me minute accounts. I beg to say to the General commanding the army, that I have endeavored to carry out the very minute instructions given me by him before leaving Annapolis, and thus far events have been singularly coincident with his anticipations; I only hope that we may in future be able to carry out in detail the remaining plans of the campaign. The only thing I have to regret, is the delay caused by the elements.

I desire again to bear testimony to the gallantry of our naval fleet, and to express my thanks to Com. Rowan, and the officers under him, for their hearty and cheerful cooperation in this movement. Their assistance was timely and of great service in the accomplishment of our undertaking.

I omitted to mention that there was a large arrival of reenforcements of the enemy in Newbern during the engagement, which retreated with the remainder of the army by the cars and the country-roads.

I have the honor, General, to be

Your obedient servant,

A. E. Burnside, Brigadier-General Commanding Department of North-Carolina.
P. S.--I enclose the names of killed and wounded, as far as received. The Third brigade being so far distant, it is impossible to communicate with it in time for this mail.

Commander Rowan's report.

U. S. Flag-steamer Philadlphia, off Newbern, N. C., March 16.
Flag-Officer L. M. Goldsborough, commanding North-Atlantic Blockading Squadron, etc.:
sir: I have the honor to report the capture of all the rebel batteries upon the Neuse river, the complete defeat and rout of the enemy's forces in this vicinity, and the occupation of the city of Newbern by the combined forces of the army and navy of the United States on yesterday, Friday, at noon. The incidents of the expedition, briefly stated, are these:

The fleet under my command, and that of the army, left Hatteras Inlet at half-past 7, on Wednesday morning, the twelfth inst., and arrived, without accident or delay, on the point selected for disembarking the troops, and within sight of the city of Newbern, at sunset on the evening of the same day, where we anchored for the night.

On Thursday morning I hoisted my pennant on board the steamer Delaware.

At half-past 8 A. M. our gunboats commenced shelling the woods in the vicinity of the proposed place of landing, taking stations at intervals along the shore, to protect the advance of the troops.

At half-past 9 A. M. the troops commenced landing, and at the same time six naval boathowitzers, with their crews, under the command of Lieut. R. S. McCook, of the Stars and Stripes, were put on shore to assist the attack. The army commenced to move up the beach at about half-past 11 A. M., the debarkation of troops still continuing. In the mean time our vessels were slowly moving up, throwing shell in the wood beyond.

At a quarter-past four P. M. the first of the enemy's batteries opened fire on the foremost of our gunboats, which was returned by them at long range. The troops were now all disembarked, and steadily advancing without resistance. At sundown the firing was discontinued, and the fleet came to anchor in position to cover the troops on shore.

At half-past 6 A. M. on Friday, the fourteenth inst., we heard a continuous firing of heavy guns and musketry inland, and immediately commenced throwing our shells in advance of the position supposed to be held by our troops. The fleet steadily moved up, and gradually closed in toward the batteries. The lower fortifications were discovered to have been abandoned by the enemy. A boat was despatched to it, and the Stars and Stripes planted on the ramparts.

As we advanced, the upper batteries opened fire upon us. The fire was returned with effect, the magazine of one exploding.

Having proceeded in an extended line as far as the obstructions in the river would permit, the signal was made to follow the movements of the flag-ship, and the whole fleet advanced in order, [309] concentrating our fire on Fort Thompson, mounting thirteen guns, on which rested the enemy's land defences. The army having with great gallantry driven them out of those defences, the forts were abandoned.

Several of our vessels were slightly injured in passing the barricades of piles and torpedoes which had been placed in the river.

The upper battery having been evacuated on the approach of the combined forces, it was abandoned, and subsequently blew up.

We now steamed rapidly up to the city. The enemy had fled, and the place remained in our possession.

Upon our approach, several points of the city were fired by the enemy where stores had been accumulated. Two small batteries, constructed of cotton-bales, and mounting two guns each, were also fired by them. Two small steamers were captured, another having been burnt. A large raft composed of barrels of pitch and bales of cotton, which had been prepared to send down upon the fleet, was fired, and floating against the railroad-bridge, set it on fire, and destroyed it. In addition to the prizes, a quantity of cotton, pitch, tar, a gunboat, and another vessel on the stocks, several schooners afloat, and an immense quantity of arms and munitions of war, fell into our hands.

At about four P. M., I sent several of our vessels to the right bank of the Trent River, to carry Gen. Foster's brigade to occupy the city of Newbern.

I am respectfully,

S. C. Rowan, Com. U. S. Naval Forces in Pamlico Sound.

Gen. Foster's report.

headquarters Gen. Poster's brigade, Department of North-Carolina, Newbern, March 20, 1862.
Capt. Lewis Richmond, Assist. Adjt-General:
I have the honor to report that in pursuance of the orders of Gen. Burnside, and in accordance with the plan of operations agreed upon, I proceeded to land my brigade, on the thirteenth inst., at Slocum's Creek. I took on board the Pilot-Boy about five hundred men of the Twenty-fourth Massachusets Volunteers, and towing the boats of my brigade, carrying about six hundred more, reached the mouth of the creek, and landed without molestation.

I landed with the first detachment, and in structed Captain Messinger to remain on the Pilot-Boy, and land the balance of the brigade.

I had sent orders to form the Twenty-fourth, and advance a short distance on the main road, and on landing I took command and moved on, giving the advance to the Twenty-first regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, of Gen. Reno's brigade, by orders of Gen. Burnside, assigning the advance to Gen. Reno. I left an aid to form the regiments as they landed, and to order them to follow.

I advanced on the main road, throwing out skirmishers and an advance-guard of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, and at a distance of six miles I heard from Capt. Williamson, of the Topographical Engineers, the result of a daring reconnoissance made by him, accompanied by Lieuts. Pell and Fearing, of Gen. Burnside's staff, and by Lieuts. Strong, Pendleton, and Strong, of mine, discovering an abandoned breastwork. I then pushed on, and entered the work, accompanied by Gen. Reno, who had shortly before come up, and assumed command of the Twenty-first Massachusetts.

The work was found to be a breastwork well constructed, and running in a straight line from the railroad to the river — a distance of about one mile; having a flank facing the railroad, and a fort on the river-flank. There were four flanking bastions for guns, and the fort was prepared for four guns. None were mounted, however.

The troops were halted inside the fort to rest and eat.

Gen. Burnside then coming up, I, agreeably to his orders, advanced my brigade about three o'clock, on the country road--Gen. Reno being ordered to take the railroad-track, which ran off to the left of the country road.

We marched about four miles, halted, and bivouacked for the night near the enemy's position.

At daylight of the next morning, (the fourteenth,) I advanced my brigade by order of Gen. Burnside, until I came to the enemy's position, (Gen. Parke was ordered to the left by General Burnside,) and made the following dispositions: the Twenty-fifth was thrown to the extreme right, followed in order by the Twenty-fourth in line of battle, their left resting on the country road, just on the left of which I placed the howitzer from the Highlander, under command of Capt. Dayton, supported in line of battle on the left by the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts, and opened fire. On the arrival of the navy boathowitzers, under command of Lieut. McCook, they were placed in line on the left of Capt. Dayton's gun, and the Twenty-third was ordered to the left of the Twenty-seventh. The firing was incessant and very severe from the breastwork and within a very short range.

Gen. Burnside arriving, I communicated to him the dispositions I had made, which he approved, sending over to Gen. Parke to push on the enemy's right, and leaving me to hold the front, he rode off to reach Gen. Reno's position.

