War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0341 Chapter XX. ACTION AT TRANTER'S CREEK, N. C.

Search Civil War Official Records

mountain howitzer for the defense of the town, besides the usual pickets and provost guard.

As the four companies under Captain Maker did not arrive until 6 a. m. Thursday the expedition was not able to take up the line of march until 9.15 a. m. I got information from contrabands as we proceeded that the enemy was posted at two bridges which crossed Tranter's Creek, one being on the road which we were pursuing and the other about half a mile distant from the first to the right of the course we were following. I further learned that the first had been rendered impassable, but that the second, though only a slight bridge, running through a mill, was probably in order or could easily be made so. I therefore turned off to the right a mile this side of Tranter's Creek, and after marching 2 miles came in sight of the mill. There were three buildings, about 30 feet apart, open in the lower story, through which the bridge ran. Our advance, on approaching the first of these around a turn in the road, found that the floor of the third had been torn up and made into a barricade on the opposite side, behind which was placed the advance of the enemy. Our men on seeing them immediately fired upon them and received a volley in return, which caused them to fall back and which wounded Lieutenant H. D. Jarvis, who was in command of the advance. I then ordered up the artillery, which took up its position near the entrance of the first building and commenced firing in the direction in which the enemy was supposed to be, their advance having retired. This was at 2.45 p. m.

Company A, Captain Redding, was disposed on the left of the artillery, under cover of the logs and beams of the mill, and Company F, Captain Clark, was ordered to advance to the support of the artillery, but owing to a misconception of the order the whole regiment approached much nearer than I had intended, inasmuch as from the conformation of the ground, which ran to a point at the mill, only about 50 or 60 men could be placed to fire with effect. I accordingly ordered all to lie down and await orders. The cavalry retired to the rear to guard against the possibility of an attack in that direction.

The firing of the enemy was at this time very rapid and well directed, and we discovered from the flash of their guns that they were distant not more than 50 paces from us. This placed our artillery at a great disadvantage, for at so short a range it could not do its best execution. It was, however, admirably managed by Lieutenant Avery, and as it seemed still to be doing good service I felt unwilling to change its position.

During the first fifteen minutes the enemy's fire continued steady, and most of the wounds on our side were inflicted at that time. After that time it began to slacken, and when we had discovered a large number of men in trees just on the opposite bank and had poured a few rounds of canister into them it wholly ceased. At this time we could see a large number of men running along the opposite bank at some distance from us, and were satisfied that they were totally routed.

The leading companies then advanced to the third building and relaid the floor, which could not have been done until the enemy had been driven from their position, as any one attempting it would have prevented our own fire while within 30 paces of that of the enemy.

The bridge being repaired sufficiently for foot passengers, the infantry, excepting Company K, Captain Maker, which was left for the support of the artillery, crossed, and marched about 100 paces beyond the position which the enemy had occupied, forming line of battle there. Having remained there a short time and examined the position, after