At daylight on the morning of the 14th I ordered an advanced of the entire division, which will be understood by the inclosed pencil sketch.* General Foster's brigade was ordered up the main county road to attack the enemy's left, General Reno up the railroad to attack their right and General Parke to follow General Foster and attack the enemy in front, with instructions to support either or both brigades.
I must defer for want of time a detailed account of the action. It is enough to say that after an engagement of four hours we succeeded in carrying a continuous line of field work of over a mile in length, protected on the river flank by a battery of thirteen heavy guns and on the opposite flank by a line of redoubts of over a half a mile in length for riflemen and field pieces, in the midst of swamps and dense forests, which line of works was defended by eight regiments of infantry, 500 cavalry, and three batteries of field artillery of six gun each. The position was finally carried by a most gallant charge of our men, which enabled us to gain the rear of all the batteries between this point and New Berne, which was done by a rapid advance of the entire force up the main road and railroad, the naval fleet meantime pushing its way up the river, throwing their shots into the forts and in front of us.
The enemy, after retreating in great confusion (throwing away blankets, knapsacks, arms, &c.) across the railroad bridge and county road bridge, burned the former and destroyed the draw of the latter, thus preventing further pursuit, and causing the detention in occupying the town by our military force, but the naval force had arrived at the wharves and commanded it by their guns. I at once advanced General Foster's brigade to take possession of the town by means of the naval vessels, which Commodore Rowan had kindly volunteered for the purpose. The city was set on fire by the retreating rebels in many places, but owing to the exertions of the naval officers the remaining citizens were induced to aid in extinguishing the flames, so that but little harm has been done. Many of the citizens are now returning, and we are now in quiet possession of the city. We have captured the printing press, and shall at once issue a daily sheet.
By this victory our combined force have captured eight batteries containing forty-six heavy guns, three batteries of light artillery of six guns each, making in all sixty-four guns; two steamboats and a number of sailing vessels, wagons, horses, a large quantity of ammunition, commissary and quartermaster stores, forage, and the entire camp equipage of the rebel troops, a large quantity of rosin, turpentine, cotton, &c., and over 200 prisoners.
Our loss thus far ascertained will amount to 91 killed and 466 wounded, many of them mortally.# Among these are some of our most gallant officers and men. The rebel loss is severe, but not so great as our own, being effectually covered by their works.
Too much praise cannot be awarded to the officers and men for their untiring exertion and unceasing patience in accomplishing this work. The effecting of the landing and the approach to within a mile and a half of the enemy's work on the 13th I consider as great a victory as the engagement of the 14th. Owing to the difficult nature of the landing our men were forced to wade ashore waist-deep march through mud to a point 12 miles distant, bivouac in low, marshy ground in a rain-storm for the night, engage the enemy at daylight in the morning, fighting them for four hours amid a dense fog, that prevented them
#But see revised statement, p. 211.