The Tenth regiment Connecticut Volunteers having arrived, were ordered to the left of the Twenty-third, and to support them if rendered necessary by want of ammunition. This being the case, they formed on and to the left of the position of the Twenty-third, and opened fire. Hearing from the Twenty-seventh that they were very short of ammunition, I ordered the Eleventh Connecticut, of Gen. Parke's brigade, which had just come up by order of Gen. Burnside, to their support, and sent one of my aids to conduct them to their position. The Twenty-seventh Massachusetts then retired in good order, with orders to lie in a hollow, out of the fire, with fixed bayonets, and wait further orders. [310]

The ammunition of the naval howitzers being nearly exhausted, and one piece disabled, the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts was ordered to march by the flank, and form so as to support the guns, leaving the Twenty-fourth on the extreme right. About twenty-five minutes from this time the head of Gen. Parke's column, the Fourth Rhode Island, had reached the breastwork at the railroad-crossing, and after a brisk fire, pushed on and entered the breastwork in an opening left for the railroad-track, and where the enemy's fire had much slackened in consequence of the steady and constant fire of the Twenty-third Massachusetts and Tenth Connecticut. This position of affairs being discovered, I ordered an advance along the line, which was promptly obeyed, the enemy retreating with great precipitation. On entering the breastwork, sharp firing was still heard to the right of the enemy's position, and hearing from Gen. Parke that he was engaged with the enemy's forces in their works on the right of the railroad, I led the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts to their support, and received the surrender of Col. Avery and one hundred and fifty men.

The breastwork we had entered was similar in construction to the abandoned one, running from Fort Thompson, at the river, to the railroadtrack, a distance of a mile and a quarter, and from the railroad-track, rifle-pits and detached intrenchments, in the form of curvettes and redans, followed each other for the distance of a mile and a quarter, terminated by a two-gun battery. Fort Thompson, a flanking-bastion, mounting thirteen guns, all thirty-two-pounders, (two rifled,) four of which were turned so as to bear on our lines. The breastwork was mounted with two complete fieldbatteries, besides several small pieces of heavy artillery, and manned by about six thousand men. The force in men and artillery of the other defences I am unable to give, they not coming under my observation.

Pressing forward, then, with my brigade, I reached the railroad-bridge at Newbern, which, being burnt to prevent our following up the flying enemy, I rested the men on a field on the east bank of the Trent. By order of Gen. Burnside, who had continued up with me, I shortly after crossed with my brigade over the river and encamped the regiments, with the exception of the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts, in the camp of the enemy at the fair grounds, the enemy having left all his camp equipage, and from appearances must have fled very precipitately; the Twenty-fifth being quartered in the town for police duty.

The fatigue and hardships of the march from Slocum's Creek I need not mention; the horrible state of the road, the wearying labor it cost to drag for twelve miles the howitzers, the severity of the storm, and the wet ground of the soldiers' bivouac for the night you well know.

I must mention in my brigade, where all behaved bravely, with particular praise the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts and the Tenth Connecticut. The former, under a severe fire from musketry in the front, and exposed to a flanking fire of grape and canister from Fort Thompson, unprotected by the trees, behaved with marked coolness and steadiness; the latter advanced close under the enemy's fire, in line of battle, fired with the most remarkable steadiness, and stood steadily up, giving and taking the most severe fire.

The howitzers, under the command of Lieut. McCook, Acting Masters Daniels and Hammond, Captain's Clerk Meeker, Captain Rowan's Clerk Gaberdan, Lieuts. Tillotson and Hughes, of the Union Coast Guard, were most admirably served during the day, and when their ammunition was exhausted, they lay down by their pieces rather than withdraw from their position. Capt. Dayton volunteered again to land and command the gun from the Highlander. His gun was first in position, and he served it as before, with steadiness and efficiency. Lieut. Tillotson, whose gun was disabled, rushed ahead after the action, in pursuit, with such speed as to be captured by the enemy.

From the joy of victory I must turn to the price it cost, in the soldier's death of Lieut.-Col. Merritt, of the Twenty-third Massachusetts, who fell early in the action while urging and cheering the men on, and of Lieut. J. W. Lawton, of the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts, shot dead in the field.

Major Robert H. Stevenson, of the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, was wounded in the leg, but stood up encouraging his men till forced to leave the field. Adjutant W. L. Horton, of the same regiment, was severely wounded by a grapeshot in the shoulder while in the active performance of his duties; and Lieuts. Daniel Sargent and James B. Nichols were each slightly wounded.

Capt. V. V. Parkhurst, of the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts, had his leg fractured.

Lieuts. J. S. Aitchison and J. W. Trafton, of the Twenty — seventh, were slightly wounded. Capt. R. R. Swift also severely wounded, and Lieut. George Warner had a foot shot off.

Capts. Wesley C. Sawyer and William B. Alexander, of the Twenty-third Massachusetts, were both wounded, the former severely in the leg, rendering amputation necessary, and the latter in the hand.

Lieut. T. W. B. Hughes, of the Union Coast Guard, was also wounded.

Enclosed I hand you the returns of killed and wounded, showing a total of thirty-nine killed and one hundred and fifty-three wounded.

It is with much pleasure that I can report all of my staff as uninjured. They consisted during the day of Brigade-Surgeon J. H. Thompson, who volunteered in the early part of the fight to carry any order for me, and he did so till called elsewhere by his duties, under the hottest fire; Capt. Southard Hoffman, A. A. G.; Capt. Edward E. Potter, A. C. S.; Lieutenant John F. Anderson, A. D. C.; Lieut. J. M. Pendleton, A. D. C.; Lieut. James H. Strong, A. D. C; Lieutenant Edward N. Strong, A. D. C.; and Lieuts. J. L. Van Buren and R. T. Gordon, of the Signal Corps, who were used as aids. And I most cordially bear my testimony to the conduct of the above-mentioned [311] officers as a most worthy and gallant set of gentlemen. They were indefatigable in carrying orders, urging on men, and in placing the regiments, coolly and correctly obeying every order, and always under the heaviest fire.

Without drawing any distinctions in the staff, I would take advantage of this opportunity to mention the names of Lieutenants James M. Pendleton and James H. and Edward N. Strong, as being volunteers who, without commission or emolument, have acted during the entire campaign as aids, and performed every duty zealously and satisfactorily, and whose conduct during the day I have already spoken of, and to suggest that, under these circumstances, their services deserve a recognition if not award from the Government.

I also desire to return my thanks to the colonels for the able assistance they rendered, in promptly and correctly obeying, with the regiments under their command, my orders during the day. They were: Col. Edwin Upton, of the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts; Col. Thomas G. Stevenson, Twenty-fourth Massachusetts; Colonel Horace C. Lee, Twenty-seventh Massachusetts; Col. John Kurtz, Twenty--third Massachusetts; Lieut.-Col. Albert W. Drake, Tenth Connecticut; Lieut.-Col. Charles Mathewson, Eleventh Connecticut.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. Foster, Brigadier-General U. S. A.

Colonel Kurtz's report.

headquarters Massachusetts Twenty-Third, Newbern, North-Carolina, March 15, 1862.
To his Excellency John A. Andrews, Governor and Commander-in-Chief M. V. W.:
dear sir: On the morning of the thirteenth instant, I received orders to disembark my regiment and land upon the shore sixteen miles below this post. One of my vessels was three or more miles from shore, and as I had nothing but five small surf-boats to use, the matter was somewhat tedious; however, at half-past 2 o'clock, we had all landed, together with the twelvepounder howitzer. We marched up toward Newbern on the worst road I ever saw, many places sinking knee-deep in a soft blue clay, making it somewhat difficult to get your feet out after once getting in.

About ten o'clock at night, we reached the place where our regiment had bivouacked for the night, and ascertained we had marched ten miles. We formed in column by division in the woods, by the side of the road, stacked our arms, built fires, posted sentinels, and then retired for the night upon the wet ground. In the course of the night we had what the people out here call a “right smart rain,” and it drenched us to the skin.

