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Chapter 8:

The last great battle of 1862 was fought on the hills around Fredericksburg. There, seeing the design of the Federal commander, General Lee concentrated his army to await attack. General McClellan had been displaced by the Federal authorities on the 8th of November, and General Burnside appointed to succeed him as commander in the field. The new leader, yielding to public pressure for some success before the year closed, prepared to attack Lee in his chosen position. Burnside had organized his army into three grand divisions, under Sumner, Hooker and Franklin. The first weeks in December, these grand divisions were stretched along the northern bank of the Rappahannock, and were searching for ways to cross over for an attack. On the southern side of the river, Lee's army was posted on the hills and ridges just back of Fredericksburg. His line extended parallel to the river, and stretched from a point just across from Falmouth to Hamilton's crossing, a distance of about three miles. His left was under Longstreet, and his right under Jackson. R. H. Anderson's division formed the extreme left of Longstreet. His line reached from Taylor's hill to the foot of Marye's hill. There, in the famous sunken road behind a stone wall, Cobb's brigade of McLaws' division was posted. On the left of Cobb and on the prolongation [134] of his line, the Twenty-fourth North Carolina stood. General Ransom was in charge of a North Carolina division of eight regiments, and this was assigned place behind McLaws on the reserve line, and immediately behind the crest of Marye's and Willis' hills. The immediate care of this important point was committed to General Ransom. The eight regiments of this division formed two brigades, one Ransom's own, the other Cooke's. To Ransom's right was Pickett, and then Hood holding Longstreet's right. In Hood's division there were three North Carolina regiments. Jackson's troops were massed along the line of the Fredericksburg & Potomac railroad. A. P. Hill held the front line without much cover. Pender's North Carolina brigade, Lane's North Carolina brigade, and Archer's mixed brigade were on A. P. Hill's front line. They were supported by the brigades of Thomas, Gregg and Brockenbrough, respectively. Taliaferro and Early formed a third line, and D. H. Hill's division was in reserve. Marye's hill was occupied by the Washington artillery; the reserve artillery was on its right and left. The division batteries of Anderson, Ransom and McLaws, including Manly's North Carolina battery, were stationed along the line. On Jackson's front, fourteen pieces of artillery, including a section of Latham's battery, were posted under Lieutenant-Colonel Walker, and Stuart's horse artillery and cavalry were on Jackson's right flank. North Carolina had present in the army thus drawn up, thirty-two regiments and one battalion of infantry, two regiments of cavalry, and three batteries of artillery. Two division commanders and six brigade commanders were also from the same State.

