The last effort of the enemy was made on my right. He extended his lines along the wood and threatened my flank, when I ordered the Third Massachusetts to open fire. They did so, but soon discontinued as the enemy retired.
The battery on my left being silenced and the enemy making no further demonstration, and having received information that the creek in our rear was rapidly rising, I ordered my command to withdraw. In crossing the creek the water was up to the waists of the men.
Before retiring the field was carefully searched and the bodies of our dead were brought off. Our position was such, being just at the crest of the hill, that our loss was quite small.
My column slowly and in proper order now rejoined the main body. We arrived at New Berne on Sunday.
It is perhaps unnecessary for me to say that the old regiments (Twenty-fifth and Twenty-seventh) sustained their previous well-earned reputation, officers and men doing their utmost not only to hold but to add to their laurels acquired in the old First Brigade. The new regiments did nobly, marching up steadily and firmly and maintaining their line and position without flinching even in the most exposed situations.
I received great assistance from my acting assistant adjutant-general, Bartlett, and my aides, Lieutenant Myrick, of the Fifth Regiment, and Lieutenant Marsh, of the Forty-sixth.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. C. LEE,
Colonel Twenty-seventh Mass. Regiment, Commanding Third Brigadier
Major SOUTHARD HOFFMAN,
No. 21. Report of Major Josiah Pickett, Twenty-fifth Massachusetts Infantry.
HDQRS. TWENTY-FIFTH Regiment MASSACHUSETTS VOLS.,
Camp Oliver, New Berne, N. C., December 29, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to forward you the following report of the part taken by the Twenty-fifth Regiment in the late expedition to Kinston and Goldsborough:
Arriving from Plymouth late on the afternoon of the 10th with six companies of my regiment, I found orders awaiting me to be ready to march at 7 o'clock on the morning of the 11th and assigning my regiment to the Third Brigade, under command of Colonel Lee. I left New Berne on the morning of the 11th with six companies of the regiment. Captain Moulton joined me at the Harrison place (our outpost on the Trent road) with the other four companies, making an effective force, exclusive of field, staff, and line officers, of 672 men. Nothing occurred in which the regiment or any of it took part worthy of note till Sunday, the 14th instant, when our forces arrived in front of and commenced the battle of Kinston. Received orders to support Battery H, Third New York Artillery, I formed my regiment in line of battle and took position upon the left of the battery. Receiving orders shortly afterward to support Belger's Rhode Island battery I moved forward and took position upon the left. In this latter position I remained until the battle was decided. I then moved forward, crossed the bridge, and bivouacked my regiment that night in Kinston.