At daylight we received the order to march, and after a march of two miles we found ourselves in front of an intrenchment that looked very much like a railroad embankment, and about a quarter of a mile in length, with a flank battery upon either end, and mounting in all fourteen heavy guns, and defended by five thousand rebels. The morning was quite hazy, making it difficult to make out the position. The Twenty-seventh Massachusetts, with my own, were formed in a line in front of the work, and had hardly got into position before the enemy opened a murderous fire upon us along the whole line, which we returned as fast as we could.

My regiment did not flinch, but stood up to the work like veterans, and after continuing the fire for one and a half hours, we having expended all our ammunition, (forty rounds,) I sent to the rear for a fresh supply. In the mean time, fixed bayonets, closed ranks, and lay down, watching the next move of the enemy.

In a few moments the Tenth and Eleventh Connecticut came to our relief; we retired in good order ten paces, while they occupied our place in front, opened their fire and poured in a lively fusilade, until we received the order to charge, when the whole line charged batteries and intrenchments, and the enemy took the road for Newbern as fast as their legs would carry them.

My regiment was ordered to follow them, while the others were sent to the right and left through the woods. We met, after an hour's march, at the railroad, about two miles from this post, Gen. Foster, with the Twenty--fifth Massachusetts, and had not gone far in this direction before we discovered the enemy had set on fire the beautiful bridge over the River Trent, to prevent our following in his rear too closely.

This prevented our taking them prisoners, as they filled everything in the shape of cars, and took the road to Goldsboroa. They made several attempts to destroy the city by fire, but our gunboats threw a few shells at them, and they did not stop to finish the work. The market-house and one or two turpentine-factories were all they succeeded in destroying. When we arrived, (using the boats of the fleet,) the negroes were pillaging where they pleased, but we soon put a stop to all such proceedings, and have now good order generally.

Our brigade occupy the camp that the enemy left to attack us on the morning of the fourteenth, and which they were in too much of a hurry to visit in their late trip through the city, and we have very comfortable quarters. From the reports of the people here, there must have been twelve thousand troops in this vicinity, and, with their works, ought to have given us a week's job, as our men were very much fatigued with their march through the mud the day before; but we came down here to win, and if possible we will do it.

We shall move on some other point in a day or two. Our loss must be considerable in killed and wounded, but I am not at present able to give more than that of my own regiment, which I enclose.

It is with the most sincere regret that I have to report the loss of Lieut.-Col. Henry Merritt, who was killed by the first shot from the enemy's artillery, while bravely and gallantly executing an order I had given him a moment before. His loss is a severe one to the regiment and the [312] service, as well as to myself. He was a gallant officer and a firm friend, and the kindest-hearted comrade I ever had, and I am sensibly affected by the casualty. I have detailed Sergt.-Major Daniel Johnson to accompany his remains home to his family, and they will be sent by the first vessel.

It gives me great pleasure to say that the regiment under my command behaved gallantly, and particularly companies A, B, C, D, F, G and H, and their officers and men deserve the thanks of their countrymen.

With sentiments of high regard, I have the honor to be,

Your Excellency's most obedient servant,

John Kurtz, Colonel Twenty-third Massachusetts Volunteers.
P. S.--I omitted saying that Major Elwell and Adjutant Chambers both behaved in the most gallant manner, and rendered me the most efficient aid during the whole engagement.

J. K.
I have just learned that the intrenchments above referred to were nearly a mile in length, and that the battery on the right had twelve guns, the one on the left fifteen guns, and the front fourteen guns.

J. K.

New-York Tribune narrative.

Newbern, N. C., March 15, 1862.
Our arms have again been crowned with victory. The city of Newbern with its entire line of defences has been captured, and the routed enemy have fled to Goldsborough, leaving their cannon, camps, immense quantities of ammunition, equipage, horses, provisions, and stores of all kinds in our hands. The battle has been more severe than that at Roanoke, the victory more important.

The field of operations was so extensive that, with every desire to be fair and in giving a comprehensive sketch of the whole to do justice to each of the brave regiments engaged, it is simply impossible to avoid errors. Every man of the division is jaded and worn out by the long march and the desperate battle, and we are to be allowed barely a few hours of rest before our forward march is to be resumed.

Burnside fights like no sluggard, and now that he has tried the mettle of his troops in two such battles as Roanoke and Newbern, his blows are likely to be struck as quickly as prudence dictates and circumstances permit.

At daylight on Thursday morning the rain was falling heavily, and it seemed as if we were to have every disadvantage of weather added to the obstacles which lay in the path of our advance on the city. By eight o'clock, however, patches of blue sky were to be seen here and there, and in a little time the rain ceased. The signal to prepare for landing hoisted on each of the brigade flag-boats was greeted with cheers throughout the fleet, and it was not long before the different regiments were in the launches, ready for the signal to land.

At nine o'clock the Patuxent, laden with troops, headed for the mouth of Slocum's Creek, followed by the Alert with fourteen boats in tow, the Union, with the Fourth Rhode Island aboard, the Pilot-Boy with twelve launches, Levy with thirteen, and the Alice Price, Gen. Burnside's flag-boat. The Price, steaming past the others, led the advance, and, running to within a few yards of the shore, stopped and signalled the Pilot-Boy to follow in her wake. From the transport fleet to shore the boats sailed in a long, graceful sweep, with flags flying, bands playing, and five thousand bayonets flashing in the sunshine, which now streamed over the fleet. The picture was really beautiful, artistically speaking, while the solemn nature of the business before us lent to the pageant an air of grandeur peculiar to itself.

It was almost ten o'clock when the Alice Price stopped near the shore. Her paddles had hardly ceased their revolutions when a small boat, containing Sergeant Poppe and three men of Capt. Wright's company of the Fifty-first New-York, put off from her side, and carried the Stars and Stripes to land. When the Color-Sergeant planted his colors, and the dear flag was given to the breeze, one long, loud shout went up from the flotilla and fleet. The signal to cast off tows was now given, and the swarm of boats made the best of their way to the beach; but the water shoaled so gradually to the westward of the creek that they grounded while yet sixty yards away. In a moment the soldiers were over the gunwales, and the water was swarming with them, as they waded to land, carrying their pieces and ammunition under their arms to keep them dry. The crowd was so great, that some boats containing portions of the Eighth Connecticut and one of the Massachusetts regiments headed for the opposite bank of the creek, and the men were all ashore before the error was seen and an order could be sent them to land with the others. Back to their boats they had to wade, and thus before they rejoined their regiment, they had had to go three times further in water than if the foolish mistake had not been made. In view of the long, muddy march of sixteen miles, from Slocum's Creek to Newbern, it seemed a great pity that a way had not been provided to land the troops dry-shod. Here, if anywhere, it would seem as if Field's floating-bridge could have been easily and profitably employed, and as it was on a schooner in the fleet, the failure to use it was an oversight.

In the boat-flotilla there were six navy barges with mountain howitzers, the whole battery being under command of Lieut. McCook of the Stars and Stripes, and the guns respectively of J. B. Hammond, (Acting Master,) of the Hetzel; E. C. Gabaudan (Commodore Rowan's clerk) of the Delaware; Lieut. Tillotson, (Union Coast-Guard,) of the Perry; Lieut. T. W. B. Hughes, (Union Coast-Guard,) of the St. Lawrence; C. H. Daniels, of the Decatur, and Mr. E. P. Meeker, (Commodore Goldsborough's secretary,) of the Ohio. Each gun was drawn by twelve sailors, assisted, as occasion required, by soldiers who stepped from the ranks and lent a hand with cheerful alacrity. Beside this battery of navyguns, two Wiard rifled twelve-pounders were [313] landed from the transports--one from the Cossack, under command of Capt. J. W. Bennett, and the other from the schooner Highlander, under Capt. E. G. Dayton. The Cossack's gun was worked, in action, by Mr. Stroud, the second officer of the ship, with great gallantry and precision.