General Burnside arranged to cross the river by pontoon bridges. Franklin's grand division was not opposed, and his men made the passage near Deep run without difficulty. Sumner's grand division in front of the town, however, was so harassed by Barksdale's Mississippi [135] sharpshooters that every effort to lay the bridges was futile. Finally, regiments enough to attack Barksdale were sent over in boats under cover of a fearful cannonade from 147 guns on Stafford hills. After Barksdale was withdrawn, the right grand division crossed on the pontoon bridges. Burnside ordered Franklin's grand division to attack the position held by Jackson. Reynolds' corps was selected, and he advanced Meade's division, supported on the right by Gibbon's division; and then, when Meade was fired upon on his left, Doubleday's division was advanced to Meade's left. Meade's attack fell first on Lane's brigade of North Carolinians. In the general alignment, Lane's brigade did not join Archer's brigade on his right by, Lane says, 600 yards. Into this interval the enemy marched, thus turning Lane's right flank and Archer's left. Lane's Thirty-seventh and Twenty-eighth regiments, under Colonels Barbour and Stowe, stationed on the left, made a resolute stand, but were firmly pressed back. The Thirty-third, Colonel Avery, checked the enemy for a few moments and even essayed to charge, but found its effort unsupported. The Eighteenth, Colonel Purdie, fell back firing until it reached the woods. The Seventh, Lieutenant-Colonel Hill, had been ordered across the railroad to support a battery, and had acted with gallantry. It was now sent for, but the brigade was pushed out of line before the message was delivered. Thomas then moved his brigade to Lane's support, and, with the Eighteenth and Seventh formed on his left, pushed the enemy back across the railroad. Lane's brigade had made a bold stand and gave ground only after what General Lee called ‘a brave and obstinate resistance.’ Gen. A. P. Hill reported that the Twenty-eighth and Thirty-seventh ‘continued to fight until their ammunition was exhausted and were then quietly and steadily retired from the field.’ Archer's left regiments were broken, and the enemy pushed gallantly on to the second line. Three brigades [136] of Early's division were called to the front, and these uniting their efforts to those of the other troops, Meade's men were driven back with great loss. Only one of Early's three brigades contained any North Carolina troops. That was Trimble's brigade, commanded by a North Carolina colonel, R. F. Hoke. In this brigade were the Twenty-first North Carolina and the First battalion. General Early says of the charge of this brigade: ‘I ordered Hoke to advance to his [Archer's] support. This was done in gallant style, and Hoke found the enemy in possession of the trench (which had been occupied by General Archer's brigade). . . . Hoke attacked the enemy vigorously and drove them from the woods and trench to the railroad in front, in which there were reserves. He followed up his attack and drove the enemy from the railroad, which was a strong position, some distance, capturing a considerable number of prisoners.’ Colonel Scales says this charge made Colonel Hoke a brigadier-general, although it nearly cost him his life; for his horse fell from a shell wound and threw his rider. The animal, however, immediately rose and dashed off, dragging Colonel Hoke, whose foot was caught in the stirrup. He was rescued by Colonel Oates' men. Colonel Oates said of the Twenty-first North Carolina:

The Tarheels moved them down in files. Scales' address in Fredericksburg.

Pender's brigade, stationed to Lane's left, was not exposed to so severe an ordeal as Lane's. When the skirmishers and sharpshooters in his front became too annoying, his Twenty-second regiment, Major Cole, drove them away. Colonel McElroy, with the Sixteenth North Carolina, was posted in advance of the line near the railroad cut to support a battery. While there, and with his left entirely unprotected, a brigade of Federals took him unawares and captured an officer and fifteen men who had been thrown out as flankers. General Law, of Hood's division, saw the danger that the battery and regiment [137] were in, and detaching the Fifty-seventh and Fifty-fourth North Carolina, both new regiments never under fire before, he advanced with them, and joined by McElroy, the three regiments dispersed the enemy. During the engagement, a body of the enemy opened fire from the woods bordering the run, upon the left of the advancing line. ‘This was checked by a fire from the left of the Fifty-seventh and Fifty-fourth, which changed front obliquely to the left in order to face the woods.’ General Law says in his report: ‘The conduct of the Fifty-seventh and Fifty-fourth North Carolina regiments was admirable. I cannot speak too highly of their steady courage in advancing, and the coolness with which they retired to the line of railroad when ordered. Colonel Godwin, commanding the Fifty-seventh, and Colonel McDowell, commanding the Fifty-fourth, ably assisted by Lieut.-Col. Hamilton C. Jones, Jr., and Kenneth M. Murchison, handled their commands with great skill and coolness.’ The Regimental History of the Fifty-fourth regiment says it was hard to call the Fifty-fourth from its pursuit, and that some of the men, after the regiment had handsomely repulsed the enemy and followed him for a long distance, were distressed because General Hood would not allow them ‘to win some glory.’ By special order from corps headquarters, a handsome compliment to these two regiments was read at dress parade.

The effort to break through Jackson's lines met a bloody and disastrous repulse. Birney's division was sent to cover the retreat of Meade and Gibbon, and Franklin's grand division, nearly one-half of Burnside's army, did no more considerable fighting on that field.

