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Doc. 73.-operations in North-Carolina.

The official report of Major-General Foster.

headquarters, Department of North-Carolina, Newbern, December 27, 1862.
Major-General H. W. Halleck, General-in-Chief, United States Army, Washington, D. C.:
General: Referring to my letters of December tenth, fourteenth, and twentieth, I have the honor to report that I left this town at eight A. M. of the eleventh, with the following forces:

Gen. Wessells's brigade of General Peck's division, kindly loaned to me; Col. Amory's brigade; Col. Stevenson's brigade; Col. Loe's brigade. In all about----infantry; batteries Third New-York artillery; Belger's battery, First Rhode Island; section of Twenty-fourth New-York independent battery; section of Twenty-third independent battery, having a total of----guns, and the Third New-York cavalry of about----men.

We marched the first day on the main Kinston road about fourteen miles, when, finding the road obstructed by felled trees for half a mile and over, [254] I bivouacked for the night, and had the obstructions removed during the night by the pioneers.

I pushed on the next morning at daylight. My cavalry advance encountered the enemy when about four miles from the bivouac of the previous night, and after a sharp but brief skirmish, the enemy were routed with some loss.

On arriving at the Vine Swamp road, I ordered Captain Hall, with three companies of cavalry, to push on up the main Kinston road as a demonstration, while the main column proceeded by the Vine Swamp road to the left, thereby avoiding the obstructions and the enemy on the main road. Capt. Hall encountered the enemy in some force; but, after a severe fight, whipped them, taking eighteen prisoners, and killing a number. The march of the main column was somewhat delayed by the bridge over Beaver Creek being destroyed. This was rebuilt, and I pushed on, leaving a regiment (Fifty-first Massachusetts) and a section of artillery (Twenty-third New-York) at the bridge to hold it, and to protect the intersection of the main road and the road I was on, to support Capt. Hall, and to prevent any force driving him back and occupying the cross-roads in our rear.

The main column pushed on about four miles, and bivouacked for the night. There was some cavalry skirmishing during the day.

On Saturday the thirteenth, we again started, leaving the second main road (the one I was on) to the right, and leaving at this intersection the Forty-sixth Massachusetts and one section of artillery (the Twenty fourth New York) to hold the position and feint on the second main road.

We reached South-west Creek, the bridge over which was destroyed, and the enemy posted on the opposite bank, some four hundred strong, with three pieces of artillery. The creek was not fordable, and ran at the foot of a deep ravine, making a very bad position for us. I ordered a battery in as good a position as could be obtained, and under their fire the Ninth New-Jersey, which had the advance, pushed gallantly across the creek — by swimming, by fragments of the bridge and by a mill-dam — and formed on the opposite bank ; at the same time the Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania, of Gen. Wessells's brigade, forced a passage, by the felling of trees and fording, about half a mile below the bridge, and engaged the enemy's left, who thereupon retired and deserted his breastworks. I had ordered the Twenty-third Massachusetts, of Col. Amory's brigade, to cross at the mill to support the Ninth New-Jersey, and also crossed the remainder of Gen. Wessells's brigade. Col. Heckman, with the Ninth New-Jersey, advanced, and was fired upon when about one mile from the creek with canister and musketry. The regiment charged at double-quick, drove the enemy, took some prisoners, and captured a six-pounder gun, caisson, etc., complete. Gen. Wessells bivouacked on the further side of the creek, with the Ninth in advance. The balance of the command, with the artillery, remained on this side of the creek. The Ninth New-Jersey; company K, Third New-York cavalry, and Morrison's battery, Third New-York artillery, had quite a skirmish with the enemy, but drove him, and camped for the night. From the south side of the creek I sent a company of cavalry to strike, and proceed up the Kinston road No. 2. I was on No. 3. The company proceeded up the road toward Kinston, and found the enemy posted by a bridge, which was prepared to be destroyed. The company charged them, and they retired with some loss, destroying the bridge. The enemy's force at this place was estimated at one regiment and four pieces of artillery. Major Garrard, with three companies of cavalry and one section of artillery, proceeded on a reconnoissance on a road leading to Whitehall. After following this road about ten miles, and having met with no opposition, they rejoined the main column.

Sunday, the fourteenth instant, I advanced the column, and when about one mile from Kinston encountered the enemy in strong force. They were posted in strong position in the woods, taking advantage of the ground, which formed a natural breastwork ; their position was secured on their right by a deep swamp, and their left was partially protected by the river.

The Ninth New-Jersey were deployed as skirmishers, and Gen. Wessells's brigade, with Mor rison's battery, Third New-York artillery, were ordered to advance to the right and left of the road, the battery being sent to our extreme right, supported by one of General Wessells's regiments. Colonel Amory's brigade was then advanced, the Seventeenth Massachusetts being sent to support Colonel Heckman on the right, and two regiments (Twenty-third and Forty-fifth Massachusetts) advanced up the road. My artillery (three batteries) I posted in a large field on the right of the road, and about three fourths of a mile in rear of line of attack, (the only position they could be placed in.) I then ordered Colonel Stevenson's brigade, with Belger's Rhode Island battery, forward. The Twenty-fourth Massachusetts supported this battery, and the Fifth Rhode Island, Tenth Connecticut, and Forty-fourth Massachusetts were ordered forward, the two former on the left of the road and the latter on the right, to support the regiments there in pushing the enemy and turning that flank.

The Tenth Connecticut advanced steadily to the extreme front, relieving two of Wessells's brigade who were short of ammunition, and, after receiving a horrible fire for some twenty minutes, made a most gallant charge, in conjunction with the Ninety-sixth New-York volunteers, of General Wessells's brigade, which, with the advance already made (slowly but surely) of the whole line, forced the enemy to retreat precipitately for the bridge over the Neuse, which they crossed, firing the bridge, which had been prepared for that purpose. Several regiments were so close, however, that about four hundred prisoners were taken from the enemy. A line was formed to the river, and the fire extinguished before great damage was done.

The Ninth New-Jersey, Seventeenth Massachusetts, and Gen. Wessells's brigade were at once crossed, pushed into the town and halted. I ordered [255] the bridge to be at once repaired for the crossing of cavalry and artillery. Gen. Evans retired about two miles from town with his command and formed line of battle. I sent a flag of truce to inquire whether he proposed to surrender. He declined. I immediately prepared to attack him, but, knowing he had three light batteries and one section to start with, was unwilling to sacrifice my men, and waited for my artillery to cross. I ordered batteries E and I, Third New-York artillery, to shell the enemy with their twenty-pounder Parrotts (--in number) from the opposite bank, and crossed Col. Amory's brigade with all despatch; but before I could attack, the enemy had retired, and, it being by this time night, I was unable to pursue, and, moreover, my object was accomplished. The troops bivouacked in the fields beyond the town that night, a provost-guard was established for the protection of the town, and all necessary precautions were taken. I sent company K, Third New-York cavalry, down the Neuse, to a work commanding the river. They reported it deserted, with six guns in position, and the work to be of great strength. I sent the company back with teams to bring up the guns and blow up the magazine — the two heavy guns, one eight-inch columbiad and one thirty-two pounder, which the men were unable to remove. Captain Cole destroyed the magazine and brought off four field-pieces complete. Besides these we had two others, deserted by the enemy, and the one taken by the Ninth New-Jersey. I left a strong guard in the town, under Major Fitzsimmons, to make a demonstration on the Goldsboro road on that side of the river. Col. Ledlie, Third New-York artillery, remained to destroy commissary and quartermaster's stores and to burn the bridge. Major Fitzsimmons advanced some nine miles in the direction of Goldsboro, when, hearing the whistle of a locomotive, he fired three shots in the direction of the sound, upon which the train immediately returned in the direction of Goldsboro. Col. Ledlie, before leaving Kinston, destroyed a locomotive, a railroad monitor, etc.

I advanced, without opposition, to within three and a half miles of Whitehall, when I halted for the night. I sent Major Garrard, with three companies of cavalry, to make a reconnoissance to Whitehall. He found one regiment and four guns on our side of the bridge over the Neuse; but they quickly retreated as he approached, firing the bridge effectually.