Along the river, by the mouth of the creek, he ground is marshy, and while not so much so as the landing-place at Roanoke Island, was still miry enough to make the labor of dragging the field-pieces very heavy. Our path led for little distance through a fringe of woods, in which the Spanish moss was hanging from almost every tree — a sad-colored drapery, but quite appropriate, I thought, for the journey to spirit-world that many were then treading. I recollect standing beneath a thick canopy of this moss with the gallant young Hammond, who fought so bravely at Roanoke, to watch the men as they labored to get his gun through a bit of mire, and thinking which of these twelve would meet his death before we got to Newbern. Alas! every man of them was killed or wounded.

After leaving the woods, we came upon a strip of beach, and, after marching a mile through the sand, ankle-deep, struck across a piece of fallow land, and came upon the county road. One of the finest sights of the day was the march of the column diagonally across this clearing, the thickset hedge of bayonets shining like frosted grass in the sunshine, and the long line of blue-clothed men undulating like a great snake over the inequalities of the ground. A little way up the road we found extensive cavalry barracks, some distance back, in a wooded ravine. So great had been the hurry of leaving that the officers had left their breakfast untouched — the men theirs in the mess — tins. Furniture, books, clothing, all the conveniences of camp-life, were strewn about the cantonment, and in the stables one solitary little pony was found tied, and appropriated by an aide-de-camp, whose undignified appearance when mounted elicited many a jest and laugh from his friends of the several staffs.

The rains of the week preceding had brought the county road into a sad plight, and our troops marched for five miles through mud and water, such as one would hardly expect to find this side of the heavy clays of Yorkshire. There was no straggling or hanging back, however, for the officers met every loiterer with the order to close up ranks and keep together. The Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, having the right of the First brigade, was, of course, at the head of the column; the Eleventh Connecticut brought up the rear of the Third brigade. We had proceeded, perhaps, five miles when the skirmishers came upon a clearing with a line of breastworks and batteries apparently a mile in extent. The column was immediately halted, and a reconnoissance being made by Capt. Williamson, Topographical Engineer on Gen. Burnside's staff, it was found deserted. The work must have required the labor of a thousand men for a month, being constructed in the most thorough and scientific manner. A deep and wide moat extended along the front, and an abattis of felled timber had been made on both flanks. No guns had been mounted, the enemy probably thinking the division was to move first on Norfolk, and that no great haste was required in preparing the nice little thing for our reception.

A mile further on, a road crossing our line of march ran down to the river. Thinking that the enemy might have a fortification on the beach, with a large supporting body of infantry, a reconnoissance was ordered by Gen. Foster, and Lieutenants Strong, Pendleton, Captain Hudson, and other of his aids riding down, found a large battery, which had been deserted in haste. They waved a white handkerchief as a signal to the gunboats, and a boat put off immediately from the Delaware, and the National flag was hoisted on the parapet.

All the afternoon it had been raining by showers, the intervals being filled with a continuous drizzle, which alone would have wetted the men to the skin, so that when night was approaching without our having met the enemy, it is not strange that we should have looked with anxiety for the order to halt. Gen. Reno's brigade had been turned off on the railroad, at the first point where the county road crossed it, with the view of flanking the enemy, while the main body attacked them in front. The two bodies met at another crossing, and here a man coming on horseback from Newbern was arrested, and gave us the information that Manassas was evacuated. The joyful news was passed along the column from regiment to regiment, and was hailed with such a tempest of cheers as made the welkin ring indeed. Imagine the cheering of a whole army, itself on the march to a battle, on hearing such joyful tidings as these! Whether true or false, the effect of the story was excellent, for when the order “forward” was given, the men sprang into their places with a cheerful alacrity which could hardly have been expected of jaded men.

At six o'clock we had advanced to within a mile of the enemy's line of fortifications, and a halt was ordered. Generals Burnside and Foster and their staffs were riding some distance in advance, even of the skirmishers of the Twenty-fourth, and I certainly expected that we should all (for I happened to be with the party for an hour or so) be bagged by some marauding squadron of rebel cavalry, who would dash out and take us in the rear. Capt. Williamson and Capt. Plotter and Lieut. Strong were sent ahead to reconnoitre, and after riding half a mile came upon some cavalry pickets, by whom they were hailed and whom they challenged in return. On their reporting to Gen. Burnside, the column was ordered to halt and bivouac for the night on both sides of the road. It was a wet, miserable night, the rain-drops showering down upon us from the trees, and the sodden leaves and woods-mould making anything but a comfortable couch. However, we cut down some yellow pine-trees for fuel, [314] and by the genial warmth of bivouac-fires, were soon smoking pipes and making feeble attempts to forget our weariness and wetness.

In the morning, at six o'clock, all the generals were in their saddles, and at seven the column was in motion. The column of Gen. Reno, on the railroad, was the first to move, the Twenty-first Massachusetts, as the right-flank regiment, leading the advance. (In its appropriate place I would here mention that Reno's brigade bivouacked alongside the track, two companies of the Twenty-first having been thrown out as pickets.) The regiment had not proceeded far before, on turning a curve in the road, they saw a train of cars, which had brought reenforcements to the enemy, standing on the track. In front of the locomotive, on a platform-car, had been a large rifled-gun, which was evidently to be placed in position to rake the road. Our men, however, advanced at the double-quick, and poured in a volley with such accuracy of aim, that the enemy, who had already rolled the gun and caisson off the car, did not stop to unload the carriage, but ran into the intrenchments, and the train was backed toward Newbern, leaving the platform-car standing on the track. The Twenty-first had got within short range before discovering the formidable nature of the enemy's earthworks, but now fell back, and, forming line of battle in the woods, opened fire. The Fifty-first New-York was moved to the left and ordered forward to engage a series of redans, the Ninth New-Jersey occupying the left of the line, and the Fifty-first Pennsylvania held in reserve, in rear of the Ninth, a little to the left.

Meanwhile Gen. Foster's brigade had advanced up the main road to the clearing, when the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts was sent into the woods to the right of the road, and opening a heavy fire on the enemy, commenced the action of the First brigade. The Twenty-seventh was sent to their left to support them, and news being received that the enemy were trying to outflank us on the right, the Twenty-fifth was sent out to resist the movement. The Twenty-third being moved to the front next in line of battle, opened fire upon the enemy, which was replied to by very heavy volleys, and a cannonade from a park of field-pieces behind the breastwork. The very first cannon-shot killed Lieutenant-Col. Henry Merritt of the Twenty-third, the ball passmg through his body. As he fell he threw up his arms and said: “O dear! O dear!” Gen. Foster's line of battle was completed by moving the gallant Tenth Connecticut to the extreme left, to a position where they had to fight under the most discouraging disadvantages. The ground was very wet, swampy, and cut up into gullies and ravines, which mostly ran toward the enemy, and, of course, while offering no protection from his fire, exposed them on elevations and in valleys. The regiment had shown at Roanoke, however, the behavior of veterans, and nothing else could have been expected at this time but that they would stand their ground to the last.

Gen. Parke's brigade, which had followed the First brigade up the main road, was placed in line between the Tenth Connecticut and Twenty-first Massachusetts, the Fourth Rhode Island holding the right of line, the Eighth Connecticut the next place, the Fifth Rhode Island next, and the Eleventh Connecticut on the left Our line of battle was now complete, the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts on the extreme right and the Fifty-first Pennsylvania at the extreme left, and extended more than a mile. The naval battery was in position at our centre, with Capt. Bennett's and Capt. Dayton's rifles alongside, and were all worked with the greatest gallantry throughout the day. The officers in charge of the pieces, without exception, I believe, displayed perfect coolness, and stood by their guns in some cases when a single man was all the assistance they had to work them. This was the case with Acting Master Hammond of the Hetzel, and Lieut. T. W. B. Hughes of the Union coast-guard, the former losing every man, and the latter all but one. The few hours which have elapsed since the battle, have not permitted my seeing the naval officers in person, to obtain particulars of their part of the action, and a complete list of killed and wounded. It was my fortune to assist Lieut. Hughes to a trifling extent after he was wounded, and I can testify to the coolness with which he bore his injury. Acting Master Hammond lost both his shoes in the tenacious clay of the road, and for several hours was compelled to walk in stocking-feet through mud and mire.

