War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0058 NORTH CAROLINA AND S.E. VIRGINIA. Chapter XXX.

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and the remaining regiments in lines, to be available at any point. My artillery was brought forward and placed in position, firing to the front and left, principally at the bridge. The enemy replied with artillery from the other side of the river. Colonel Heckman advanced steadily up the track, fighting the enemy's infantry posted at the bridge and receiving a fire from the artillery in a monitor-car on the track of the bridge. After two hours he reached the bridge, and under a heavy fire Lieutenant Graham, Twenty-third New York Battery, acting as aide-de-camp to Colonel Heckman, fired the bridge. All who had previously attempted it were picked off, as was wounded Lieutenant B. N. Mann, Seventeenth Massachusetts, who accompanied him.

I brought all my artillery to bear to prevent any effort to save the bridge, and, when the fire was doing its work, ordered a countermarch for New Berne, leaving Colonel Lee to form the rear guard. Colonel Lee was forming his brigade to leave the field, deeming the fight over, when three regimental colors were seen across the railroad track, the men protected by the embankment on which the track was laid. Colonel Lee placed Morrison's battery in position and recalled his regiments in line. The enemy advanced with cheers across the railroad, steadily in line upon Colonel Lee's brigade. Morrison's battery opened on the advancing line with spherical case and with good effect, but they advanced steadily until within 300 yards of the battery, when, unable to stand the fearful loss they were sustaining from the battery, they broke and retreated. Their retreat was unexpectedly covered by a masked battery in woods on our left. Belger's Rhode Island battery, which had been brought back, opened in reply to the battery and on two regiments which came in view, supporting their guns. Riggs' battery Third New York Artillery was placed on an eminence on our left and in line with the enemy, thus bringing a cross-fire to bear. They were thereby forced to retire, as was also a regiment in the woods on our right.

Colonel Lee, having orders not to attempt any further move, again formed his brigade and batteries and proceeded to join the column, which I had halted on hearing the firing from Colonel Lee.

This was a bold attempt of the enemy to entrap and secure Colonel Lee's brigade and Morrison's battery. Owing to the efficiency of Colonel Lee and Morrison's battery it was a disastrous failure. With a strong cavalry rear guard I then started on my return by the direct road, took and transported my sick and wounded men from White Hall and Kinston, carrying them all safely to this point.

On the 13th a fleet of small boats left New Berne, under Commander Murray, U. S. Navy, to attack the works on the river at Kinston, but owing to the lowness of the water in the river only one small boat, the Allison, under Colonel Manchester, Marine Artillery, was brought into action. The works being too strong she, after a gallant resistance, was obliged to retire, having, however, effected a good purpose by mystifying General Evans as to where the attack was to come from, and induced him to retain several regiments on the Kinston side of the Neuse, thus diminishing the force opposed to us.

In conclusion I take great pleasure in reporting on the conduct of the officers and men under my command. It was most excellent, and maintained fully their high reputation.

General Wessells' brigade, of General Peck's division, behaved like veterans, and reflected, by their drill, discipline, and steadiness under fire, the qualities of their commanding officer.

Colonel Heckman, of the Ninth New Jersey, was, within his admirable regiment, always in advance, and displayed the greatest courage and efficiency.