War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0252 OPERATIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA. Chapter XX.

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No. 23. Report of Colonel S. B. Spruill, Nineteenth North Carolina Infantry.


Kinston, N. C., March -, 1862.

On Wednesday evening, the 12th instant, I received information that the enemy had made their appearance in the river and to hold my command in readiness to march at a moment's warning.

On Thursday morning, 13th, I received an order from General Branch to report with my command immediately to the general commanding at the crossing of the Beaufort road and railroad, which was promptly obeyed. My command, consisting of Companies D, E, F, H, and K, proceeded down as far as Colonel Vance's encampment, near the intrenchments, and reported myself for duty. I then received orders to fall back to a convenient position, which I occupied, between the Beaufort road and railroad.

About 2 p.m. I received a verbal order to dismount two of my companies that were best armed, leaving a sufficient number of men to guard the horses, and for them to report to Colonel Vance, then on the extreme right, which I obeyed, by ordering Company A, commanded by Captain Hays, and Company K, commanded by Lieutenant William A. Graham, jr., these companies being armed with rifles and carbines. The other companies remained in their same position until about 3 p.m., at which time the enemy were throwing their shells very near us, move until we went a short distance beyond the railroad. There we remained until night, when the firing ceased.

During the time I received an order to send two companies to report to Lieutenant-Colonel Robinson, to act as vedettes for the night, which I obeyed, by detailing Company D, commanded by Captain Strange, and Company H, Captain Randolph. These companies were under the command of Major J. W. Woodfin.

I then ordered Lieutenant Haughton, of Captain Evans' company, which had a short time before joined us, to report to Colonel Campbell, whose immediate command I was then under, and ask of him permission to take my command back to camp for the purpose of feeding my horses. I received in reply to exercise my own discretion. As I had permission to do so, between 9 and 10 o'clock I ordered the remainder of my command, consisting of two companies, and Captain Evans' company, commanded by Lieutenant Evans, taking the horses of the dismounted companies back to camp.

Next morning about 4 o'clock I ordered the two companies to mount, and take with them the horses of the dismounted companies and hold themselves in readiness to march.

Before day I sent Captain Cole's company to relieve the two companies that had been on duty during the night as vedettes. The two companies relieved returned to camp about 4 a.m. I ordered the commanders of these two companies, together with Company C, commanded by Lieutenant Wynn, which had arrived from Washington about 2 o'clock at night, having made the march during the day and part of the night, a distance of 40 miles, to feed and rest until they were ordered by me to report for duty on the field.

When I arrived near the intrenchments on the Beaufort road I ordered a halt. I then reported myself to Colonel Campbell, with my command, for duty. He ordered me to remain ready for duty. I immediately