The next morning, (sixteenth,) I ordered Major Garrard, with five companies, Third New-York cavalry, and one section of artillery, (Twenty-third New-York,) to proceed to Mount Olive, a station on the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, fourteen miles below Goldsboro. In passing Whitehall, en route for Mount Olive, his command was fired upon from the opposite side of the river. He placed his guns in position, and returned the fire till the main column arrived, when he limbered up, and proceeded toward Mount Olive, which point he reached without opposition. Here he destroyed the railroad track for about a mile. He then proceeded along the line of the railroad for four miles, and destroyed the bridge over Goshen Swamp. The track between Mount Olive and the Goshen Swamp bridge was torn up and burned in five places.

The column having arrived at Whitehall, and finding the bridge burned, and the enemy in some force, with infantry and artillery on the other side, and this being the direct road to Goldsboro, I determined to make a strong feint, as if to rebuild and cross. The Ninth New-Jersey and Col. Amory's brigade were sent forward and posted on the bank of the river to engage the enemy. I then ordered up several batteries and posted them on a hill, overlooking the enemy's intrenchments. They opened, and silenced, after an hour's firing, the enemy's guns.

The enemy still maintained their admirable position with sharp-shooters; but, deeming my object accomplished, I moved the command forward toward Goldsboro, having sharp-shooters in rear to continue the fight. We bivouacked that night eight miles from Goldsboro, encountering no further opposition.

On the morning of the seventeenth I advanced on Goldsboro. I ordered Major Fitzsimmons, with two companies of cavalry, to make a feint in the direction of Dudley's Station and Everettsville. They scattered a small force of the enemy there in every direction, burned two trestlework culverts, destroyed a train of four railroad cars, water-station, depot, etc., as well as some small arms, which they were not able to carry off, and captured a flag of the enemy. They then return ed by a short cut to the main column. I also ordered Major Garrard, with four companies of cavalry and one section of artillery, to make a feint in the direction of a bridge over the Neuse on our right, called Thompson's bridge. He found the enemy in force, supposed to be one regiment of infantry and four pieces of artillery, and the bridge already burned. I then directed, in order to make the feint more complete, and to further distract the enemy, one regiment, (Forty-third Massachusetts,) and Angel's battery, (Third New-York artillery,) to the support of the cavalry and to engage the enemy, which they did, silencing, after an hour's brisk engagement, the enemy's fire.

Col. Lee's brigade was in advance of the main column, and came upon the enemy in small force on the edge of the woods lining the railroad track. Riggs's battery (Third New-York artillery) was placed in position, and opened upon them, when the enemy retired.

The Ninth New-Jersey were ordered to strike the railroad track and follow it up direct to the bridge, which they were to burn. Three regiments of Col. Lee's brigade were ordered to their support, (the Twenty-fifth, Twenty-seventh, and Third Massachusetts.) The remaining regiment was thrown on the left to protect our flank in that quarter. Gen. Wessells's brigade was advanced and formed on the hill overlooking the track, etc. Three regiments were thrown to the left, and the remaining regiments in line, to be available [256] at any point. My artillery was brought forward and placed in position, firing to the front and left, principally at the bridge. The enemy replied with artillery from the other side of the river.

Col. Heckman advanced steadily up the track, fighting the enemy's infantry posted at the bridge, and receiving a fire from the artillery in a monitor car, on the track of the bridge. After two hours he reached the bridge, and under a heavy fire, Lieut. Graham, Twenty-third New-York battery, acting as aid-de-camp to Col. Heckman, fired the bridge. All who had attempted it were picked off, as was wounded Lieutenant B. N. Mann, Seventeenth Massachusetts, who accompanied him.

I brought all my artillery to bear to prevent any effort to save the bridge, and when the fire was doing its work, ordered a countermarch for Newbern, leaving Col. Lee to form the rear-guard. Col. Lee was forming his brigade to leave the field, deeming the fight over, when three regimental colors were seen across the railroad track, the men protected by the embankment on which the track was laid. Col. Lee placed Morrison's battery in position, and recalled his regiment in line. The enemy advanced with cheers across the railroad steadily in line upon Colonel Lee's brigade. Morrison's battery opened on the advancing line with spherical case, which did good effect; but they advanced steadily until within three hundred yards of the battery, where, unable to stand the fearful loss they were sustaining from the battery, they broke and retreated. Their retreat was unexpectedly covered by a masked battery, in the woods, on our left. Belger's Rhode Island battery, which had been brought back, opened in reply to the battery, and on two regiments which came in view supporting their guns. Riggs's battery, Third New-York artillery, was placed on an eminence on our left, and in line with the enemy; then, bringing a cross-fire to bear, they were thereby forced to return, as also a regiment in the woods on our right. Col. Lee, having orders not to attempt any further move, again formed his brigade and batteries, and proceeded to join the column, which I had halted on hearing the firing from Col. Lee.

This was a bold attempt of the enemy to entrap and secure Col. Lee's brigade and Morrison's battery. Owing to the efficiency of Colonel Lee and Morrison's battery, it was a disastrous failure.

With a strong cavalry rear-guard, I then started on my return by the direct road, took and transported my sick and wounded men from Whitehall and Kinston, bringing them all safely to this point.

On the thirteenth, a fleet of small boats left Newbern, under Commander Murray, United States navy, to attack the works on the river at Kinston; but, owing to the lowness of the water in the river, only one small boat — the Allison, under Colonel Manchester, marine artillery--was brought into action. The works being too strong, she, after a gallant resistance, was obliged to retire.

In conclusion, I take great pleasure in reporting on the conduct of the officers and men under my command. It was most excellent, and maintained fully their high reputation. Gen.Wessells's brigade, of General Peck's division, behaved like veterans, and reflected by their drill, and discipline, and steadiness under fire, the qualities of their commanding officer.

Col. Heckman, of the Ninth New-Jersey, was, with his admirable regiment, always in advance, and displayed the greatest courage and efficiency.

The Eleventh regiment Connecticut volunteers, under Lieut.-Col. Leggett, (as they always have done,) behaved in the most gallant and dashing manner, making a charge under a fire which in twenty minutes killed and wounded ninety men out of three hundred and forty.

Col. Potter, of the First North-Carolina volunteers, acted on my staff, and was of the greatest aid and assistance to me by his coolness and observation.

I must particularly mention the conduct of Lieut. George W. Graham, Twenty-third New-York battery, acting as aid to Colonel Heckman. Throughout the entire march he was conspicuous for his venturesome courage, and at Goldsboro, in company with Lieut. B. N. Mann, Seventeenth Massachusetts volunteers, advanced and fired the bridge, under the fire of the enemy's infantry and artillery. He only escaped capture by jumping from the bridge down the bank. Lieut. Mann was wounded.

The artillery force under Col. Ledlie was well placed and well served, and the commanding officers and the batteries, without exception, did most excellent service.

The Third New-York cavalry, though not acting as a regiment, were in all cases prompt, brave, and efficient, as shown in the body of my report.

Much credit is due to Mr. H. W. Wilson, engineer, who, in charge of the pioneers and a force of contrabands, did most excellent service in building bridges, repairing roads, etc.

I inclose to General E. A. Hitchcock the list of paroled prisoners, numbering four hundred and ninety-six.

I herewith inclose lists of the killed, wounded, and missing, showing an aggregate of ninety killed, four hundred and seventy-eight wounded, and nine missing.

Among the killed I must mourn Col. Cray, of the Ninety-sixth New-York regiment. He was killed at the head of his regiment, at the Kinston bridge. Though but a few days in this department, he had already won the high esteem of all here.

In the charge of the Tenth Connecticut, they lost Capt. H. A. Wells, and Lieuts. H. W. Perkins, T. D. Hill, and J. C. Coffing, all good and excellent officers, who died doing a gallant duty.

For many details of distinguished services of individual officers, I beg to refer to the brigade and regimental reports.

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

John G. Foster, Major-General Commanding Department.


Colonel Sprague's report.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

None were killed, two wounded, and none missing.

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

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

Report of Colonel Amory.

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

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

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

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

In the action at Whitehall, on the sixteenth, my brigade being in advance, three of the regiments — the Seventeenth, Twenty-third, and Forty-fifth--were immediately engaged, with what effect could not be ascertained, as the enemy was [258] posted in intrenchments on the opposite side of the river, which was not fordable. These regiments did their whole duty, remaining under fire as far in advance as possible, until I was directed to withdraw them, in order to allow the artillery to occupy their position, which was done, and the guns of the enemy soon afterward silenced. In resuming the march from Whitehall, I was directed to detach the Seventeenth to reinforce the advance-guard under Colonel Heckman, Ninth New-Jersey. The remainder of my brigade took position in the rear of the column.

