War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0203 Chapter XX. BATTLE OF NEW BERNE, N. C.

Search Civil War Official Records

to move up the county road as a reserve. I also ordered General Parke to detail the Eleventh Connecticut to relieve the Fifty-first Pennsylvania in dragging up the boat howitzers, and their work was done in an efficient and prompt manner. The head of the columns very soon came within range of the enemy's artillery, and the following dispositions were made: General Foster placed the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts, Colonel Upton, and the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, Colonel Stevenson, in line of battle on the right of the county road parallel with the enemy's intrenchments; the six navy boat howitzers, under Lieutenant McCook, with the howitzers of Captains Dayton and Bennett, across the road, the the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts, Colonel Lee, and the Twenty-third Massachusetts, Colonel Kurtz, in line of battle on the left of the road.

The enemy then opened fire, both musketry and artillery, upon General Foster's lines. General Reno then, moving briskly forward with his brigade along the railroad, ordered a charge of the right wing of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, on the the brick-kiln, just in the rear of the main line of intrenchments, which was entirely successful. He at the same time ordered the left win of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Major Rice; the Fifty-first New York, Colonel Ferrero; the Ninth New Jersey, Colonel Heckman, into line of battle on the left of the railroad, with a view of supporting the Twenty-first Massachusetts, holding the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, Colonel Hartranft, in reserve; but he soon found that instead of the enemy's right being on the railroad it extended to a point some three-quarters of a mile beyond, and they were posted along the whole line in a series of redans separated from him by fallen trees and an almost impassable swamp. He soon found himself engaged along the whole line, and was unable to support Colonel Clark, who was soon after compelled to return from the brick-kiln from the attack of an overwhelming force. General Foster ordered the Tenth Connecticut, Colonel Drake, to interline on the left of the Twenty-third Massachusetts. I then ordered General Parke's brigade to take a position in the intermediate space between General Foster and General Reno, and to support whichever brigade needed it. His brigade was formed int he following order, beginning at the left: The Fourth Rhode Island, Colonel Rodman; the Eighth Connecticut, Colonel Harland; the Fifth Rhode Island, Major Wright. The Eleventh Connecticut, which had brought up the boat howitzers, I held as reserve. Soon after this, learning from General Foster that the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts had exhausted its ammunition, I ordered the Eleventh Connecticut, Colonel Mathewson, to report to General Foster for their support.

The engagement was now general all along the whole line. It had been previously ascertained, by the reconnaissance of Captain Williamson, that the enemy had many pieces of field artillery behind their intrenchments, and on their left flanks there was a river battery with four 32-pounders, pivot guns, which enfiladed our lines. Having ordered to General Foster the last of my reserve, I sent word to General Parke to push on through the timber and pass the enemy's right. I then proceeded to the left of our lines to communicate with General Reno, where I found his brigade very hotly engaged with the enemy.

In the mean time Colonel Rodman, of the Fourth Rhode Island, has met Colonel Clark, of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, who informed him that he could get in rear of the enemy's intrenchments by charging down the railroad directly upon the brick-kiln, which he at once did, under a galling fire from the rifle pits in front of General Reno,