War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0234 OPERATIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA. Chapter XX.

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guided by the fire of the enemy kept a course nearly parallel to his lines.

After passing General Foster's left and when the head of the column had approached within a short distance of the railroad I halted the brigade, and being exposed to a fire of both artillery and musketry, the regiments were placed in the hollow under as good cover as the ground furnished, and skirmishers were deployed just on the edge of the plateau to observe the enemy. An aide was then sent to the general commanding informing him of my position and that the ground ahead appeared very difficulty. The drains spread into a swamp and the timber was felled, making the ground almost impassable.

Before I received a reply from the general commanding the colonel of the Fourth Rhode Island Regiment, finding his regiment too much exposed, moved it over to the railroad, the embankment affording good cover. While in this position I found that the fire in our front was increasing in intensity, and soon discovered some of our men, a portion of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, of General Reno's brigade, were forced to abandon a position they had attained inside the enemy's intrenchments. Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, commanding the Twenty-first Massachusetts, meeting Colonel Rodman, of the Fourth Rhode Island, informed him that he had been in the work, and assured him of the feasibility of again taking the intrenchments. Lieutenant Lydig, one of my aides, then made an examination of the entrance to the intrenchments by the way of the railroad, and finding it quite practicable, so reported it to Colonel Rodman, who assumed the responsibility and at once prepared for the charge. Lieutenant Hill, my other aide, reported immediately the state of affairs. Being thus in position to turn the flank of the intrenchments resting on the railroad and brick-yard, and having just received orders from the general commanding that "we must flank the battery ahead," I approved the course of Colonel Rodman, and at once ordered the Eighth Connecticut and Fifth Rhode Island Regiments to his support. Colonel Rodman reports:

I then gave the order to charge. Passing quickly by the rifle pits (redoubts on our left flank), which opened on us with little injury, we entered in rear of their intrenchments, and the regiment in a gallant manner carried gun after gun, until the whole nine brass field pieces of their front were in our possession, with carriages, caissons, horses, &c., the enemy sullenly retiring, firing only three guns from the front and three others from the fort (Thompson) on their left, which happily passed over our heads.

The Eighth Connecticut and Fifth Rhode Island followed immediately in the rear and in support of the Fourth Rhode Island. We thus broke the enemy's center and drove him from his intrenched position between the railroad and the river. These regiments wee immediately formed in line, and wee soon joined by the Eleventh Connecticut, the remaining regiment of the brigade. This regiment, being engaged in bringing up the naval howitzers and guns, became detached from the brigade, and by the order of the general commanding was assigned temporarily to the command of Brigadier-General Foster, commanding the First Brigade, and I respectfully refer you to his report of their operations as well as to that of the lieutenant-colonel commanding.

Although now in possession of the entire work of the enemy between the railroad and river, the heavy firing on our left and beyond the railroad proved that General Reno's brigade was till hotly engaging the enemy. Much of the enemy's fire was directed upon us. I ordered the Fifth Rhode Island Battalion and Eighth Connecticut Regiment to advance cautiously and ascertain by skirmishers the ground still occupied