War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0262 OPERATIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA. Chapter XX.

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from my center. I posted the balance of my regiment along the rifle pits and breastworks guarding the landing, holding one company in reserve at the landing proper. During the night a heavy rain set in, thoroughly drenching my men, who were without cover or shelter.

Early on the morning of the 13th the enemy commenced landing in heavy force some 2 or 3 miles below my pickets. A company of cavalry and a regiment which I was promised would support me did not make their appearance; consequently, having had orders to oppose the debarkation of the enemy at Fisher's Landing, I was unable to prevent him below. By this means the Croatan breastworks fell into his hands. During the landing of the enemy his gunboats continued shelling the woods.

At 10 a.m. he approached Fisher's Landing with his boats, throwing shell and canister as he came, steaming sufficiently nigh to hear the conversation of his men on board. About this time Colonel Campbell, of the Seventh Regiment, my senior officer, made his appearance on the ground (not with his regiment, however), and, having carefully surveyed my position and the force of the enemy, ordered me to fall back into the woods beyond reach of the enemy's fire, which I did, with my command in good order, by way of Fisher's avenue. In retiring I had 3 of my men wounded by the enemy's shells, one of whom has since been reported dead.

After forming in the woods near the railroad Colonel Campbell ordered me to fall back on the Fort Thompson intrenchments, where I was ordered to take position on the right of the Seventh Regiment North Carolina troops. Here, under a heavy rain, we remained all night of the 13th instant, without food, after having been all the night previous exposed to a continuous rain, nearly three hours of the day exposed to the enemy's fire, besides marching for several hours, having tasted no food from the evening we left New Berne. Posted on my right was the Militia, resting on the railroad by the brick-yard, where the enemy afterward made his strongest demonstration.

According to the disposition made on the morning of the 14th instant before the engagement took place, my command was divided by a section of Brem's battery and Captain Whitehurst's independent company separating my right wing from my center and left wing. On my right a space of about 40 yards intervening [between] the Militia and the railroad was still left vacant; besides, a trench that ran parallel with the railroad of about 60 or 80 yards was unoccupied by our troops.

In this condition of affairs the battle opened about 7.30 a.m. by the firing of a gun from the enemy's field batteries planted in front of the old county road, which fire was replied to by Brench's and Latham's batteries. Immediately the enemy opened with musketry from the county road above referred to, which was replied to by my regiment, with others to the left. The enemy advanced twice upon the breastworks occupied by me, which advances were repelled each time.

At 10 a.m. he appeared in force on the railroad and on the right of my position, and, the Militia having retired and the trench above referred to being occupied by him in force, as also were the buildings in the brick-yard, I found my command completely flanked.

At this time, however, my second in command, without consulting me, ordered four of my companies on the right wing to fall back, which I rallied and ordered back to their post, which they immediately did, and held it for some time. The fire of the enemy becoming more galling on my right flank, they again retired, by command of my lieutenant-