The battle had waged for something less than an hour, when the Twenty-first lost one of its no blest officers, in the person of Adjutant Frazar A. Stearns, the young man who bore himself so bravely in the difficult and dangerous charge on the right of the enemy's battery on Roanoke Island. Poor Stearns received a bullet in his right breast, and fell dead in his place. He was the son of the President of Amherst College, and possessed the love of his commanding officer and the whole regiment. Lieut.-Col. Clark, who is in command of the Twenty-first, was affected to tears when relating the circumstances of his untimely death, for he felt almost the love of a father for the young man.

The fire of the enemy was now telling so severely upon the Twenty-first, that Col. Clark ordered the regiment forward on a double-quick, and at the head of four companies, entering the breastworks from the railroad-track in company with Gen. Reno, the colors were taken into a frame house which stood there, and waved from the roof. The men at the nearest guns seeing the movement, abandoned their pieces and fled, and the four companies being formed again in line of battle, charged down the line upon the battery. Col. Clark mounted the first gun and waved the colors, and had got as far as the second, when two full regiments emerged from a grove of young pines and advanced upon our men, who, seeing that they were likely to be captured or cut to pieces, leaped over the parapet and retired to their position in the woods. At this time Capt. J. D. [315] Frazer of company H, was wounded in the right arm, and dropped his sword, but taking it in his left hand, he attempted to escape with his company, fell into the ditch, and was taken prisoner, and dragged inside again over the parapet. A guard of three men was placed over him, his sword was taken, but his revolver being overlooked, he seized the opportunity offered by a charge of the Fourth Rhode Island, and by the judicious display of his pistol, captured all three of his guard.

On being driven from the battery, Col. Clark informed Col. Rodman of the Fourth Rhode Island of the state of affairs inside, and that officer, unable to communicate with Gen. Parke in the confusion of the fight, acted upon his own responsibility, after consultation with Lieut. Lydig, one of the General's aids, and decided upon a charge with the bayonet. As the Fourth was one of the most prominent regiments in the action, it will be well to go back a little in our narrative, and trace them up to that point. Their position in the line of battle, as ordered by Gen. Parke, was in front of a battery of five guns, and the rifle-pits or redans which were situated immediately in the rear of and protected the right flank of the main battery of nine guns. Until the charge was decided upon by Col. Rodman, the regiment had been firing, like the rest of the line, by companies and otherwise. When the command was given to charge, they went at the double-quick directly up to the battery, firing as they ran, and entering at the right flank, between a brick-yard and the end of the parapet. When fairly inside, the Colonel formed the right wing in line of battle, and at their head charged down upon the guns at double-quick, the left wing forming irregularly, and going as they could. With a steady line of cold steel, the Rhode Islanders bore down upon the enemy, and, routing them, captured the whole battery, with its two flags, and planted the Stars and Stripes upon the parapet. The Eighth Connecticut, Fifth Rhode Island, and Eleventh Connecticut, coming up to their support, the rebels fled with precipitation, and left us in undisputed possession.

Gen. Reno's brigade were still attacking the redans and small battery on the right of the railroad, and the firing was very heavy. The Twenty-first was engaging the battery of five small pieces, the Fifty-first New-York the first of the redans, the Ninth New-Jersey the next two, and the Fifty-first Pennsylvania were still in reserve. Lieut.-Col. Robert B. Potter, of the Fifty-first New-York, when in advance with Capt. Hazard's company of skirmishers, was shot through the side and fell, but making light of the wound, he got his servant to put on a bandage, and in a few minutes had returned to his place and was cheering on his men. The regiment was drawn up in a hollow or ravine, from which they would move up to the top of the eminence, discharge their volleys, and retire to such cover as the inequalities of the ground might furnish. Gen. Reno, becoming impatient at the loss of life which his regiments, and particularly Col. Ferrero's, was suffering, wished the regiment to advance as soon as possible, so Lieut.-Col. Potter took a color over the brow of the hill into another hollow, and from here charged up an acclivity and over brushwood and abattis into the redan. The Fifty-first Pennsylvania, for a long time held in reserve, was ordered up to participate in the decisive charge of the whole brigade upon the line of redans, and passing through the Fifty-first New-York, as it was lying on the ground, after having exhausted all its ammunition, came under the heaviest fire, and without flinching or wavering, moved to its place, and rushed, with the other regiments, upon the defences of the enemy. The movement of Col. Hartranft's regiment was executed in the most deliberate manner, and proved a complete success.

The movement of the Third brigade was supported by a charge of the Fourth Rhode Island from the captured main battery upon the works which were being assailed, and the enemy, already demoralized by the breaking of their centre, fell back before the grand charge upon the left and front of their position, and fled in confusion. On our extreme right the brave Twenty-fourth and its supporting regiments had been advancing inch by inch, standing up against the enemy's musketry and cannonade without flinching, and at about the time when the Fourth Rhode Island charged in at the right flank, the colors of the Twenty-fourth were planted on the parapet at the left and the whole of the First brigade poured into the fortification. The whole line of earthworks was now in our hands, and the cheers of our men, from one end of it to the other, broke out with fresh spirit as each new regimental color was unfurled on the parapet.

While all the regiments engaged in the battle are deserving of high praise for their steadiness under fire, the spirit with which they surmounted the most formidable obstacles, and the fidelity with which they obeyed the commands of their generals, certain regiments, by the peculiarity of their distribution, perhaps, were made more prominent for their gallantry. These were the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, Fourth Rhode Island, Tenth Connecticut, Twenty-first Massachusetts, and Fifty-first New-York. When the charge of the Fourth Rhode Island had been made, and the colors were carried along the whole length of the main battery, Gen. Burnside asked some one what regiment that was. On being told the Fourth Rhode Island, he said: “I knew it. It was no more than I expected. Thank God, the day is ours.”

Beside the casualties already referred to in this narrative there were a vast number more, many of them of a lamentable nature. In the Fourth Rhode Island, one of the saddest cases is that of Capt. Chas. Tillinghast of company H, who was killed in the charge made in support of Gen. Reno's brigade. Only the day before the landing at Slocum's Creek he received news of the death of a favorite brother, and on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning he seemed sad and abstracted, as if a presentiment of his own death [316] were weighing upon him. In the excitement of the advance upon the enemy his cheerfulness returned, and all through the fight he kept at the head of his company, cheering his men, and setting them the example of unflinching courage. He was a fine officer of a fine regiment, and is deeply regretted by the officers and men of his regiment. Capt. William S. Chase, of company E, severely wounded in the cheek and neck, but for whose recovery hopes are entertained, is also a fine officer and genial companion. When he was struck he was waving his sword over his head and calling to his men to follow him. Of the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, Major Robert B. Stevenson was wounded in the thigh, but made so light of the matter, that when he turned to Capt. Pratt, of company C, who was lying beside him and said he was wounded, the Captain thought he was joking. Adjutant William L. Horton, one of the most gallant fellows in the division, is severely if not mortally wounded, a grape-shot having passed through his left shoulder, shattering the bones. Major Charles W. Le Gendre, of the Fifty-first New-York, mortally wounded, was shot in the swamp, in the attack on the redans. Capt. D. R. Johnson, of the same regiment, a most intrepid officer, and one who distinguished himself at Roanoke, was shot in the swamp at about the same time as Major Le Gendre, the ball entering his stomach and passing through his body. He remarked to-day that he would willingly die if it could be the means of suppressing this wicked rebellion and restoring peace to his country.

