War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0244 OPERATIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA. Chapter XX.

Search Civil War Official Records

In the afternoon the gunboats shelled the breastworks heavily from a position they had taken out of reach of the guns of our batteries.

The composure with which all classes of my troops received this attack from an unseen foe strengthened the confidence I felt in their standing under fire.

No damage was inflicted on us by the shells, but the accuracy with which they were thrown over a thick, intervening woodland convinced me of the necessity of driving traitors and enemies in disguise from all towns and neighborhoods of which we desire to hold military possession.

During the day on Thursday the troops were posted behind the intrenchments, and it was painfully apparent that my force was not sufficient to man them eve with a thin line for the finished portions of them. I was compelled to withdraw Lieutenant-Colonel Haywood of the Seventh Regiment from the reserve and place him on the line.

The regiments were posted as follows, commencing on the left:

Lieutenant-Colonel Barbour, Thirty-seventh Regiment, and Major Gilmer, Twenty-seventh Regiment, between Fort Thompson and the Beaufort County road. Lieutenant-Colonel Haywood, Seventh, Colonel Sinclair, Thirty-fifth, and Colonel Clark (Militia), between the Beaufort road and the railroad. Colonel Vance, Twenty-sixth regiment, to the right of the railroad. A few unattached companies were placed between the regiments. My headquarters were about 200 yards in rear of the intrenchment at the railroad and the reserve was about 200 yards in my rear; the cavalry regiment about half a mile to the rear. In this order the troops slept on their arms.

At 11 o'clock Thursday night Colonel Lee brought the intelligence that signal rockets had just been seen on our extreme right, from which I inferred that the enemy, having found the Weathersby road, were in front of that portion of my line.

Orders were sent to Colonel Vance to extend his regiment so that its right might rest on the Weathersby road, and in an hour a section of Brem's battery as moving by a circuitous route to a position on that road.

On taking my position Friday morning the center appeared so weak that I dispatched my aide-de-camp to Colonel Campbell to say to him that it must be re-enforced if possible.

At about 7.30 o'clock Friday morning the fire opened along the line from the railroad to the river. I soon received a message from Colonel Lee that the enemy were attempting to turn our left. This proved to be a feint, as I replied to him that I thought it would.

The next incident of the battle was the appearance of the enemy's skirmishers in front of Vance, and consequently on the prolongation of the line held by the Militia. It was tod rive the enemy from that position that I had directed the 24-pounder battery to be placed there, and supposing it was ready to service, I sent Captain Rodman, with his company, to man it, but they found the guns not mounted, and were ordered into position to act as infantry. The skirmishers of the enemy, finding themselves on the flank of the Militia, fired at them a few shots from their flank files, which caused a portion of them to flee in great disorder.

I instantly ordered Colonel Avery to send five companies to dislodge them. He sent them instantly, under Lieutenant-Colonel Hoke; but before Hoke had fully got into position, through he moved with the greatest promptness and celerity, I received a message from Colonel Clark, of the Militia, informing me that the enemy were in line