of battle in great force on his right. I instantly ordered up the remaining five companies of Colonel Avery's regiment, and the whole ten opened a terrific fire from their Enfield rifles. The whole Militia, however, had now abandoned their positions, and the utmost exertions of myself and my staff could not rally them. Colonel Sinclair's regiment very quickly followed their example, retreating in the utmost disorder.
This laid open Haywood's right and a large portion of the breastwork was left vacant. I had not a man with whom to re-occupy it, and the enemy soon poured in a column along the railroad and through a portion of the cut-down ground in front, which marched up behind the breastwork to attack what remained of Campbell's command.
The brave Seventh met them with the bayonet and drove them headlong over the parapet, inflicting heavy loss upon them as they fled; but soon returning with heavy re-enforcements, not less than five or six regiments, the Seventh was obliged to yield, falling back slowly and in order. Seeing the enemy behind the breastwork, without a single man to place in the gap through which he was entering and finding the day lost, my next care was to secure the retreat. This was a critical operation, as the enemy, having pierced our center, had possession of the two shortest roads to the bridges, and besides could approach them at pleasure with their gunboats.
Having dispatched two couriers to Colonel Avery and two to Colonel Vance with orders for them to fall back to the bridges, I moved to the intersection of the Beaufort road and railroad to rally the troops and cover the retreat across the bridges. Here I found a train of cars with the Twenty-eighth Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Lowe, who had arrived too late to reach the battle-field, and formed them to hold the enemy in check until all should pass. Colonel Lee was directed to proceed to New Berne and form all the men he could collect in the upper part of town. The Seventh Regiment, arriving in two different parties, was directed to proceed to the Trent Bridge and hold it, while I remained with Lieutenant-Colonel Lowe at the intersection to hold the enemy in check and cover the retreat.
Remaining until there were no more stragglers in sight on either road, I directed Colonel Lowe to fall back to the Tent Bridge, which he did, the enemy showing themselves on the road as his rear guard moved off. Proceeding to the Trent Bridge, I placed Colonel Campbell in command of all the forces there, with instructions to hold the bridge as long as possible for the passage of Avery and Vance, and then to move up the Trent road or join me in town, as I might direct after reaching the town, leaving with him to conduct him that gallant gentleman and soldier Captain Peter G. Evans, whom I had not allowed to leave my person for two days except to bear orders. The railroad bridge was in flames before I left the intersection.
Arriving in town, I found, it in flames in many places and evacuated. Orders written in the street under the lurid glare of the flames were dispatched in every direction through the town to search for Colonel Lee. At Railroad street I learned that a gunboat had already landed at one of the lower wharves. Going up Railroad street to see whether Colonel Lee was at the Fair Grounds, I found, on reaching the depot, that the gunboats were already there and the enemy in the Fair Grounds. Colonel Lee, finding himself in no condition to make resistance, had properly drawn off and marched up the Kinston Road. Following on, and directing all the officers I could overtake to conduct their men to Tuscarora, the nearest railroad depot, I proceeded to that place, and, having made arrangements for the transportation of the troops to