I regret that my memoranda of the casualties in the First brigade should be so meagre, but it has been impossible for any one man to collate all the details of so desperate a battle as this in the few hours at his disposal before the sailing of the despatch-boat.

The approaches to Newbern were defended by a line of water-batteries or forts communicating with field fortifications of the most extensive nature. The lower fort is about six miles from the city; the next communicates with the unfinished batteries and breastworks passed on our march, and the others distributed at about equal distances along the shore. The line of fortifications attacked and stormed in the brilliant engagement of yesterday was some three miles in extent. At the river-bank a hexagonal fort, or water-battery, with a large bomb-proof and thirteen heavy guns, commanded not only the river approach, but by means of pivot-carriages the cannon could be turned upon an advancing land-force, and even to sweep the line of breastworks itself in case the garrison should be driven out. The fire of this fort would have proved very destructive to us after the batteries were stormed if the gunners had not deserted their pieces. From the fort to the centre of the line, a well-made breastwork extended, with a deep moat in front. At the centre was a bastion and sally-port, after which the breastwork was continued to the railroad embankment, which was itself made to contribute a means of defence. Beyond the railroad, but completely protecting the right flank of the main battery, was a small battery of irregular shape, communicating with a system of thirteen redans, or rifle-pits, each pair of which were constructed on a knoll rising between ravines, the conformation of the ground furnishing in itself a most admirable basis for field-works. The locality was chosen with rare judgment, and all that engineering skill could devise was done to make these fortifications an impassable barrier to our troops. From the railroad westward, a swift, deep brook with muddy bottom, and a wide border of swamp on both sides, ran in front of the redans, and on our side of approach, the timber was so very heavy that, when felled, it presented a barricade which would seem enough of itself to stop an army of French Zouaves. On the brow of each mound brushwood had been piled with regularity to the height of four feet in front of the redans, to make it extremely difficult to take them by assault from the front. The redans were constructed of heavy timbers covered with at least five feet thickness of earth, while an interior ditch of say three feet in depth gave complete protection to the garrison from volleys of musketry, or discharges of grape or canister-shot.

Inside, the battery presented a most revolting appearance. Beneath the parapet, in the ditch, on the open ground, under the gun-carriages, lay the dead bodies of rebels, some mangled in the most shocking manner. On every side were the bleeding carcasses of artillery-horses, all, so far as I noticed, killed by musket or rifle-balls. Here and there a broken gun-carriage, or caisson, lay tilted into the mud. Stores of all kinds were scattered over the ground or trampled in the black mire. Muskets with broken stocks or bent barrels thrown about in every direction. Pools of blood where the wounded had lain, and stripes of it along the ground in the direction in which they had been carried; but it is as distasteful as it is unnecessary to paint the horrors of a battlefield, and I forbear.

We did not know with certainty that there was not another battery as formidable as this still further up the road, but thinking it best to feed the panic which had seized upon the enemy, Gen. Burnside ordered an advance. Gen. Foster immediately sent forward the Twenty-fourth, Twenty-fifth, Twenty — seventh, and the whole brigade by the straight road. In the charge on the rifle-pit battery, about one hundred rebels, among them the Colonel of the Thirty-third North-Carolina, and a number of commissioned officers, were captured. When these were secured in an old brick-kiln and placed under guard, Gens. Reno and Parke removed their brigades after Gen. Foster's, the former going before up the railroad-track, and the latter by the country road. The march to Newbern was quite unobstructed, the enemy having apparently all he could do to get away from us, and early in the afternoon our forces reached the bank of the river, immediately opposite the city. Long before we came in sight of it, however, dense volumes of smoke were seen rising in that direction, and the suspicion that [317] the place had been fired by the enemy was fully realized when its steeples and houses were in view. Newbern had been fired in seven different places, and if the wind had not mercifully subsided, there would hardly have been a house left standing by nightfall. The splendid railroadbridge, seven hundred and fifty yards long, had also been set on fire by a scow-load of turpentine which had drifted against it, and the great structure was wrapped in one grand sheet of flame. Preparations were immediately.made by Gen. Foster to cross his forces, and this was accomplished by the assistance of a light-draft sternwheel steamer, which had been captured with four or five small side-wheel boats, by the naval gunboats, which by this time were quite up to the city wharves.

To the eastward of the city a very large rebel camp, with barracks and tents, was found deserted, and taken possession of. Stragglers from different regiments wandered through the city, and some acts of depredation were committed, but a strong provost-guard was called out; all liquorcasks were staved in, and by midnight the streets of the city were as quiet as if one army had not just fled from it in one direction, and another entered it from the other.

The great majority of the inhabitants had left town, doubtless under the impression that the whole was to be given up to the flames; the stores were closed without exception, and if it had not been for the negroes and a few whites, one might have thought some dreadful plague was raging in the city. The Washington Hotel and Market-House were the principal buildings burned, and the number of private residences will not probably exceed a dozen. The nefarious plan of the rebel military officers and political demagogues was resisted by the better class of citizens, but to no purpose. The hotel was fired by a hot-headed secessionist lawyer, who applied the torch at an angle in the courtyard, with his own hands. The railroad-bridge was fired by accident; but a toll-bridge, the only remaining means of transit for vehicles and pedestrians from shore to shore, was about being set on fire, when the incendiaries were fired upon from a navy-boat and driven off.

Newbern is a very ancient place, but its appearance is made more venerable by the lichens and mosses which cover most of the houses. The streets are wide and mostly bordered by large trees. There are one or two large churches, some banks, a theatre, and two or three newspaper-offices. I made it one of my first duties to go to the office of the scurrilous Newbern Progress, in search of Southern exchanges, but found nothing but a beggarly account of empty lockers, the contents having already been appropriated by straggling soldiers or mischievous negroes. On a table, however, was lying a gilt penholder, with an ebony handle. It may be interesting to the editor to know that, as a piece of retributive justice, his penholder is in my hand at this moment of writing. If we should have a couple of days to spare, it is not improbable that one number at least of a good sound Union paper may be issued from the office of The Newbern Progress.

The officers of the different staffs deserve credit for the manner in which they executed the orders of their commanders on the march and in the field. Young men bred in luxury, who never have or could have seen a day of active service, cheerfully undertook the arduous duties of the staff, in most cases, without a cent of pay, and with only nominal rank. In action, they exposed themselves whenever necessary, and so far as I could see or hear, showed no more tremor when cannon-shots roared by, or bullets whistled about them, than veteran campaigners. I was standing at one time on the main road, in conversation with Lieut. Fearing, of General Burnside's staff, when a thirty-two-pound shot flew between his horse's legs, barely escaping his belly by an inch or two. Beyond giving a look to see if the animal was safe, Fearing showed no consciousness that anything unusual had happened, and went on with the conversation.

Special mention has been made by Gen. Burnside of the reconnoissances by Capt. Robert Williamson, of the regular army, Topographical Engineer on his staff. On every occasion when called upon, he executed his orders with the most perfect self-possession and courage. His services were extremely valuable, and his arrival most opportune. All the members of the different staffs escaped unhurt.

The brigade and regimental surgeons were sadly in need of help on the field and in hospital, the number of wounded being so large, and their own force reduced by absences on leave, and those left in charge of the hospitals at Roanoke Island. The brigade hospitals were in charge respectively of Dr. Thompson, Dr. Cutter, of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, and Dr. Rivers, of the Fourth Rhode Island. The number of our own wounded was such that our surgeons could not give much attention to the enemy's till this afternoon. Today the rain is pouring in torrents on dead and dying on the field of battle, but it cannot be helped. Mr. Vincent Colyer, of the Young Men's Christian Association, who has followed the army here, was active in distributing the hospital supplies so generously contributed by the charitable. New supplies are now needed, and, especially in view of the imminence of another battle, should be forwarded at once to Mr. Colyer, in care of Dr. Church, Division Surgeon, Newbern, N. C. Any vessels coming from New-York or Fortress Monroe, will bring them here free of charge, by Gen. Burnside's special order. Mr. Colyer has gone to considerable pains to collect the names of the killed and wounded, and has laid me under obligations for the list hereto annexed.