On the morning of the seventeenth, I was further directed to detach a regiment with the battery which was to hold Thompson's Ford, five miles above, which order I complied with, sending the Forty-third Massachusetts under Colonel Holbrook.

In the engagement at Goldsboro bridge, the three remaining regiments of my brigade were not brought forward into action. Col. Heckman, of the Ninth New-Jersey, will doubtless report upon the conduct of the Seventeenth in that action. Their list of wounded proves them to have been completely engaged, and the successful accomplishment of the object of the expedition, in the destruction of the railroad bridge, is the only comment I need make on their efficiency. When all did their duty well, it seems unnecessary to mention names, but I feel compelled in this place to testify to the fidelity with which Dr. Galloupe, the senior surgeon of my brigade, discharged his duties. His efficiency at all times, and his care of the wounded, merit the highest praise.

recapitulation of killed and wounded in the First brigade.

Seventeenth Massachusetts,129
Twenty-third Massachusetts,1552
Forty-third Massachusetts,21
Forty-fifth Massachusetts,1760
Fifty-first Massachusetts, 2

I am, Major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Col. T. I. C. Amory, Commanding First Brigade. Major S. Hoffman, A. A. General, Newbern, N. C.

Report of Captain Ransom.

headquarters Twenty-Third battery N. Y.S. V. Light artillery, Newbern, N. C., December 22.
Colonel James H. Ledlie, Chief of Artillery, Department N. C.:
Colonel: I have the honor of transmitting the following report of the expedition in which one section of my battery took part.

On the evening of the tenth instant, I received an order to join the expedition which was to move from Newbern on the following morning at four A. M. The battery horses were then at Morehead City, but were brought down by railroad during the night, and all was in readiness in the morning to move at the appointed time. The Twenty-third battery was attached to Major Stone's battalion.

On the evening of the twelth, in connection with the Fifty-first regiment, Massachusetts volunteers, we were detached and placed to guard the bridge across Bacheldor's Creek, about thirteen miles from Kinston, where we remained until the morning of the fourteenth, when we were ordered to move in the direction of the main column.

On arriving near Kinston we were assigned in connection with a portion of the Fifth regiment Massachusetts volunteers, the holding of a bridge across a creek. On the following day (fifteenth) at one o'clock P. M., I was ordered to join the main column, the rear of which was several hours in our advance.

By rapid marching, pursuant to order, we passed about two thirds of the moving column. Early on the morning of the sixteenth, with four companies of the Third New-York volunteer cavalry, all under command of Major Garrard, proceeded to the head of the column.

At Whitehall we came under the fire of the enemy's skirmishers. Unlimbering and firing eight rounds of shell and shrapnel, we silenced their fire for the time being. Although the bullets of the enemy flew plentifully about us, yet we escaped with but one battery horse wounded.

From this point, under Major Garrard, we rapidly marched in the direction of Mount Olive, on the Wilmington and Goldsboro Railroad, twenty miles from the latter place.

We reached Mount Olive at about ten o'clock P. M., to the complete surprise of the inhabitants, who evidently had no previous warning of our approach. After destroying the bridges on the railroad in the vicinity, and taking up the switch and portions of the track, and otherwise damaging the road, cutting and destroying telegraph poles and wires, and also burning a quantity of rosin and cotton, after nightfall we took up our line of march for the main camp, where we arrived after midnight, having marched upward of forty miles.

At daylight on the morning of the seventeenth, with the force of the previous day, and still under command of Major Garrard of the Third New-York cavalry, we moved toward Johnson's bridge across the Neuse River, nine miles below Goldsboro, and at or near Hill Springs. As the cavalry in advance had been fired into by a rebel battery near the bridge, I was ordered to fire a few shots in the vicinity, as feelers for the enemy's whereabouts, but without getting a reply. For some considerable time the firing was continued at intervals of five minutes.

Having been directed by Major Garrard to place my pieces further down the river, and toward the bridge, I proceeded to select a suitable point to place them, but after I had advanced about five hundred yards, I was fired upon by the skirmishers of the enemy from the opposite bank of the river. I immediately shelled them from the opposite bank in that vicinity. The enemy's battery soon after this opened a brisk fire upon us; and now having ascertained his whereabouts, we vigorously replied. About this time a contraband who had just escaped from across the river, stated that he had seen five dead and a number wounded [259] of the enemy, and also eight artillery horses that had been killed by our fire. Soon after the enemy opened his battery upon us, I was joined by four pieces of Captain Angels's battery, which came gallantly up to our support. In less than thirty minutes the enemy's battery and the fire of his skirmishers, were so effectually silenced as to give us no further trouble during the remainder of the day.

I have no definite means of knowing the loss of the enemy, but it must have been considerable, as we had a good range of them, while their shell either exploded harmlessly or fell short of us. It was ascertained from several shells picked up in front of our battery, that the enemy cut his fuse less than two seconds, while the distance between us was between one thousand and one thousand one hundred yards. Soon after midnight on the eighteenth, we left our camp to join the main force about five miles distant.

Three days march brought us to our camp at Newbern, on the evening of the twentieth inst.

In conclusion, I beg leave to state, that all under my command behaved with commendable coolness while under fire, and proved themselves zealous in the discharge of their duties. I am, Colonel, with great respect, your obedient servant,

A. Ransom, Captain Commanding Twenty-third Battery New-York Volunteer Artillery.

Newbern progress account.

Newbern, December 18, 1862.
On the morning of the eleventh instant, Major-Gen. Foster left Newbern with an adequate and well-appointed force, and proceeded toward Goldsboro.

An inconsiderable skirmish occurred at Trenton, at noon on Friday, in which Capt. Moshell, company B, Third New-York cavalry, charged upon and put to flight a body of rebel cavalry, and two companies of infantry. The advance reached South-west Creek, the bridge across which had been destroyed, at eleven o'clock A. M. The Ninth New-Jersey made a detour through the woods, crossing the creek at a point above, and seized the rebel battery stationed in the middle of the road on the opposite side of the stream, Captain Chesney, company A, first reaching the guns. At about dusk the rebel advance, some two thousand strong, made another stand about four miles this side of Kinston. The Ninth New-Jersey, and Morrison's battery, were sent up to feel their position, and engaged them briskly for some thirty minutes, when the enemy fell back again. Our forces then bivouacked for the night.

Sunday morning, the fourteenth, the main army coming up at about nine o'clock, our advance — the Ninth New-Jersey and Morrison's battery — moved on about a mile, when a general engagement with the enemy, seven thousand strong, commenced, continuing from half-past 10 A. M. to two P. M., when the enemy, who were closely pressed, retreated over the long bridge across the Neuse River, and our army victoriously entered Kinston. Our loss in killed, wounded, and missing will not exceed one hundred and fifty. Among the killed was Col. Gray, of the Ninety-sixth New-York, who fell at the head of his regiment, while leading a successful charge. Capt. Wells and Lieut. Perkins, of the Tenth Connecticut, were also killed. Loss of the enemy not definitely ascertained. We took upwards of five hundred prisoners, among whom were two colonels and several other officers, and eleven pieces of artillery, besides other captures. Col. Heckman, Ninth New-Jersey, and Col. Hunt, Ninety-second New-York, are to be recommended for promotion to brigadier-generalships, for distinguished gallantry.

The strategy of Gen. Foster in the conduct of the expedition was most masterly, and thoroughly successful. Our troops fought well without exception. They were greatly elated, and clamorous to be led on Raleigh.

The rebels felled trees across the road and burnt bridges, in order to delay the progress of our forces; but the efficiency and skill of H. W. Wilson, the Civil Engineer of the department, with his well-trained corps of mechanics, soon overcame these obstacles and kept the army in motion. The situation of the ground upon which the battle was fought was such as to render it very difficult to bring any considerable body of troops into action. The rebels having the opportunity to select the battle-ground, of course had decidedly the advantage in position.

The Tenth Connecticut sustained a heavier loss than any other regiment engaged, and deserve especial notice for valor and good discipline. They brilliantly maintained the reputation won in former well-fought battles. The Third brigade, Gen. Peck's division, Gen. H. W. Wessells commanding, which was sent down to accompany this expedition, effectively supported the advance and materially contributed to the success of the movement. Gen. Foster earnestly desires that these veteran troops be retained in this department.