During the ensanguined battle on the Confederate right, Sumner's grand division had been making desperate attempts to carry Marye's hill the salient point on the Confederate left. The heroic defense of the Confederates behind the stone wall will live perpetually. At the opening of the attack, this wall was held by the gallant brigade [138] of the gifted Gen. Thomas R. R. Cobb, whose fall on this field of battle ended a brave and noble life, and by the Twenty-fourth North Carolina regiment, Lieut.-Col. J. L. Harris. As the attacks grew warmer, Gen. Robert Ransom, who was specially charged with the keeping of this point, sent in three more North Carolina regiments and a part of a fifth. These fought ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with Cobb's men. Ransom's brigade supported the twenty guns that so admirably helped to defend these hills.

The first Federal attack was made by French's division, followed by Hancock's division. General Couch, who commanded the army corps to which both these divisions belonged, says of their charge in the face of ‘the sheet of flame’ that came from the stone wall:

As they charged, the artillery fire would break their formation and they would get mixed; then they would close up, go forward, receive the withering infantry fire, and those who were able would run to the houses and fight as best they could; and then the next brigade coming up in succession would do its duty, and melt like snow coming down on warm ground. Battles and Leaders, III, 113.

Before the first assault, General Ransom had brought up Cooke's brigade to the crest of Marye's hill, and during the assault Cooke took the Twenty-seventh and Forty-sixth and part of the Fifteenth North Carolina into the sunken road. The Forty-eighth North Carolina, under Walkup, fought on top of the crest all day. General Howard was next ordered by the Federal commander to assail the hill, but was hurled back as his predecessors were. General Ransom now moved the rest of his division to the crest, and sent the Twenty-fifth North Carolina to the front line; General Kershaw came up with some of his regiments, and subsequently some of Kemper's were ordered forward. The men in the rear loaded guns, and the ranks interchanged, and in this way an almost continuous fire blazed forth from the line of the stone wall. [139]

After Howard, attacks were made by Sturgis' division, supported by Getty's division. Then Griffin made the brave endeavor. Humphreys next essayed to carry the hill by the bayonet, and desperately did he try, but again his men ‘melted as snow.’ Dead men were lying in such piles in some places that the living could hardly get by, and yet the rash endeavor was kept up. So clearly did those Federals who had stubbornly battled against the position recognize that it was useless to continue such assaults, that General Humphreys says they tried by force to prevent his men from making the attempt. In, it seems, sheer desperation, the Federal commander ordered gallant men to die before the fire from that hill, and silently1 and sternly the men tried to carry out orders, and left their bodies to freeze on the winter night that followed their hopeless and crushed endeavors. General Palfrey, the Union general and historian, thus concludes his account of this battle: ‘The short winter's day came to an end. Fifteen thousand men lay dead or wounded along the banks of the Rappahannock, and the army of the Potomac was no nearer Richmond than it was when the sun arose. The Confederates were elated, and the Federals were depressed. The Confederates had had a day of such savage pleasure as seldom falls to the lot of soldiers, a day on which they saw their opponents doing just what they wished them to do, but what they did not dare to hope they would do. The Federals had had a day of hard and hopeless effort, and they had nothing to cheer them but the consciousness of duty nobly done.’

According to Longstreet's recent figures, the Federals had, not ‘present for duty,’ but actually available for duty, 116,683, and used in the battle about 50,000. The Confederates had available 78,000, and engaged less than 20,000. The total Federal losses were 12,653; the total Confederate losses were: killed, 595; wounded, 4,074; [140] missing, 653. North Carolina losses were: killed, 173; wounded, 1,294. It will thus be seen that just a little less than a third of the killed and the wounded were from North Carolina. General Cooke was among the wounded.

During the interval between the battle of Seven Pines and the battle of Fredericksburg, there were not many important military events in North Carolina. The duty of organizing new regiments still went on. The Fifty-sixth, Col. P. F. Faison; the Fifty-seventh, Col. A. C. Godwin; the Fifty-eighth, Col. J. B. Palmer; the Fifty-ninth (cavalry), Col. D. D. Ferrebee; the Sixteenth, Col. W. M. Hardy; the Sixty-first, Col. J. D. Radcliffe; the Sixty-second, Col. R. G. A. Love; the Sixty-third (cavalry), Col. J. H. McNeil; and the Sixty-fourth, Col. L. M. Allen, were all organized during this time.

