War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0243 Chapter XX. BATTLE OF NEW BERNE, N. C.

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proceed immediately with his regiment to Fisher's Landing, which is just above the mouth of Otter Creek, and to resist any attempt of the enemy to land there. Colonel Avery, Thirty-third Regiment, and Lieutenant-Colonel Haywood, Seventh Regiment, constituting the reserve, were ordered to proceed across the river, so as to be in position at the intersection of the Beaufort road and the railroad at daybreak in the morning. Colonel R. P. Campbell, commanding my right wing, was instructed to guard the river shore from the mouth of Otter Creek to Fort Thompson, while Colonel C. C. Lee, who commanded my left wing, was to guard the remainder of the shore, support the river batteries, and re-enforce Colonel Campbell inc case he should be hard pressed. Colonel Campbell was instructed to establish his headquarters at the intersection of the Beaufort road and the breastwork, and to collect his troops around him by daybreak. Both commanders were instructed that, in case it should be necessary to fall back from the river shore to the breastwork, Colonel Campbell should hold tat part to the right of the Beaufort road and Colonel Lee that part to the left of it.

These orders having been dispatched by 9 p. m., the night was spent by the troops in getting into position and other preparations for the contest.

Having given all the necessary directions to staff officers and all others before 3 o'clock Thursday morning, and seen all the men and material forwarded from the camp and depot in New Berne, I proceeded to Colonel Campbell's headquarters. On the road I met dispatches from Colonel Sinclair and Captain P. G. Evans, commanding the pickets, informing me that the enemy were landing troops below the mouth of Otter Creek, and Colonel Vance was directed to send his regiment to Croatan breastwork to occupy it. Railroad trains were on the spot to carry down re-enforcements or to draw off Colonels Vance's and Sinclair's regiments and Brem's battery, as the case might require.

Intelligence was soon brought to me that the enemy's gunboats, having driven Colonel Sinclair's regiment from Fisher's Landing, were rapidly landing troops at that place, and that Colonel Campbell, seeing that the Croatan breastwork was turned, had ordered Vance, Sinclair, and Brem to fall back to the Fort Thompson breastwork.

My force was wholly inadequate to guard the 6 miles of river shore between the mouth of Otter Creek and Fort Thompson. The result was therefore not wholly unexpected but I had hoped that a line of rifle pits I had caused to be made for a mile along the bluffs at and on both sides of Fisher's Landing would have enabled me to hold the enemy in check and to inflict on him serious loss at the first moment of his placing his foot on our soil. I was therefore surprised when the position was yielded with a loss of only 1 killed and 2 wounded, all three of which casualties occurred in the retreat.

After the abandonment of Fisher's Landing to the enemy the prompt withdrawal of Vance and Brem could alone save them from being cut off, and the enemy thus came into possession of my strongest work without having received a single shot from us.

The Fort Thompson breastwork now became my sole reliance for resisting his advance, and throughout the remainder of the day and night of Thursday the most active efforts were made to strengthen that unfinished work. Both officers and men executed my orders with unflagging energy.

I was particularly indebted to Major Thompson and Captain Meade, of the Engineers, to whom I assigned the duty of disposing of the artillery in the most advantageous manner.