The new Massachusetts regiments engaged displayed great coolness and courage under fire. Little Rhody, Burnside's State, was well represented by the Fifth Rhode Island regiment.

Company K, Third New-York cavalry, Captain Cole, charged across four deep ditches, eight feet wide, and took seven pieces of rebel artillery, and brought them off in triumph smoking hot.

General Foster gives Captain James C. Slaight, Chief-Quartermaster of the department, high praise for the ample arrangement made for transportation and the vigor and promptness with which it was brought up, and to this fact the celerity of the movement is in a great measure attributed.

Col. Ledlie, Third New-York artillery, Acting Brigadier-General, handled his batteries with great efficiency and skill, and will, we understand, be promoted also.

One of the three special correspondents of the Herald, the only paper represented in the department, came very near being killed by a charge of grape from a rebel battery during the engagement. [260] Gen. Foster defeated the expectations of the rebels in every particular.

As we go to press we learn that Goldsboro and Weldon have fallen, and that our victorious armies are still in motion.

Newbern, Dec. 23, 1862.
In our Thursday's issue we gave an account of the battle at Kinston, and there left the victorious troops. We now proceed to give an account of what followed.

On the fourteenth instant, after saving the bridge at Kinston, which the rebels endeavored in vain to destroy, the Federal army, under Gen. Foster, crossed over the river, and formed in two columns, advancing almost at right angles with each other toward Kinston, which is situated a short distance from the river. They found the enemy drawn up in line of battle at the farther extremity of the town, with a battery planted on Washington's Hill, in such a position as to rake the main street. Upon this, the columns halted, and a flag of truce was sent to General Evans, to demand a surrender of the town, and of the rebel forces under his command, which courteous request was declined. Soon after this, a flag of truce was sent to General Foster by Gen. Evans, requesting the removal of the women and children, as he was intending to shell Kinston immediately. While the women and children were being removed to a place of security, Gen. Evans, in violation of military etiquette, moved his command to a new and safer position.

The Federal batteries opened upon the rebels for about an hour, shelling them across and over the town, when the rebel fire was silenced. But few people were found in town.

Some seventy or eighty bales of cotton were set on fire by the rebels in the middle of the street and partially burned. Some cotton was captured in an undamaged state. The Provost-Marshal took possession of the town, and used reasonable precaution for the protection of property by placing guards.

On entering the town, nine guns were captured, and the troops were encamped for the night at Kinston. During the night, two houses were accidentally destroyed by fire. About four hundred prisoners, mostly South-Carolinians, were here captured and paroled.

On the morning of the fifteenth, a battalion of cavalry and two pieces of artillery moved up the main road for Goldsboro, and had a smart fight with the advanced force of the enemy. During this fight the whistle of a locomotive was heard, bringing reenforcements for the rebels. Although the train was not discernible, the fire of the artillery was directed in that direction, which had the effect to cause the train to fall back to Mosely Hall, where in strong intrenchments and great force they waited to give the Federals battle, thinking General Foster designed to march on Goldsboro by that route, thus making the diversion completely successful.

While this by-play was going on in front, the main column recrossed the bridge at Kinston, and advanced up the left bank, taking the river road. After all the Federal forces had been safely crossed, the cavalry had been withdrawn, and transported to the left bank, the bridge was destroyed to prevent an attack upon the rear-guard and wagon-train.

By nightfall on the fifteenth, the Union army encamped three and one half miles from the village of Whitehall, on the left bank of the river.

During the evening of the fifteenth, a battalion of cavalry, with two guns, under command of Major Garrard, was sent to Whitehall to destroy the Neuse River bridge, and a gunboat, said to be building at that place. They charged into the village, found the bridge in flames, and learned that a regiment of South-Carolina chivalry, who had arrived too late to join in the battle at Kinston, had retreated across the bridge but a few minutes before their arrival.

After a reconnoissance on the river-bank, the gunboat was discovered on the opposite side of the river, on the stocks, with her woodwork two thirds completed. She was being built for two guns and was to be plated with heavy sheet-iron, so as to render her impervious to musketry, was flat-bottomed, of light draught, and intended for reconnoissance duty. Finding that they could not cross the river at Whitehall, and knowing the enemy to be in force on the opposite side of the stream, some two thousand barrels of turpentine were set on fire, to the right and left of the bridge, in such a position as to throw the reflection of the light upon the enemy. A tree was felled across the stream, hoping by its help to cross and burn the boat, but the tree was too short. Two shots were fired by the enemy, who were discovered in great force on the opposite bank.

No other way being left, volunteers were called for, to swim the stream and burn the boat. A private named Butler, volunteered. A brisk fire of shell was now opened on the enemy to the right and left of the bridge, and several rounds of canister, at short-range. Butler in the interim stripped to the task, plunged into the water and swam to the opposite bank. Running up the bank to the flaming bridge, to procure a brand, several shots were fired at him, and two of the enemy darted from their hiding-places, near the bridge, attempting to catch him. Quick as thought, he turned, and swam back, and though several shots were fired at him, returned safely and unhurt. On his return, the Federals again shelled the woods on the opposite bank, and threw solid shot and shell into the boat, inflicting all the injury possible under the circumstances, and then returned to camp.

On the sixteenth, the main column advanced to Whitehall. As they came up, a brisk engagement ensued, and as the work began to grow warm, the artillery came up, and the fight waxed warm. The battalion of cavalry and two guns swept past Whitehall, and went rapidly on to Mount Olive Station, some seventeen miles from Goldsboro, to cut the railroad at that place. In the mean time General Foster entered into a general [261] engagement at Whitehall, to cover the cavalry movement, bringing some thirty guns into active operation. The enemy had four batteries on the opposite banks and eight thousand infantry. After an engagement of three and one half hours, the enemy's guns were silenced.

During this engagement Gen. Foster attempted to build the bridge under fire. Some of the Massachusetts troops, not understanding this feint, and thinking a passage of the river was intended, swam the stream and ascended the opposite banks. This being reported to the General, they were ordered back, when the whole column moved on, and encamped for the night.

Major Garrard reached Mount Olive station at three P. M., and cut — the telegraph, captured a mail, and destroyed trestle-work a quarter of a mile long, three bridges, and the track at intermediate places for a distance of ten miles, including both ways, and returned to the main column during the night.

On the seventeenth the Federal army moved on to Goldsboro Railroad bridge. While the main column was moving, a force was sent to Tompkins bridge, over the Neuse, below the railroad bridge, to destroy it. On arriving, they found the bridge in flames, and the enemy in force. A smart skirmish ensued.

The main column came in sight of the rebels one mile from the railroad, and found them drawn up in line of battle on the railroad, this side of the bridge, with an open country before them. From a commanding position the Federal batteries shelled them, causing them to retreat with great precipitancy across the river.

A battery advanced and opened fire, again shelling them across the river. While this was being done, a couple of regiments were ordered through the woods, forded a creek, and came out upon the railroad. One of them advanced in column down the road towards the bridge, while the other advanced through an open field. The rebels now opened a heavy fire of musketry and artillery, from a battery stationed to the right of the bridge, and a general fire along their entire line. Added to this they had an iron-clad railroad car, mounting one or more guns, protecting the bridge, and the road within range.

After nearly two hours fighting, Gen. Foster gave orders to Col. Heckman to burn the bridge. Several attempts were made to burn it, but were unsuccessful, owing to the deadly fire of the rebel sharp-shooters. Lieutenant Graham, acting aid to Col. Heckman, finally succeeded in destroying the bridge.

As the head of the Federal column commenced their return to Whitehall, Gen. Pettigrew's brigade, with artillery attached, arrived unknown to the Federals, slightly to the left of the column. Gen. Pettigrew observing Morrison's battery in what seemed to be an exposed situation, determined to capture it. Accordingly, two South-Carolina regiments rushed upon the track, the officers waving their swords and colors, and with cheers and yells, charged with fixed bayonets over a ditch and a fence to within four hundred yards of the battery. While making this charge, the battery opened with canister, mowing them down — literally annihilating the two rebel regiments.

