No. 31. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Wilson C. Maxwell, One hundred and third Pennsylvania Infantry, of engagement at Kinston, December 14.
HDQRS.103rd REGIMENT PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEERS, Camp near New Berne, N. C., December 25, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to report the action of the One hundred and third Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers in the engagement at Kinston:
Sunday, December 14, at 9.40 a.m., I was ordered to move my regiment forward as a support to one section of Morrison's battery, having the right wing rest on the right and the left wing on the left of said section, with orders to direct our movement with the battery. After advancing gradually for over 50 rods with said battery we halted, when the Ninety-second New York Volunteers moved past us and filed off in front of the right wing of the One hundred and third. After remaining not more than one hour in advance they fell back across the right wing and reformed their line in our rear.
At this time Captain Stewart, assistant adjutant-general, came up and ordered me to me my regiment forward in advance of the battery. We moved forward through a swamp of thick undergrowth and water from 1 to 2 feet deep and about 20 rods wide. Immediately after crossing said swamp we received a volley of musketry from the enemy's line, which we then learned was but a few rods in our advance. We delivered a volley, lay down under cover of a small knoll, reloaded and fixed bayonets, rose, delivered another volley, and charged up over the bank. At this time an order from the Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania, which was moving up in rear of the left wing, demanded us to cease firing,as we were firing into our own men.
The enemy's fire in front of our left was immediately directed on our right,making, in connection with the fire from strong line in front, a heavy cross-fire; also we were in danger of a fire in the rear from the Forty-fifth Massachusetts,whose line was immediately in rear of our right wing. Under this combined fire I gave the order to lie down,and from this position we again rose, charged after the enemy some 20 rods, when their fire was completely silenced. We were then ordered to halt and await the arrival of the battery. During this time the Ninety-sixth New York moved by the flank from our right and reached the bridge. From the time we first formed our line as a support to the battery until we reached the bridge was from 9.40 a.m. to 2 p.m. Our loss during this time out of 430 actually engaged was 14 killed and 58 wounded,some of the latter mortally. During the whole of this time all of the officers and men of the regiment behaved in an exemplary manner, showing entire coolness. I will mention that when we made our first charge the Tenth Connecticut our extreme right two companies; from the second charge we moved past their line, passing their left.
Accompanying this you will find a complete list of the killed and wounded,made from the surgeon's report.*
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. C. MAXWELL,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding One hundred and third Pa. Vols.
Captain ANDREW STEWART,
Asst. Adjt. General, Third Brigade, Peck's Division.
*See revised statement,p.60.