As I have given you the general order issued from headquarters before the battle, it will be interesting to subjoin No. 17, just published:

headquarters Department North-Carolina, Newbern, March 15, 1862.
General orders, No. 17.

The General commanding congratulates his [318] troops on their brilliant and hard-won victory of the fourteenth. Their courage, their patience, their endurance of fatigue, exposure and toil, cannot be too highly praised. After a tedious march, dragging their howitzers by hand through swamps and thickets, after a sleepless night passed in a drenching rain, they met the enemy in his chosen position, found him protected by strong earthworks, mounting many heavy guns, and although in open field themselves, they conquered. With such soldiers, advance is victory. The General commanding directs, with peculiar pride, that, as a well-deserved tribute to valor in this second victory of the expedition, each regiment engaged shall inscribe on its banner the memorable name, “Newbern.”

By command of Brig.-Gen. A. E. Burnside. Lewis Richmond, Assistant Adjutant-General.

And here is another, which will serve to show the quality of man that Gen. Burnside is:

headquarters Department of North-Carolina, Newbern, March 15, 1862.
special orders, No. 51.

. . . . . . . .

4. Brig.-Gen. J. G. Foster is hereby appointed Military Governor of Newbern and its suburbs, and will be obeyed and respected accordingly.

5. Brig.-Gen. J. G. Foster, Military Governor of Newbern, will direct that the churches be opened at a suitable hour to-morrow, in order that the chaplains of the different regiments may hold divine services in them. The bells will be rung as usual.

. . . . . . . .

By command of Brig.-Gen. A. E. Burnside. Lewis Richmond, Assistant Adjutant-General.

It has always been the General's practice to avoid unnecessary labor on Sunday, and he never starts on any expedition on that day when it can possibly be avoided. What a commentary is this General Order for the observance of the day, on the scurrilous stories spread by rebel leaders among the deluded people of these Southern States!

The number of the enemy in the batteries actually opposed to us has not been ascertained, but from the statements of rebel officers it could not have been less than eight regiments. It is stated at headquarters that there were two more regiments at the Newbern camp.

The value of the public property captured here is enormous, consisting of fifty-three heavy cannon and field-pieces, ammunition, quartermaster's and commissary stores, camps and camp equipage, horses, transportation, and naval stores in large quantities, cotton, etc. Probably two million dollars would not purchase the articles at first hand. But the victory is the more important from the fact that it places Beaufort and Fort Macon at our mercy, and opens up to us by railroad the direct lines of communication between the rebel army and the country which supports it. Perhaps the public North can give a shrewd guess as to our next place of destination. We can here, but we will not divulge it until the next mail, which will leave here in a few days. By that opportunity I hope to send a correct map of the field of battle, with the positions occupied by the several regiments of this victorious army.

The operations of the gunboats.

Newbern, March 16, 1862.
To return to the movements of the gunboats of the expedition, and the attacks on the rebel batteries, we will leave the point where the troops landed, and follow the Delaware, (Commodore Rowan's flagship,) which took the advance, followed by the Southfield, Hetzel, Brinka, Stars and Stripes, Louisiana, Underwriter, Commodore Perry, Picket, Vidette, and a few others whose names it is impossible for me to call to mind at the present moment. The reason of Commodore Rowan being in command was, that as soon as the news reached the fleet of the attack by the Merrimac on our vessels at Fortress Monroe, Commodore Goldsborough was so uneasy, that he immediately returned to Old Point, leaving the direction of the naval movements in the hands of the next officer in rank. Commodore Rowan consequently took charge, and he is deserving of the highest praise for the splendid manner in which every thing relating to the gunboats was conducted.

Immediately below the city of Newbern the rebels had placed an almost impassable barrier to the passage of vessels, hoping thereby to prevent the fleet from coming to the city. It was situated about six miles below Newbern, and consisted of a number of sunken vessels, placed in such a position and locked so firmly together as to make it appear a matter of the utmost impossibility to do anything with them, or to make an attempt to pass them; but Commodore Rowan was not to be deterred by anything that could be accomplished by human means only, and he made up his mind to pass the obstructions, and pass them he did. In the centre of the river is a shoal, which required no guarding, its light depth being its best protection; but on the right and left sides there is a deep channel, and these the rebels closed up, or at least tried to do so, by the following means: On the right-hand side, approaching Newbern, were sunk, in a direct line, twenty-four vessels, of different size and rig. There were two brigs, three barks, and nineteen schooners, ranging from fifty to two hundred tons. As I mentioned before, these were locked into one another, stem and stem, and, with their long masts pointing in every conceivable direction, was as effective a blockade as could be got up for the occasion. Their running and standing rigging was in almost every case perfect, and the vessels themselves appeared to be of a much better class than it is customary to use for such purposes; but probably they did not stop to consider such trifles, but laid their hands on the first they could get, to put an end to the dreaded approach of the “Yankee hordes.” On the lefthand side there were no vessels sunk, but a much [319] more deadly and effective means was adopted to stop us. The vessels one could see and avoid; but the others were intended to take us unawares, and sink or destroy our fleet, or such of it as should attempt to pass them. A number of thick, heavy spars were sunk in the channel and pointed down the stream; the tops were strongly coated with iron, sharpened so as to run into the bows or sides of a vessel coming toward them ; and not content with these for a defence against vessels approaching the city, they had a species of torpedo constructed to blow up our vessels, a slight description of which will be interesting, showing as it does, the desperate efforts that the rebels made to prevent us from taking the city of Newbern; and it is really astonishing how they were beaten so easily, and they with every means in their power, both natural and artificial, to defend themselves against the small force brought against them.

The infernal machines, or torpedoes, were constructed out of three heavy pieces of timber, placed in the position as shown above, at the bottom of which was placed a box, filled with stone, old iron, etc., so as to sink in its place; and, after being sunk, it was inclined forward at an angle of about forty-five degrees, by means of ropes and weights. This, formidable as it was in itself, was capped by a cylinder of about ten inches in diameter, made of iron, into which fitted a shell, heavily loaded — the shell resting on springs, so arranged that a pressure upon the cylinder by any portion of a vessel, would discharge a percussion-cap, explode the shell, and carry death and destruction to the craft so unfortunate as to come into collision with it. Their labor was entirely thrown away, as none of our vessels went near them, and certainly none touched them. Several of these torpedoes were found in a ship-yard after the possession of Newbern by the Union forces.

Before the fleet of gunboats reached this obstruction two batteries were encountered, and as a matter of course were silenced. The first was known as Fort Dixie, and mounted four guns. But little resistance was made to our fire before the rebels deserted the fortification — the shot and shell pouring in rather too fast for them from the gunboats. A small force was landed by means of yawls, and the glorious old Stars and Stripes waved proudly over the spot lately guarded by the rebel standard, saluted by the enthusiastic cheers of the men engaged in the conflict.

Just about this time, a force of rebel cavalry was discovered a little back of the woods on the shore, and boats were instantly despatched to fire into them. A few shell from the boats scattered them like chaff before the wind — the horses being compelled by their riders to make doublequick time out of the reach of danger.

The fleet then continued on its way, led by the flag-ship Delaware, and a short distance ahead another rebel battery was discovered, mounting some fifteen guns. This was called Fort Thompson, and, like the other battery, needed but a few shots to effectually silence it, and make its defenders (?) beat a hasty retreat. The greatest surprise and disappointment were manifested at the little courage displayed on the part of the occupants of these forts, two or three well-directed shots sufficing to frighten them into a retreat. Here again a force was landed in small boats, and the “flag of the Union” floated defiantly above that of the cowardly rebels. Night approaching, it was deemed advisable to stop any further operation until the next day, when the victory would be continued with the same success. Tired out with the day's exertion, the men slept soundly, with the exception of those who were on picket duty, naval vessels being chosen as guards.