Almost simultaneous with that movement, another heavy force advanced out of the woods to the right. This latter force was repulsed by Belger's and Riggs's batteries, Belger opening with a direct and cross-fire. After two hours hard fighting, the rebel fire was silenced.

The Federal force camped for the night near the battle-field, having to pass through woods on fire, making the passage, at times, difficult and dangerous.

Col. Mallett, the conscription officer, was captured and paroled.

The troops arrived here on Friday and Saturday, having fully and literally fulfilled the objects of the expedition.

The different regiments and batteries did nobly. To particularize would be invidious, especially where every body did well. We await the publication of the official report with eager interest.

Boston Traveller account.

Newbern, N. C., December 22, 1862.
Since the advent of Gen. Burnside into North-Carolina, the capture of Roanoke, Newbern and Beaufort, but little has occurred in the way of aggressive warfare, up to within a couple of weeks back, save a few small expeditions having insignificant results, to claim an adequate share of public attention. One great reason of this was the fact that Gen. Burnside left but few troops here when he went to reenforce the army before Richmond, for it left Gen. Foster too small a force with which to attempt any thing of importance. In November, however, the new troops from Massachusetts began to arrive, and the work of brigadiering and drilling them for the field was carried on with vigor.

The old regiments remaining here were worked in with the new ones, and through a system of patient effort and unceasing attention, the whole was worked up into a considerable army, which for efficiency and good discipline might well challenge praise, and reflect credit upon the working brigadiers and the commanding general.

Preparations had been going on for some time for a large expedition; but how large and where its destination was wisely confined to a few who knew how to keep the secret. On the ninth of December the return brigade of General Wessells (of General Peck's division) arrived in Newbern, and preparations for the expediton were hastily completed. An order from Gen. Foster was read the same evening to all the regiments on dress parade, to be ready in thirty-six hours, in light marching order, namely, without knapsacks — carrying only blankets and overcoats — with three days rations to be carried in haversacks, seven days to be carried by wagons.

Were not the Yankees proverbial for guessing, it might be new to tell you of the various conjectures indulged in as to the destination of the expedition. Rumor, with her lying tongue, was [262] busy, and would send the expedition to Richmond, to Weldon, to Goldsboro, to Wilmington, to Charleston, and even to Texas, but no one believed, while all retailed or invented such gossip.

The morning of Thursday, December eleventh, 1862, broke clear and cool, and beheld a fine array of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, taking up their line of march, by the Trent road, from Newbern. The sight was magnificent, as the long lines of infantry with their polished arms, and the cavalry and artillery, slowly but cheerfully, with an elasticity of step and a merry hum of voices, that unmistakably showed how high the spirit and expectations of all were aroused, and that it required but an able general to lead such an army on from victory to victory.

As we advanced into the country, the evidences of former strife everywhere met the eye, in the desolated plantations, houses burned to the ground or partially destroyed, and an air of ruin and loneliness pervading all. After a march of about fourteen miles, the army bivouacked for the night on a plantation which seemed more fortunate than many others we passed. But its time had come; and as regiment after regiment arrived and stacked arms, it was a curious study to watch the rush they made for the nearest fence, the eager scramble for rails, and the disappearance of the fences, as if by magic. As night darkened over the scene, the countless bivouac fires rose in all directions, casting a lurid glare up to the sky, and forming about as picturesque a scene as could possibly be imagined. And the sounds of voices, and laughter, and the neighing of horses, and unearthly braying of mules, all combined to render that bivouac a something to be remembered forever.

Beyond where we encamped Thursday evening, the rebels, having notice of our approach, had blockaded the road for two miles, by felling trees across; but the pioneers had been busy removing them during the night, and when the army resumed its march in the morning the way was cleared, and we passed on.

About ten A. M. on Friday a skirmish occurred, near Trenton, between our advanced-guard of cavalry and some rebel cavalry and infantry, in which the latter were routed with the loss of three or four killed and several wounded and taken prisoners.

Our advance reached South-west Creek about noon on Saturday, and the enemy, about two thousand strong, were posted beyond, with a battery commanding the road.

The Ninth New-Jersey and Morrison's battery were sent forward to feel their position, and a smart cannonading of some two hours duration took place, when the Ninth New-Jersey made a detour through the woods and captured the battery, putting the rebels to flight. They made another stand about four miles this side of Kinston, when the same force pushed after them and engaged them for about half an hour, when the rebels again fell back. The army then bivouacked for the night. I stated that the men were to carry three days rations in their haversacks; but soldiers, like sailors, are given to think of little but their immediate wants, and in this case their three days rations were nearly all consumed by the evening of the second day, so that during Saturday many of them felt the pangs of actual hunger.

It will not be surprising, then, if it were told, that no sooner were they encamped for the night than foraging parties stole silently away, and soon returned with carcasses of fresh beef and pork, and an abundance of sweet potatoes, and if they encamped upon that field as hungry a set of men as you ever saw, I'll venture to say not one went to sleep hungry, but with stomach well lined with substantial food.

“Apple-jack,” too, (something better than good cider, and not quite so palatable as good wine,) was then first tasted by many; but it could not be had in sufficient abundance to produce intoxication on any. This liquor, together with cider, whisky, and peach brandy, is common to most houses of any pretensions at the South, and kept by all in greater or less abundance.

Pigs and poultry in great numbers surround every farm-house, and the way these have been dealt with by our hungry men must be a matter of wonder and regret to many of our secession enemies. As to sweet potatoes — an excellent and highly nutritious article of food, requiring but simple preparations to render them fit for eating — they have been completely demolished wherever our army passed through. Honey, too, shared the same fate, and many a farmer and planter will mourn the loss of his bees the coming season.

On Sunday morning, fourteenth, the army again took up its line of march, and about nine o'clock our advance — consisting of the Ninth New-Jersey and Morrison's battery — came up with the enemy, who was advantageously posted in a swamp and on a rising ground beyond, about a mile from the bridge leading across the river to Kinston.

A sharp action commenced, which was sustained with spirit by our advance, until the main body coming up, the action became more earnest and terrible, and as battery after battery arrived in position, and opened its fire on the enemy, the ground fairly shook with their repeated reverberations, while the sharp roll of musketry — whole battalions delivering their fire at once — filled up the intervals. The rebel position was well chosen, under cover of a dense undergrowth of wood, their foreground protected by groves of pines, which, however, offered no impediment to our artillery, which mowed them down like grass. The rebels had about seven thousand men, but, in choosing their position, forgot to protect their left flank, and this being discovered, a column of infantry and a battery were sent round, which completely flanked them, and being at the same time charged with vigor by the Ninety-sixth and Ninety-second New-York, and the Forty-fifth Massachusetts, they gave way and fled in confusion across the bridge, which they fired in three [263] or four places, leaving two or three of their wounded to be burned to death.

The flames were soon extinguished, and the Ninth New-Jersey, followed by the Seventeenth Massachusetts, crossed over, and Kinston was ours. The Ninth New-Jersey captured the colors of the Twenty-second South-Carolina regiment. About five hundred prisoners were captured, including several officers, and eleven pieces of artillery, besides various other things, including a quantity of small arms and ammunition.

On arriving in Kinston, it was ascertained that the remaining rebels were preparing to make another stand on the railroad, about a mile beyond the town, but a few well-directed shells put them to the “right about,” and they skedaddled, leaving us in quiet possession. Our loss in killed and wounded will reach to about two hundred, including the Colonel of the Ninety-sixth New-York and a captain and lieutenant of the Tenth Connecticut. The loss of the enemy is not ascertained.

Of the scenes that were enacted in Kinston that night, it would be impossible in the purpose of a letter like this to make more than a passing mention. Suffice it to say, that the eatables and drinkables flowed freely about; but no insults to females, or other conduct of a like character, came under my notice.

Geese and all other kinds of poultry suffered, of course; apple-jack bled freely, and many of the soldiers who had disencumbered themselves of their blankets on going into battle, made amends by appropriating a stray blanket or quilt from the piles of clothing lying in various directions, which the frightened inhabitants had collected but left in their flight. But all inhabitants who remained at their houses were protected, while those who fled found on their return in many of their stores and houses evidences of occupation by unwelcome visitors. Unfortunately, during the saturnalia, a large hotel took fire and burnt to the ground.

On Monday morning the army again took up its line of march ; after burning the bridges to prevent the rebels, should they return to Kinston, from crossing over and annoying us in the rear, and encamped within three and a half miles of Whitehall.