Major Gordon, in his article on the ‘Organization of the North Carolina Troops,’ states: ‘When the legislature, in 1861, directed General Martin to furnish clothing for the North Carolina troops, there were then only about thirty regiments in service. In less than a year that number was more than doubled, and it became very plain to General Martin that the .resources of the State were not adequate to the demands of the army. In August, 1862, he laid the matter before Governor Clark, and asked permission to buy supplies abroad, also a ship to transport them. The governor's term of service being near an end, he declined to give any order, .and requested that the matter lie over till Governor Vance was inaugurated. Soon after Governor Vance's inauguration, General Martin brought the matter to his attention. The governor took it under advisement for a few days. Soon his attention was called to the subject again, and he requested General Martin to come to the executive office that night and meet two or three prominent men, when the matter would be discussed on both sides.’ Then, after stating how some prominent men opposed the scheme and declared [141] that the governor and adjutant-general would make themselves liable to impeachment if they followed out the plan, and how General Martin contended for its adoption, Major Gordon proceeds: ‘The governor reserved his decision that night, but when asked for it next day, he authorized General Martin to buy the ship and clothing for the troops, and signed sufficient bonds for this purpose. The next thing for the adjutant-general to do was to get a man of ability and responsibility to be sent as agent to England. The governor made no suggestion on this point. On the recommendation of Major Hogg, Mr. (John) White, of Warrenton, was selected as State agent to go abroad to purchase the ship and supplies, and Col. Tom Crossan was sent to command the ship, and well did they perform this and every other duty intrusted to them by the State. In due time the steamer Lord Clyde, afterward named the Advance, arrived safely in Wilmington with supplies for the troops. Governor Vance got a great deal of credit forth is; General Martin, who was the real author of it, practically none. From this time forward it is certain that the North Carolina troops were better clothed than those of any other State.’

In July of this year (1862), Lieut. A. B. Andrews, commanding 41 men of the First North Carolina cavalry, attacked three gunboats at Rainbow banks, near Williamston. His men fired upon the boats from the banks until the shells from the boats made it impossible to continue the firing. Colonel Baker says: ‘This was one of the boldest and most successful attacks on gunboats that I know of during the war.’

On September 6th a small expedition, under the command of Col. S. D. Pool, arranged for an attack on the Federal garrison at Washington, N. C. This town was held by a force under Colonel Potter, of the First North Carolina Union cavalry. Colonel Pool's force consisted of two companies from the Seventeenth regiment, two from the Fifty-fifth under Capt. P. M. Mull, 50 men under Captain [142] MacRae from the Eighth, and 70 men of the Tenth artillery acting as infantry and commanded by Captain Manney. This force dashed into Washington in the early morning, surprised the garrison, and after a hot fight withdrew, taking several captured guns. The gunboat Picket, stationed there, was blown up just as her men were called to quarters to fire on the Confederates, and nineteen of her men were killed and wounded. The Confederates inflicted in this action a loss of 44, and suffered a loss of 1 3 killed and 57 wounded.

On the 2d of October, General Peck sent Colonel Spear, with 1,700 men and some artillery, to Franklin, Va., on the Blackwater, to attack the Confederates at that point, and if possible to destroy a floating bridge there. The place was defended by Col. J. K. Marshall, of the Fifty-second North Carolina. Spear reached the river on the 3d, and a lively skirmish took place across the river. In spite of the fact that General Peck reported his force as having inflicted a loss of from 75 to 200, the Confederate casualties were 2 wounded.

General Foster with 5,oco men left Washington, N. C., for Williamston, on the 2d of November. At Little creek and at Rawls' mill, spirited resistance to his advance was offered by the Confederates, and Foster lost 6 killed and 8 wounded. The Confederates, however, were not in force enough to do more than retard Foster's movements.

