returned to my command, soon after which the enemy's vessels opened a heavy fire, at which time I received orders to dismount the remainder of my command and send them to the right and report to Colonel Vance. I immediately ordered Captain Cole, Company F, and Captain Thomas, Company E, to dismount, and Captain Thomas to take command of the two companies, which he did, and marched off. Soon after Major Woodfin arrived, and I ordered him to proceed and take charge of the two companies then marching to the intrenchments, which he promptly obeyed. I immediately dispatched a courier to order the three companies then in camp to report to me at a point on the railroad for duty; but before reporting to me I was informed that they were ordered to retreat by Lieutenant-Colonel Robinson.
While waiting I perceived that the Militia were giving way and retreating. I immediately rode back where the horses of my dismounted men were held, and found many of them mounted and being mounted by the infantry. Captain Cole, most of his command, and a portion of Captain Thomas' command, succeeded in getting their horses, but Lieutenant Graham's command was left on foot, except those that had charge of his horses; also a portion of Captain Thomas' command, which retreated in company with Colonel Vance's command. I remained a short time, expecting Lieutenant Graham and Captain Thomas to come up, so as to inform them what had become of the left of our works, I rode off and overtook my command at Colonel Lee's camp. I immediately proceeded to the head of my command in order to make them march over the bridge by file, fearing that it might break down, which I succeeded in doing in good order, some having however passed over before I arrived at the bridge.
After remaining on the east side of the bridge until about half of my command had passed over I ordered Major Woodfin to remain until they were all over. I then passed over the bridge for the purpose of forming my battalion on the other side. After passing to the other side I found Lieutenant Baker, who I ordered to assist me in forming it. He then informed me that Lieutenant-Colonel Robinson was there attending to the formation of the battalion.
After the whole of my command had passed over, excepting Captain Hays, Company A, I ordered Surgeon Smith to direct Lieutenant Colonel Robinson to march the battalion on the Kinston road a short distance beyond New Berne, and there halt it, and permit the wagons to go on toward Kinston under the directions of the general in command, when a board of officers, composed of the colonels of different regiments, was called, directing us that if we were driven from the intrenchments to fall back on New Berne, which was the only order to retreat I ever received up to that time.
While at the bridge, in company with Captain Strange and Lieutenant Baker, of Company D, Major Barringer rode up, and informed me that he was ordered by the commanding general to direct me to recross the bridge and form my battalion to cover the retreat of the infantry. I told him that I had ordered it to New Berne, but informed him that I would obey the order, and immediately rode rapidly off in company with Major Barringer to do so.
On arriving at New Berne I found my battalion formed and halted on the Kinston road and found Major Woodfin in command. I inquired of him where Lieutenant-Colonel Robinson was, and he informed me that he had rode into New Berne, upon which information we both rode to the railroad. Upon arriving there Major Gilmer gave the order for all the troops to rally around the depot. Major Boone then ordered me