On Tuesday, about nine o'clock, our advance felt the enemy at Whitehall, who retired across the river, burned the bridge, and opened upon us from the opposite bank with artillery and musketry. The enemy had a number of sharpshooters placed in the tree-tops, and in other advantageous positions along the banks of the river, who kept up a galling fire upon our troops; but our batteries, getting into position, poured such an incessant fire of grape, canister, round-shot, and shell into them that they were fain to retire after keeping up the action for about four hours and a half. Our loss in killed and wounded in this engagement cannot be less than one hundred and fifty. The Twenty-third Massachusetts and Ninth New-Jersey lost most heavily in this engagement, but I cannot tell the exact amount of their losses save from camp rumors, which are generally unreliable and largely over-estimate our losses as well as that of the enemy. The Forty-fourth Massachusetts lost two killed and about forty wounded at Whitehall, and the Seventeenth Massachusetts lost fourteen wounded.

Our forces were withdrawn from Whitehall about half-past 1 o'clock, the Seventeenth Massachusetts taking the lead, followed by the Ninth New-Jersey, Wessells's brigade, which had hitherto kept the advance, giving place to Gen. Amory's (Second) brigade.

Of the battle of Whitehall — or rather the artillery duel there — much might be said, and at the time some dissatisfaction was expressed that General Foster (lid not force the position and cross over, for it had now become the settled conviction of the army as well as rebels that we were to march into Goldsboro. But that able General understood his business well, and outwitted the rebels in this as in every instance during this short but brilliant campaign. The army continued its march to within about five miles of Steep Creek, and eight miles from the Wilmington Railroad, where it encamped for the night, and on Wednesday the Seventeenth Massachusetts and Ninth New-Jersey took up the advance, and proceeded cautiously along to within about two miles of the railroad, where they encountered the enemy's pickets, who retired as they advanced.

Here, at a place called Dudley's Mills, Sergeant Hardy, of company F, Seventeenth, was mortally wounded, and died shortly after. The Seventeenth then advanced along the country road, which crossed the railroad about a mile to the south of the railroad bridge crossing the Neuse River, and on arriving at the railroad abundant evidences were manifest of a hasty preparation to receive us, abandoned in greater haste, the hoes and shovels used in making rifle-pits and breastworks being left in confusion along the track. Axes were immediately brought into requisition, the telegraph posts cut down and the wires destroyed, and for the first time since the rebellion broke out, telegraphic communication between Jeff Davis's capital (Richmond) and the capital of secession (Charleston) was interrupted.

Two companies being sent out as skirmishers to the left of the railroad, the gallant Seventeenth took up its march on the track toward the bridge, which it was the purpose of the expedition to destroy. This bridge was a magnificent structure, about two hundred feet long, and it is said to have taken twelve months to build. The Seventeenth had proceeded but a quarter of the distance toward the bridge when they were opened upon by a battery placed on the track across the bridge, which, having the exact range of our position, sent shot and shell into us with terrible accuracy.

The track was immediately cleared, the regiment dividing, taking each side of the railroad, the bed of which here rises to an elevation of about ten feet, and gradually advancing toward the bridge. The fire now from the battery, and [264] from sharp-shooters on each side of the railroad, became so continuous and heavy that it was difficult to tell whether moving along or lying still was most dangerous; but the brave men of the Seventeenth thought not of danger, kept pressing on, returning the fire wherever a rebel showed himself as a mark. An incident here occurred, which shows how the ludicrous is often mixed with the terrible, and that humorous incidents will occur even in the heat and carnage of battle. A poor dog, who found that he had unwittingly strayed into rather a rough place, and seeming, with almost human instinct, to realize his danger, crept in under one of our boys, who was a few yards in advance of me, and persistently endeavored to keep his position.

The soldier, not relishing the companionship, endeavored to make him get from under, wishing himself to be next the ground; for an inch of elevation in such a position is often so much of a mark for a bullet or a piece of shell. But the dog would not be repulsed, but as often as he was dislodged he returned to the charge, and I could not help laughing at hearing the half-fearful expressions of impatience from the soldier in his endeavors to dislodge the animal: “Clear out of this, d---n you!” etc. Finally the dog was repulsed.

But to return to the battle. The regiment having progressed in the manner described about half a mile, the order was given to form on the railroad, charge across the bridge and take the battery which annoyed us so much. The brave fellows immediately formed, and were on the point of advancing when they were saluted by two tremendous volleys of musketry, from two rebel regiments, which lay concealed in a wood at the extremity of a corn-field on the left. And now commenced a scene that it would be vain to attempt a description of, especially by an actor in it.

In about half the time it takes to tell it, every man of them had jumped, tumbled, or rolled over into the ditch to the right of the track, and were, it seemed, thrown into inextricable confusion; but whoever supposed such a thing or thought the regiment would skedaddle, did not know the Seventeenth, for immediately after they could pick themselves up they commenced a rapid and well-directed fire upon the rebels, who were no doubt much surprised to see the men they thought they had annihilated so suddenly rise to life. But the strangest part of the story remains to be told — only two men of the Seventeenth were wounded by these destructive volleys. The Ninth New-Jersey, which was posted on the right of the railroad and in the line of the rebel fire, had several men wounded, and retired out of range. But the Seventeenth, using the elevated bed of the railroad as a breastwork, kept up a heavy fire upon the rebels, and still advanced until the head of the regiment reached the bridge.

About this time Belger's Rhode Island battery came up and took position on the right of the railroad, and commenced shelling the woods opposite — sending in an occasional dose of grape and canister — until the rebel fire was almost entirely silenced. The battery on the other side of the bridge was silenced and withdrawn after the second or third fire, and ceased to trouble us. Faint cheers were now heard from the rebels, and on looking to ascertain the cause, it was discovered that a train had arrived with reenforcements, which could be seen rapidly defiling from the cars and forming in line of battle across the railroad. Captain Belger, on learning this, immediately jumped upon the railroad and directed the fire of his battery. The first shell fired fell rather to the left of the rebel line. The second fell in their midst almost on the railroad track, and the way they scattered into the woods was a caution.

A “monitor” or battery came up with this train, and immediately commenced shelling us, every shell bursting directly above our heads. At the third fire from Belger's battery, the shell exploded the engine, and a column of white smoke shot up into the air, carrying with it, no doubt, the lives of many a poor rebel. The rebel fire slackened somewhat, and the Seventeenth were formed, and marched out from their intrenchments behind the battery. While lying in a hollow, behind the battery, the rebels seemed endowed with new life, and sent shot and shell thick and fast into and around them. At this time Lieut. B. N. Mann, who had command of the skirmishers on the left of the railroad, returned with his company, and reported himself to the Colonel. The bridge was to be fired at all hazards, and a captain and two men from the Ninth New-Jersey had volunteered to go and fire it, with a like number from the Seventeenth. Lieut. Mann volunteered, with two men from company A, and the brave fellows set forward on their perilous expedition.

On their way they were met by a perfect storm of bullets from the enemy's sharp-shooters, but succeeded in firing the bridge. Lieutenant Mann was wounded in the abdomen, but not dangerously, and is now doing well. The Seventeenth received great praise for good behavior, while under the fire of the enemy ; when ordered from the field, they marched out from under the enemy's fire with files dressed up as neatly as if coming off dress-parade. Colonel Fellows was, throughout the action, with his regiment, encouraging his men, and acted as cool and self-posessed, as if directing the ordinary movements of a battalion drill. The other officers of the Seventeenth also acted well, and stood by their men like bricks. Captain Belger, of the Rhode Island battery, is a splendid fellow, and deserves well of his country. His coolness and undaunted bravery did much, very much toward the success of the enterprise.

In the mean time the work of tearing up the rails and sleepers of the railroad and setting them on fire was efficiently performed by the Fifth Massachusetts and the New-York cavalry, the latter destroying another railroad bridge about two miles north of the great bridge; and when the fight was concluded, I had time to notice the [265] smoke of hundreds of fires, extending as far as the eye could reach on the bed of the road, indicating how completely the work of demolition had been accomplished. I think it will take the mechanics of Jeff Davis as many months to repair the mischief done as it took the New-York and Massachusetts boys hours to perpetrate it.