Captain Newkirk, of the cavalry, and Captain Adams, commanding a section of artillery, attacked and destroyed the gunboat Ellis on the New river. According to General Whiting's report, this affair was very creditable to the officers and men engaged.

On December 10th, Lieut.-Col. John C. Lamb, with some companies from the Seventeenth regiment, a squadron of cavalry under Colonel Evans, and Moore's battery, captured for a time the town of Plymouth, N. C. Colonel Galloway gives the following account of the adventure: ‘The plan was to capture the pickets and [143] take the place by surprise. We reached the picket station just before day, captured all but one, who escaped, firing his musket as he ran. This gave notice of our approach, and when we reached Plymouth, a body of Federals were seen formed across the main street ready to receive us. The cavalry was ordered to charge these men, which was done in good style and with a full allowance of the “rebel yell.” The enemy fired one volley and broke in all directions. Some escaped to the gunboats in skiffs, some hid, some took to the houses and fired from the windows. Quite a lively cannonade ensued between the gunboats and our battery.’ Captain Galloway and three privates were wounded.

Two days before the battle of Fredericksburg, General Foster left New Bern, N. C., with a force of 10,000 infantry, 6 batteries, having in all 40 pieces of artillery, and 640 cavalry.2 On the 13th, Foster had reached Southwest creek, not far from Kinston. The Confederates had destroyed the bridge, and Colonel Radcliffe's Sixty-first North Carolina regiment was posted on the west side to delay Foster's advance. The Ninth New Jersey and Wessell's brigade crossed over the creek, and after an engagement of about an hour, Gen. N. G. Evans, commanding the Confederates, was obliged to withdraw. He took position on the Neuse river, about two miles from Kinston bridge. General Evans had, to oppose Foster's 10,000 men, the Seventh, Twenty-second, Twenty-third and Holcombe legion, all South Carolina volunteers; in addition, he had the Sixty-first North Carolina regiment, Mallett's North Carolina battalion, and Boyce's South Carolina, and Starr's and Bunting's North Carolina batteries—in all 2,014 men.

While Evans was moving from the creek to the river, a fleet of small gunboats that had come up from New Bern to attack the works at Kinston, under Commander Murray, endeavored to get in reach of the works. Owing to [144] low water, only one of the boats, the Allison, came into action, and Col. S. D. Pool's battalion of heavy artillery soon drove it back.

On the 14th, General Evans, with his South Carolina brigade on the left and the North Carolinians under Radcliffe on the right, awaited Foster's attack. Foster sent in Wessell's brigade3 and batteries, supporting Wessell's by Amory's brigade and then by Stevenson's brigade. The odds were, of course, too great for Evans, and after two and a half hours of stubborn contention he was forced back across the bridge, and followed so closely that at the crossing 400 of his men were captured. Evans reformed his broken lines, and was joined by the Forty-seventh North Carolina regiment, which had just arrived, under Col. S. H. Rogers.

General Foster sent a demand for the surrender of the Confederates; but, of course, Evans promptly declined compliance. General Evans retreated to Falling creek. General Foster did not pursue, but recrossed the river and continued toward Goldsboro. On arriving at White Hall, eighteen miles from Goldsboro, General Foster found the bridge burned and Gen. B. H. Robertson, of General Evans' command, posted on the opposite bank of the river ready for battle. General Robertson, having under his command the Eleventh North Carolina, Colonel Leventhorpe; the Thirty-first, Colonel Jordan; 600 dismounted cavalrymen from Ferrebee's and Evans' regiments; and a section of Moore's battery, under Lieut. N. McClees, had been sent to burn the bridge and dispute Foster's crossing should he attempt to rebuild the bridge. General Foster sent forward the Ninth New Jersey regiment, followed by Amory's brigade, and eight batteries took position on the river bank. A heavy artillery and infantry fire commenced at 9:30 on the 16th. General Robertson says in his report: ‘Owing to a range of hills on the White Hall side, the enemy had the advantage of position. The point occupied by his troops being narrow, [145] not more than one regiment at a time could engage him. I therefore held Leventhorpe, Ferrebee and Evans in reserve, leaving the artillery [two pieces], Thirty-first regiment, and two picked companies in front. The cannonading from the enemy's batteries became so terrific that the Thirty-first regiment withdrew from their position without instructions, but in good order. I immediately ordered Colonel Leventhorpe forward. The alacrity with which the order was obeyed by his men gave ample proof of their gallant bearing, which they so nobly sustained during the entire fight, which raged with intensity . . . . The conduct of this regiment reflects the greatest credit upon its accomplished and dauntless commander.’