The next morning, (Sunday, the fourteenth inst.,) a very heavy fog lay upon the surface of the water, rendering objects but a short distance from you invisible. It lasted but a short time, however, lifting sufficiently to enable the gunboats to proceed on their way to Newbern. The great trouble now was to pass the obstruction in the channel, which I have already described, and at the same time to engage Fort Brown and the rebel fortification, much stronger than the two preceding ones. It contained two powerful columbiads, brought so as to bear upon any vessel that might be impaled upon the beams placed there for the purpose, or that might be otherwise stopped, and it was also bomb-proof, rendering it very difficult to subdue. The blockade had to be forced, and every moment was precious. This was a moment of suspense, but it lasted only for a short time, as Commander Rowan signalled for the rest of the boats to follow his lead, and run the Delaware straight ahead, taking the risk of an accident, and the steamers passed over this fearfully dangerous ground in perfect safety, with the exception of the Stars and Stripes and the Picket, both being slightly injured in the hull, but not sufficiently so as to prevent them from proceeding; the torpedoes which were destined to do such terrible execution among the vessels being left behind, still lying harmless in the beds in which they were planted. A very brisk fire was kept up by the two guns from Fort Thompson, but as far as I could discover, without the least effect upon our gunboats. This firing was suddenly put a stop to by the well-directed shot from our side, which struck one of the columbiads on the muzzle, throwing it from its carriage and spreading consternation amongst the men. This was the finishing stroke. The rebels left the battery in double-quick time, and another fort was ready for the victorious Stars and Stripes to float over. Still another fortification lay before us, and still another defeat for the enemy. Fort Ellis mounted nine guns, and it was understood that quite a force had collected there from the batteries that we had silenced on the way up. A brisk fire was kept up here on both sides for a short time, until a shell from one of the gunboats went through the magazine, exploding it with a terrific report and killing many inside the Fort. It was afterward claimed by some of the rebels that the shell that did the execution was one of their own [320] that burst by accident; but I have very good proof that such is not the case. A panic was now created, the rebels flying in all directions, leaving the Fort to us, without injury in the least. One more little fort lay before us; that passed, and the city of Newbern would be at our mercy, and in a few minutes more in our possession. We carefully approached Fort Lane, expecting a hard fight, the men on all the vessels only too anxious to show how they could handle a gun, and much elated by their previous victories. But a bitter disappointment awaited us; the rebels had seen quite enough of the way in which we handled them and offered little or no resistance. Fort Lane was small and well built, and had the rebels a particle of pluck, they might have annoyed us exceedingly. As it was, on we went to the city, and as we approached, we could plainly see the light of a large fire in the northern extremity, which, upon examination, we found proceeded from a number of large scows that had been filled with turpentine and other combustible articles. It was intended that these should be used against our vessels to try and burn them; but when they wanted to float them away to us, not an inch would they move, but burned away most vigorously on the spot where they were lighted. As we neared the city, trains could be seen crossing the railroadbridge, and several shells were thrown at them, but without any effect, the cars passing over in safety. Had we arrived twenty minutes earlier, we might have cut off the retreat of the rebels and captured a large number of them; but as it was, they escaped. We then shelled the depot, and the track as far as possible, and the Delaware and two other vessels passed off to the right side of the Neuse River, and moving round in a circle to the north part of the city, fired a few shells at some vessels lying there. A white flag was soon raised and the vessels given up. The gunboats now had but very little to do, as shortly after the troops crossed over to the city and took possession of it.

It is somewhat singular that with the number of forts captured by the fleet, and the immense amount of firing done, the navy did not lose a single man or sustain any injury of consequence to the vessels. All the officers and men acquitted themselves nobly, and it is only to be regretted that they had not a foe better worthy of their steel to contend against.

--N. Y. Herald, March 19.

Rebel Narratives.

From various North-Carolina papers we take the following particulars of the battle:

The enemy's gunboats first appeared in sight on Wednesday afternoon, at a point known as Slocum's Creek, and commenced shelling the woods in every direction. A company of cavalry, Capt. Evans commander, stationed here as pickets, were forced to retire. Two of his men were wounded-one in the heel.

Thursday the fleet advanced as far as Fort Dixie, a strong fortification, mounting four heavy guns, distant from Newbern about five miles. This fort was surrounded by a breastwork, 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 twenty thousand infantry, a squadron of cavalry, and thirty 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 o'clock, 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.

Fort Thompson was the most formidable fortification on the river. It was four miles from Newbern, and mounted thirteen heavy guns, two of them rifled thirty-two 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.

Fort Lane, 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, manager. 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 us as Prof. Iradella, James Wood and Frank Hineman.

Col. Avery's regiment, the Thirty-third, suffered severely, and fought well. Col. Avery and Major Hoke are reported killed. We trust that it is not so, but fear that it is. Col. Lee was reported killed, but we learn that this is not so. His horse is said to have been killed under him, and this, no doubt, gave rise to the report that he had been killed. His regiment also stood as long as standing was possible. Col. Vance's regiment was so placed, we think, that it did not get into the main battle, but also so that it had to cut its way out by some of the hardest kind of fighting. It did do so. Our cavalry, we fear, did not do as they ought to have done. They did no good at all. Perhaps they did harm. They were not in the fight at all.

Our loss in persons known to be killed and wounded is, perhaps, one hundred to one hundred and fifty. The enemy's is reported at anything from six hundred to sixteen hundred. The first panic reports, which represented a large number of our people as being taken prisoners, appear to be almost wholly without foundation. The whole number of prisoners will not reach two hundred. [321]

It is said that the enemy was piloted through a swamp on our left by a mulatto; at any rate, they were piloted by somebody who knew the country, and there is not wanting suspicion attaching itself to some white person or persons. The artillery companies behaved well. Of course our heavy guns had to be abandoned, and some of our field-guns also. Latham's battery is said to have worked great havoc among the enemy. Bremen's battery lost some of its pieces, as did Latham's. We believe the horses were killed.

The all-sufficient explanation of our defeat was, want of men. With the militia, they outnumbered us nearly five to one; leaving out the militia, they outnumbered us nearly six to one. After Sinclair's regiment left, those who bore the brunt of the battle were outnumbered fully seven to one. That, under these circumstances, we could hold our position permanently, was not in the range of possibility. Whether it was worth while to make a fight at all, with such a disparity of force, is a question.

The railroad-bridge across Neuse River, was riot burned until 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 were piled two hundred barrels spirits of turpentine and one hundred and fifty bales of cotton. The torch was applied, and the raft set adrift, and in a few moments it lay alongside the piers of the bridge, and the costly fabric was wrapped in flames 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 Petersburgh 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 two hundred bales, and one thousand five hundred barrels of rosin and turpentine, besides naval stores, were destroyed.

The theatre, it is said, escaped destruction. Here the Yankees secured about twenty-five kegs of gunpowder, which had been stored there for the manufacture of cartridges.

The steamer Post-Boy was destroyed by the confederates, but the Albermarle, 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.

Seven trains left Newbern for Goldsboro Friday forenoon, all crowded to overflowing. A shell from the enemy's gunboats fell within twenty-five feet of the last train as it moved off.

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.

The obstructions which had been placed in Neuse River gave the Yankees no annoyance whatever. They had skilful pilots, and threaded the channel with as much facility as our own boats.

Goldsboro, Wednesday, March 19.
A flag of truce boat brings information that the confederate loss in killed, wounded and prisoners, during the recent battle, was five hundred. Burnside admits that the Yankee loss in killed, wounded and prisoners was one thousand five hundred. Major Carmichael, of the Twenty-sixth North-Carolina regiment, was the only field-officer killed. Col. Avery was made prisoner.

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