But in the mean time, and toward sunset, the rebels having crossed the county bridge, some two or three miles above the railroad, to the number of three thousand, came down and charged across the railroad upon battery B, Third New-York artillery. They formed in three lines of battle, and came on with a terrible swoop, intending to crush all before them.

The Captain of the battery ordered his pieces to be loaded with a double charge of grape and canister, and when they came within about sixty yards, sent a hail-storm into their midst, which mowed them down like grass, and before they could rally or fly, sent another discharge into them which threw them into such confusion that they incontinently fled and were seen no more. About forty prisoners were taken, and if the artillery supports had charged, no doubt many more would have been captured. The Seventeenth lost but two men killed and seventeen wounded in this affair. Of the losses to the other regiments I know not, but they must have been trifling. Of the rebel loss I am not capable of guessing, and can therefore give no estimate.

The expedition was successful. The strategy of Gen. Foster completely bewildered the rebel leaders, and thus one of the most important lines of railway was cut and rendered useless, and the army of North-Carolina having marched one hundred and forty miles, fought three engagements, and returned to Newbern unmolested, in ten days from the time of setting out.

If all our armies worked so well, so hard, and to such purpose, how long, think you, would it take to flatten out this rebellion? Why, about thirty days.

There may be some inaccuracies, omissions, and mistakes in the foregoing, but so far as my limited observation can extend, the facts stated are mainly correct.


Boston Transcript account.

camp Amory, On the Trent, headquarters Forty-Fifth regiment mass. Vols., Newbern, December 24, 1862.
A Letter from the Forty-fifth Regiment.
Mr. Editor: My last was at the close of the day, on the tenth instant, just having received orders to march at daybreak next morning. Accordingly, four A. M. of the eleventh found us astir, and at five the regiment was in line, prepared to march. What a world of experience has dawned upon us since that time! As Cassio says, “I remember a mass of things,” but so crowded have events been one upon another, that, like him, it seems doubtful what I remember distinctly. I will, however, endeavor to write what I do know and experienced during the ten and a half days the Forty-fifth were absent from this place, participating in the recent expedition to Goldsboro. What I write must relate more particularly to the doings of the Forty-fifth, as one has but little chance to know what is happening elsewhere, if attending to duty in his own regiment.

As I have before stated, five A. M. of the eleventh found us on the march for Newbern proper, about two miles from our camp. On arriving in the city, we found it full of horse, foot, artillery, and munitions of war of all kinds in motion, and all seeming in a hurry. Were soon marched to our position on the Trent road, where our brigade (the First Amory's) was forming.

Here of course occurred the usual and inevitable delay attending military movements, not getting fairly started until after nine A. M. The line of advance thence was over the Trent road, bearing north-west from the city, which seemed to be the constant direction of our march. Our progress was slow, and often varied with halts. The reason for this was apparent — bad roads. The orders being for the men to avoid mud and wet as much as possible. With a considerateness which does somebody credit, they were permitted to pass around or get through bad places in the best way they could.

Nothing of special interest occurred during our first day's march. We passed numerous picket stations of our own during the day; among the rest a camp of the Massachusetts Twenty-fifth, also very many ruins of houses along the road, fruits of secession — whether destroyed by our own men or by the rebels themselves, we were unable to ascertain. The close of the day and a quick turn in the road brought us in view of our camp-ground for the night, which a large portion of the advance had already reached and built their fires for the night, using for the purpose the very excellent hard pine rails with which the ground (an immense corn-field) was surrounded. It is supposed that we marched about eighteen miles this day, and being quite thoroughly tired, wrapped ourselves in our blankets, and without other shelter, lay down to sleep, which came without much wooing.

The early morning of the twelfth finds us again on the march. There are rumors of skirmishing in the front by the cavalry, and we find that attempts have been made to obstruct the passage of our troops by felling enormous trees across the road, but the pioneers preceding us have cleared the way of all obstructions, and we are enabled to pass along without delay, except from the roads, which at this time seem to be particularly bad, the mud and water averaging anywhere from ankle to knee-deep. The privilege granted the men on the first day of picking the best way through the mud was found to cause so much delay that orders were given to push along straight through every thing, consequently there was some tall wading, and few but had wet and muddy feet and legs.

About noon we reached a place where our cavalry had a skirmish with mounted pickets of the enemy, taking three of them prisoners, whom we saw lying alongside the road under guard. A [266] short distance further on, a poor misguided “reb” was lying in front of a small house, wounded, it was said unto death, and soon another in the same condition. Matters now looked as if coming to a crisis. Company E was sent to the rear as skirmishers, and videttes were thrown out from each company, but none of the enemy were seen. The march this P. M. was almost constantly over swamp roads with mud ankle-deep. Nothing further of interest occurred during the day. At nine o'clock a halt was ordered and we bivouacked as before, in a corn-field.

At about seven o'clock on the morning of the thirteenth, we were off again on our travels. Nothing of importance occurred until ten o'clock, when we heard the booming of heavy guns from the artillery in advance; at first faint and occasional, but soon louder and more continuous. Somehow, it seemed as if a load of fatigue was lifted off the shoulders of the regiment. Each individual appeared to press forward with renewed vigor, as though anxious to be in the van, if there was work to be done. Now came the order to halt, and give way to the right and left, when several batteries of artillery dashed through our centre to the front. The gap was quickly closed up, and the word was forward. At twelve o'clock we reached a position of cross-roads where, near by, in a field, the line of battle formed. The regiment was soon placed in position to support the field-battery, and every preparation made for fighting. In this state matters remained until about four, when orders came to stack arms, and bivouac in position for the night. The noise of the big guns had ceased, and there appeared no prospect of an engagement at this point. A cavalry man who was in the advance told the following story in regard to the firing we had heard coming from our front in the forenoon. He said that there had been considerable skirmishing with cavalry and infantry of the enemy since yesterday. To-day the advance had reached a place, just beyond our camp, on the banks of a creek, where a rebel battery of two twelve-pounders was posted. The bridge across the creek had been destroyed to prevent the passage of our troops, but the valiant Ninth New-Jersey charged across through the water and took both pieces. “I tell the tale as 'twas told to me.”

At eight o'clock on Sunday, the fourteenth, (an eventful day with us, for it marks the first blood shed by the regiment,) we were on the move, soon crossing the creek where the Ninth New-Jersey were said to have charged across. The bridge had been re-built by our sappers and miners, and the troops passed without hindrance. One of the captured pieces lay near, by the side of the road, and not far from it two dead forms with the uniform of secession upon them. For a long distance the woods had been felled to form an abattis, and everything indicated preparations had been made at this point for a stubborn resistance to our advance. It is said that prisoners taken here stated that the rebels were unaware of our numbers, supposing it to be a mere cavalry raid from Newbern, but when they found the extent of our forces, they chose discretion as the better part of valor, and retired, abandoning their position.

Here again, as before when we expected fighting, the road lay through a swamp, with mud and water half-way up to our knees.

At half-past 10 in the forenoon the sound of artillery firing, interspersed with occasional discharges of musketry, came from the front, and indicated the commencement of the fight at Kinston, concerning which action it is my purpose to relate so much as pertains to the participation of the Forty-fifth therein.

In the first place we came to a halt for the purpose of allowing the passage of the artillery through our centre. Then rapidly closing up, the line of march was taken up over a road running nearly north toward the scene of action; soon diverging a little to the east, passing into a field where a battery was posted, with a regiment of infantry in support, and then under fire. It was understood at this time that the rebels were endeavoring to execute a flank movement on our forces. To aid in defeating this, the Forty-fifth were sent first by the left and then by the right into the woods skirting the road I have before mentioned, by the latter movement crossing it and passing into the woods in the new direction. The road had not been left hardly a moment before three of our number were killed and several wounded. Pressing steadily forward without firing, the regiment passed into a swamp, knee-deep in mud, where we found the Tenth Connecticut and One Hundred and Third Pennsylvania. Immediately under a heavy fire the line of battle was formed, and the advance commenced upon the enemy, who were posted in the road and on high ground to the right, with a church thereon, the whole position forming an arc of a circle, completely commanding the swamp, and apparently an excellently selected position to defend, and from whence a stout resistance came against the advance of our troops.