The two guns of McClees were no match for the many batteries across the Neuse, but he served them with coolness and gallantry. Captain Taylor, of Foster's signal service, reported that the fire from the Eleventh was

one of the severest musketry fires I have ever seen. Rebellion Records, XVIII, 62.

Col. W. J. Martin, historian of the Eleventh regiment, says of the conduct of his regiment: ‘Posted along the river bank, from which another regiment had just been driven back, it was pounded for several hours at short range by a terrific storm of grape and canister, as well as musketry; but it never flinched, and gained a reputation for endurance and courage which it proudly maintained to the fateful end.’ The Eleventh regiment that thus distinguished itself was the first regiment organized in North Carolina, and while known as the First North Carolina had fought the battle at Bethel. General Robertson reported his loss at 10 killed, 42 wounded. The Federal loss was 8 killed and 73 wounded.

After this brush with Robertson, Foster moved on toward Goldsboro, his main object being to burn the railroad bridge there. At and near the bridge were stationed General Clingman, with the Eighth, Fifty-first and Fifty-second North Carolina regiments, under Cols. H. M. [146] Shaw, W. A. Allen and J. K. Marshall; Companies B, G and H, Tenth artillery, acting as infantry, and Company F, Fortieth artillery, acting as infantry, under Lieut.-Col. S. D. Pool; and Starr's battery. Other troops were in the vicinity, but for reasons not now apparent, were not moved to the bridge in time to assist the men engaged. The Sixty-first regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Devane, arrived on the field during the engagement and reported to its brigadier, General Clingman, in time to take part in the afternoon action.

When General Foster reached a point near Goldsboro, he ordered five regiments to move down the railroad track and burn the bridge. A regiment was sent with them to protect the flank. General Wessell's brigade was advanced, to be in supporting distance of the advance. The Federal regiments and artillery attacked promptly. All the Federal artillery seems, according to Foster's report, to have been engaged at the bridge. The attack fell principally on the Fifty-first and Fifty-second regiments on the southwest side of the bridge, and on Pool's four companies on the north side of the bridge. Starr's two pieces opened. The two regiments were unable to hold their own, broke, were reformed again by General Clingman, and then driven back to the county bridge. As these regiments were in retreat, Lieut. George A. Graham, of the Twenty-third New York battery, dashed gallantly forward, and in spite of the efforts of Pool's men to reach him with their rifles, set fire to the bridge. Gen. G. W. Smith reported that as Clingman's regiments fell black, Gen. N. G. Evans arrived on the field with his South Carolina brigade, and assumed command. By his direction, the Fifty-first and Fifty-third, supported by Evans' Holcombe legion, made a charge against H. C. Lee's brigade, of which that officer said: ‘A portion of the enemy instantly, with loud cheers, charged up the hill toward the battery, and bore up steadily in the face of a well-directed and most [147] destructive fire. . . . The enemy, meanwhile, had been staggered by the crushing fire of the batteries, and at sight of my supporting regiments, broke and fled in disorder to the woods. His retreat was covered by a heavy fire from the battery on his right, which inflicted on my command a loss of 3 killed and 19 wounded.’

