double-quick and Yankee yell and secured one 6-pounder and caisson, killed 3, wounded several, and took 8 of the enemy prisoners. Skirmishing continued through the whole day, my loss being 1 wounded and 1 taken prisoner.
About 3 p.m. Captain Cole, Third New York Cavalry, reported to me, by order of General Wessells, to reconnoiter forward. We had proceeded about three-fourths of a mile when our advance guard was fired upon by volleys of musketry from both sides of the road, wounding 1 cavalryman. I ordered the cavalry to the rear and deployed as skirmishers three companies on each side of the road. The men advanced steadily and firmly under a heavy but wild firing of two regiments of infantry and two 6-pounders. Morrison's battery came to my assistance and drove the enemy into their stronghold. We bivouacked for the night.
On Sunday, December 14, the enemy was found posted about 1 mile this side of the village of Kinston in strong force. Four companies (C, D, E, and I) were sent forward as skirmishers. They were opened on by artillery and infantry, but stood their ground admirably, and doing great injury to the enemy but their well-directed fire. Again Morrison came forward with a section of his battery and opened briskly, a regiment having arrived to support the battery. With the remaining six companies I moved to the right to prevent being flanked from that direction. We came up with a regiment of them on our right front, engaged them, and in a few minutes forced them to retreat precipitately.
I next discovered a regiment on my right flank. Captain ---, with a section of his battery (New York artillery), opened upon them with splendid effect, and prevented them from forming a junction with their main column. Being re-enforced by four regiments of Wessells' brigade (Eighty-fifth and Ninety-sixth New York, One hundred and first Pennsylvania, and the Seventeenth Massachusetts) I formed the Eighty-fifth, Lieutenant-Colonel Wellman, and the Ninety-sixth, Colonel Gray, in line of battle to the right, the Ninth New Jersey and Seventeenth Massachusetts facing to our original fronts. The Eighty-fifth and Ninety-sixth advanced rapidly about 400 yards, discovered the enemy behind a fence in the edge of the wood, and poured a volley into them, at which they fled in confusion, exposed to our fire. I then ordered the Ninety-sixth, supported by the Eighty-fifth, to advance, under cover of the wood, upon the bridge, and the Ninth New Jersey, supported by the Seventeenth Massachusetts, to advance in a direct line across the open ground to the same point. The One hundred and first remained to support the battery.
On arriving near the bridge, shell, canister, and musketry were opened the Ninth New Jersey, aided by the river. Firing continued from both sides about twenty minutes.
I regret, sir, the necessity to report that at this point we lost the gallant Colonel Gray.
After the enemy's guns had been silenced and their forces dispersed the Ninth New Jersey, aided by the Seventeenth Massachusetts and Eighty-fifth New York, extinguished the flames of the burning bridge and crossed in the following order: Ninth, Seventeenth, and Eighty-fifth.
My regiment secured three 6-pounder brass guns, one stand of colors, and a number of prisoners and small-arms.
Loss, 2 killed, 32 wounded, and 1 missing.
I take pleasure in adding that the lamented Colonel Gray, Lieutenant-Colonel Fellows, Lieutenant-Colonel Wellman, and Major Zabriskie,