The bullets, shot and shell flew like hail. The veterans of the Tenth Connecticut and the One Hundred and Third Pennsylvania and other regiments of Wessell's brigade say that they were never in a position where the fire was more concentrated or rapid. Our troops lay close for a while, loading and firing with all the rapidity possible. Here many were killed and wounded. Some of the latter are mentioned as being struck in the back; it was in this way, lying with face toward the foe; but never a one in retreat. Soon an opportune moment came for a charge from a portion of the line, and the brave Tenth Connecticut swept forward to the front in advance of the Forty-fifth, who rapidly closed up. The rebels gave way gradually from the woods skirting the swamp, occupying, in the retreat, the church I have before mentioned, and holding it until there was scarcely a square foot but that had a bullet-hole in it. Then with the advantages gained in position by the artillery and our infantry to the left, in advance, the position became too warm to hold, and the enemy commenced retreating across the river, under cover of the fire of a five-gun battery of theirs, which had been in service all the time during the [267] fight. Getting most of their force over, the bridge was set on fire to prevent our soldiers crossing, but the fire was quickly extinguished, and the chase after the flying rebels began, our artillery throwing shell after them. How much fighting there may have been across the river I cannot say of my own knowledge.

The Forty-fifth did not cross the river at this time, but retained their position in the woods skirting the swamp, the battle at this time being virtually ended, having lasted not far from five hours. The regiment had been engaged the greater portion of this time, and lost in killed and died from wounds thirteen, wounded forty, out of about seven hundred men carried into action, two companies, C and G, not being with the regiment, in consequence of absence from headquarters for garrison duty at Moorehead City and Beaufort.

At about dusk the Forty-fifth filed off in line with the marching mass of troops across the river to occupy Kinston, which lies about two miles from the scene of action, where the troops bivouacked for the night. Kinston, I should say, might have been a town of six or eight thousand inhabitants, and is really in my estimation a pretty, thriving-looking place, more so than any I have heretofore seen in this country. As we entered, huge fires were burning in the streets; not exactly in welcome of our coming, however, but to destroy cotton, turpentine, etc. O infatuation! to what extent mayst thou not be carried. Early on the morning of the fifteenth the line of march is taken up again, passing back over the road by which we entered Kinston; across the river and by the battle-ground the day before. Soon after leaving the field on our left, a turn to the right put us again on our course north-west, which we seem temporarily to have deviated from in order to touch at Kinston. Nothing of any great importance transpired during the day. At night we encamped in an immense potato-field.

Made an early start on the morning of the sixteenth, plodding along as usual over muddy roads, all pretty thoroughly fatigued. Nothing of interest occurred until about ten o'clock, when the roar of artillery in the advance said work ahead, and told the beginning of the fight at Whitehall, (or Jericho as it is sometimes called.) The Forty-fifth arrived at the front about half-past 10, and passed down the road toward the scene of action under artillery fire from both sides over them. Then the regiment filed to a field to the left, to go to the rear of a battery, where we were ordered to lie down and await the issue. This was a most trying position — directly in line of a heavy artillery fire from both sides, with occasionally a shell or round-shot dropping from the rebels among the regiment. Here were killed three, and wounded nine, without a gun being fired from the regiment. Among the killed was Color-Sergeant Theodore Parkman, who was struck in the head by a ball, while lying down holding the staff with the stars and stripes in his hand. When the colors fell, Col. Codman seized them from the ground and bore them aloft again, passing them to the color-corporal.

This fight, as at Kinston, was along the banks of the Neuse River.

The rebels were posted in log fortifications on high ground, and had, it is said, two gunboats, recently built, to aid them. These gunboats were destroyed by our artillery, so it is reported. Our troops did not seek to cross the river at all, the object appearing to be simply to silence the batteries and destroy the gunboats.

At about half-past 2 the firing ceased, and we again took up our line of march forward. Nothing further occurred during the day. At night we encamped on a field near a run of water called Sleepy Creek.

On the morning of the seventeenth the word was, forward again. We began to think, as had been jokingly said, that we were to go straight through to Richmond. At ten o'clock, after a long halt, the position of the Forty-fifth was changed from well in the advance, where we had been from the start, to the rear, as baggage-guard. In this position the march was continued till about half-past 3, and to within two or three miles of Goldsboro, where heavy firing had been going on since forenoon. At this time, half-past 3, an orderly came riding from the front, giving directions that the baggage-train should be immediately reversed, that all had been accomplished that was desired, and the expedition was to return to Newbern.

Of the fight at Goldsboro, I know nothing — the Forty-fifth were in no way engaged, and not near enough to see any thing of the action.

After turning face toward Newbern, the regiment stood in line some time while portions of the advance marched by them — the band of the Forty-fifth, which had accompanied the regiment with their instruments, playing the while. The band also gave an evening concert for the gratification of the troops while at Kinston.

The march was kept up, this day, until half-past 9 in the evening, when we went into camp.

On the morning of the eighteenth started at five, still in charge of the baggage; the left flank, company I, in charge of a batch of prisoners, which had been captured along the way, principally by the cavalry. These prisoners were all paroled alongside the road on the way down. Passed the Whitehall (at Jericho) battle-ground at ten. Nothing of interest during the rest of the day. Got into camp about eight. Said to have marched about twenty-two miles--our longest day's work.

On the nineteenth we were away at sunrise. Passed during the forenoon the battle-ground at Kinston, and the houses near by which were used for hospitals on the occasion of the fight, whence the wounded were taken on ambulances, to be placed on board gunboats lying about three miles below the town, and by them carried to Newbern. The same course was pursued with the wounded at Whitehall, an item which I neglected to mention in its proper place.

The bridge across the Neuse, which the rebels tried to burn, on the day of the fight, and did not [268] succeed in the attempt, we find has been entirely destroyed by our own troops, and Kinston evacuated. Indeed, this we expected, and had heard of before from two companies of our regiment (E and K) who were left behind to patrol the town, and were the last to leave, burning the bridge on their departure, and rejoining the regiment in camp, late on the night of the fifteenth, the day after the battle.

Homeward bound from Kinston, we take the Neuse road, said to be some thirteen miles nearer than the Trent road by which we came. The rebels appear to have expected us this way from Newbern, as we find breastworks thrown up commanding the road, trees felled, and many deserted camps. An old miller, whom we met on the way, told us that up to Friday before the Sunday of the fight these camps were all occupied. At that time they all moved into town. He estimated that there were from six to seven thousand rebel troops in Kinston on the day of the fight. We passed during the day two or three dead rebels lying by the side of the road, supposed to have been pickets killed in skirmishes with our cavalry.

Nothing of interest occurred on the twentieth, save that we marched some twenty miles, which brought us to within six or eight miles of our barracks at Newbern.

On the twenty-first, started at six o'clock, and at half-past 10 o'clock marched into our old camp to the dear old tune of “Home, sweet home” from the band.

Glad enough were we, poor, weary, foot-sore soldiers, to get back, I can assure you. Not, however, but that we would have endured twice as much, had it been possible, and the cause demanded it.

To sum up briefly the time of the expedition from leaving Newbern was ten and a half days. In that period but little less than two hundred miles were marched, over the worst of roads. Out of that time, about a day and a half was occupied in fighting. The Forty-fifth was probably eight hours altogether, in action and under fire.

One word in regard to the officers of our regiment. I know how little flattering words cost, and how often they are used in the connection in which I am about to write, without a shadow of truth, but I feel certain that when I say that each and all of them have doubled the high estimate in which they were held by the regiment previous to the starting of the expedition, I do but make an assertion which will be met by a hearty amen in the Forty-fifth. If any fault were to be found, it would be of recklessness in some cases.

Dr. Kneeland and the Rev. Dr. Stone were in the thickest of the fight, and often in great danger, attending to the wants of the wounded, in which duty they were ably seconded by the band of the regiment, acting as an ambulance corps.

It may be supposed that one who was in the expedition would be likely to know something of the whys and wherefores of its origin and its effects; but those matters I leave for others. I simply know that I went with my regiment, which was one of probably some twenty or more others. There was fighting at Kinston, Whitehall and Goldsboro, and after that we came home. I heard of bridges and railroads being destroyed between Goldsboro and Wilmington by our troops. It is said that the movement was quite successful. I trust it was equal to the sacrifice of life and limb involved. If so, amen to the mud, fatigue, short rations, and every thing else endured to secure the result.

There are many incidents and accidents remaining in my memory which I could not find room for in this letter, but will try to make the subject of another at some future time.


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