This ‘battery,’ as Colonel Lee calls it, was one gun of Lieut. T. C. Fuller's section of Starr's; the other gun was overturned. Lieutenant Fuller acted with great coolness, and showed a soldier's aptitude for finding and striking his enemy. General Clingman said of the determined manner in which Fuller fought his solitary gun: ‘Lieutenant Fuller with the greatest gallantry continued to reply until darkness put an end to the contest.’ Captain Reinhardt's company of the Third regiment of cavalry is warmly commended in the report of Colonel Stevens.

After the afternoon engagement, General Foster withdrew his troops and returned to New Berne. The total Federal losses during this expedition were 591 killed and wounded.4 The total Confederate loss, as reported by General Smith, was 339. The North Carolina losses, with the exception of the Sixty-first regiment, from which there is no report, were 40 killed and 177 wounded.

During the operations mentioned above, North Carolina was represented in the Western army by the following regiments: Twenty-ninth, Col. R. B. Vance; Thirty-ninth, Col. D. Coleman; Fifty-eighth, Col. J. B. Palmer; Sixty-second, Col. R. G. A. Love; Sixty-fourth, Col. L. M. Allen; Sixty-ninth (Thomas' legion), Col. W. H. Thomas; Fifth cavalry battalion, Maj. A. H. Baird; Seventh cavalry battalion, Lieut.-Col. G. N. Folk, and Lieutenant-Colonel Walker's cavalry battalion.

In September the Sixty-ninth regiment (Thomas' legion) was ordered to Powell's valley. This regiment was raised in the mountains of North Carolina and had [148] in it two companies of Cherokee Indians. On this march, one of these Indian companies became engaged in a sharp little battle with the Federals, and Lieutenant Astoo-gah-sto-ga, who is described by Major Stringfield of that regiment ‘as a splendid specimen of Indian manhood,’ led a charge and was killed. ‘The Indians,’ says Major Stringfield,

were furious at his death, and before they could be restrained, scalped several of the Federal wounded and dead, for which ample apology was made at the time. Regimental History.

In General Bragg's battles at Murfreesboro and Stone's river, North Carolina had engaged these regiments: Twenty-ninth, Thirty-ninth and Sixtieth Col. R. B. Vance, after the death of Gen. J. E. Rains, commanded the Second brigade of Stevenson's division. At Murfreesboro, on the 31st of December, the Twenty-ninth was under fire for over five hours, captured one piece of artillery, and engaged in a gallant charge upon a brigade posted in a cedar thicket. General McCown, the division commander, said of its colonel: ‘Colonel Vance bore himself gallantly.’ The Thirty-ninth was temporarily serving in Gen. Patton Anderson's brigade. General Anderson thus mentions it in his report: ‘The adjutant of the Thirty-ninth North Carolina, Lieut. I. S. Hyams, reported to me on the battlefield that his regiment had become detached . . . and was at that time out of ammunition and under command of Capt. A. W. Bell, the field officers having been killed or wounded. I supplied the needed ammunition, and formed the regiment on the right of the Twenty-seventh Mississippi. It participated creditably in all our subsequent movements until it was detached.’

The Sixtieth regiment, Colonel McDowell, was in both these battles. At Murfreesboro, it was at the opening of the battle under a heavy fire of artillery, but advanced without hesitation until thrown into some confusion by the houses and fences; but most of the companies were at [149] once rallied, and moved against the enemy posted in the cedars. The movement was successful, and the brigade remained that night on the field. Colonel McDowell makes this report of his regiment in the action at Stone's river on the 2d of January: ‘On Friday, in the afternoon, we occupied Stone's river, and formed line of battle in rear of Hanson's and Pillow's brigades to support them in the advance. About 4 o'clock we were ordered to advance, which we did in good order; engaged the enemy, and kept driving him before us until sunset, when it became apparent that he was strongly reinforced and flanking us, and we were ordered to fall back.’ The North Carolina losses in these battles were 10 killed, 144 wounded. [150]

1 General Couch says there was no cheering on the part of the men.

2 Rebellion Records, XVIII, 54.


4 Rebellion Records, XVIII, p. 60.

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