his coolness and undoubted bravery. With his assistance and the company of my right flank, commanded by Lieutenant McRae, also ordered to the left, we held the enemy in check some time. My ammunition now began to fail, and after sending repeatedly to the rear could not be replenished. Apprehending an attempt to turn my right also Captain McRae, acting as my lieutenant-colonel, was directed to observe closely and give me immediate notice of any advance in that direction. He reported the enemy in force, but no attempt was made to flank me owing, I suppose, to the impenetrable swamp between us.
At this time, having held the enemy in check for about three hours, looking in vain for re-enforcements, the section of artillery near the church retired, I since learn, for want of ammunition. Immediately after, Lieutenant-Colonel Devane sent me word that the enemy were flanking us on the left, and withdrew his men toward the bridge. Finding myself alone and the enemy pressing upon us I ordered a retreat, which was made in good order, the men continuing their fire with effect. At the bridge I intended to make another stand, but on approaching it found it on fire and crowded with men endeavoring to cross. A panic ensued. The enemy pressed upon us from two directions at double-quick in large force and the bridge the only means of escape. The greater portion of my command succeeded in crossing, while the other was driven back by the flames.
While endeavoring to keep the men back, fearing the bridge would fall every moment, I was wounded in the leg by a Minie ball and obliged to relinquish the command to Captain McRae, whose self-possession and bravery should not be left unnoticed. Being under a heavy cross-fire from an overwhelming force, my men and ammunition exhausted, and the bridge impassable, I advised Captain McRae to surrender. The enemy now directed his fire upon the retreating troops on the Kinston side, who spiritedly returned the fire with good effect, killing a colonel (Gray) and others near the bridge.
The enemy's force was between 20,000 and 25,000 men, with seventy-two pieces of artillery. General Foster admitted to me that we had repulsed three of his veteran regiments with a loss of 100 men; since ascertained to be about 250.
I regret to report the loss of two of my best officers, who fell at the close of the engagement: Lieutenant J. J. Reid, commanding Company A, fell by my side near the bridge, and Lieutenant J. H. Hill, commanding Company C, while retreating on the Kinston side. Both led their companies gallantly through the entire engagement. Braver or more gallant young men never drew a sword.
Our loss was 7 killed, 22 wounded, 8 missing, and 175 taken prisoners.
After diligent search and inquiry for Adjt. E. N. Mann and Lieutenant R. K. William I am reluctantly forced to included them in the list of killed.
Officers and men, nearly all of whom were under fire for the first time, behaved with the coolness, determination, and bravery of veterans.
It would be almost invidious to discriminate, but I cannot refrain from mentioning the conspicuous gallantry and bravery of Lieutenant J. R. McLean, commanding Company F.
Inclosed please find a list of killed and wounded.*
Hoping I may be allowed to engaged the enemy under more favorable circumstances, I am, general, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding Battalion.
Brigadier General N. G. EVANS.
*Nominal list shows 12 killed and 34 wounded.