On Sunday, December 14, the enemy were 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 soon opened on by artillery and infantry, but stood their ground admirably, holding the position they had taken and doing great injury to the enemy by their well-directed fire. The remaining six companies were sent on the right to flank the enemy's position. We came up with a regiment of them stationed in the wood on the right, and after a half hour's fight succeeded in forcing them to retreat precipitately. Then advancing by your order across the field to the road I opened fire with the head of column upon the enemy, who were retreating across the bridge, and succeeded in preventing their escape. After crossing the bridge we took three guns, one stand of colors, and numerous prisoners.
Our loss in this battle amounted to 2 killed, 32 wounded, and 1 missing.
Resuming our march, on the 16th we came up with the enemy on the other side of the Neuse River, at White Hall, posted behind breastworks and buildings. The whole regiment was deployed along the banks of the river, kept up a brisk fire for about two hours, and were at last relieved, our ammunition being expended and our loss being very heavy-3 killed, 42 wounded, and 3 missing.
We again came up with the enemy December 17, posted on the north side of the Neuse, at the railroad bridge near Goldsborough. The right wing of the regiment was deployed along the bank of the river on the right of the railroad, while the left companies were held in reserve. The whole regiment was at last drawn off, after the firing of the bridge, to make way for the artillery. December 17 we commenced our return march, and arrived in New Berne on Saturday, December 20.
There were so many instances of individual courage shown in the different battles that it is difficult to mention particular names. However, I cannot forbear mentioning with praise Captain Stewart, Lieutenant Brown, Captain McChesney, and Lieutenant Townley, not only for personal bravery but for their ability as commanders of their respective companies; and also the names of Privates William Lemons, Company E, and -- --, who, with Lieutenant Graham, set fire to the railroad bridge near Goldsborough.
I inclose a list of the killed, wounded, and missing.*
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel C. A. HECKMAN.
No. 25. Report of Brigadier General Henry W. Wessells, U. S. Army, commanding Third Brigade, Peck's Division, of operations December 5-21.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, PECK'S DIVISION,
New Berne, N. C., December 22, 1862.
MAJOR: I have the honor to report that pursuant to instructions from Major-General Peck I left Camp Suffolk, Va., on the 5th instant with my brigade, composed of the Eighty-fifth, Ninety-second, Ninety-sixth New York, and Eighty-fifth, One hundred and first, and One hundred and
*Embodied in revised statement, p.60.