issued orders accordingly, when I received the embarrassing information that the artillery ammunition was exhausted. In this circumstances no alternative was left me but to return toward our base of supply. After remaining on the field from 8 until 1 o'clock (five hours) without seeing or hearing of the enemy we retired leisurely,marching 3 miles in so many hours, and exempt from all interruption until we reached Kinsale Swamp, when the enemy's cavalry attempted a dash on our rear guard. He was promptly repulsed and severely chastised. We proceeded to Carrsville and bivouacked 6 miles from the field of battle.
The fortunate issue of this engagement, maintained against such superior force (the enemy's force being fully 8,000), I attribute to the favor of Providence and the superb valor of the troops of my command. For four hours the infantry lay under a terrific storm a shell, case, and canister, and yet hardly a man abandoned his place in the ranks. But the chief glory of the fight must be accorded to the artillery. To the rapidity and effect of their fire, the firmness with which they held their position and maintained the fight against more numerous and heavier batteries and under the menace of a charge by cavalry and infantry, is due the decisive repulse sustained by the enemy.
When all discharged their duty so admirably it is difficult to distinguish particular merit in individuals; but I could not acquit myself of injustice if I omitted to recall the services of Captains Coit, Martin, and Wright. By their gallantry and judicious conduct these officers imparted the noblest spirit and the greatest efficiency to their respective commands and contributed chiefly to the successful event of the day.
The casualties in the command were few, but among them I have to lament the death of Colonel Poage, of the Fiftieth, and Captain [Thomas P.] Dobyns and Lieutenant [John S.] Lacy, of the Fifty-fourth Virginia Volunteers, all courageous and capable officers. Persons with the best opportunities of information report the enemy's loss to exceed 300 in killed and wounded. My own dead and wounded were brought from the field, except the few who fell in the fight across the swamp and who were lost in the thickness of the woods and the darkness of the night.
In conclusion I have to commend the conduct of my staff: Of Captain [W. H.] Whitner, assistant adjutant-general, whose zeal, gallantry, and intelligence are worthy of all praise; of my aide, Lieutenant [C.] McCann, who exhibited his usual activity and reckless audacity of courage, and of Messrs. McMullen and Barnes, who were equally fearless and energetic in communication my orders and directing their execution.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ROGER A. PRYOR,
Captain GEORGE G. GARRISON,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Goldsborough, N. C., February 10, 1863.
I have the honor to forward the report of General R. A. Pryor, inclosing with it the list of killed and wounded. It is with pleasure I call the attention of the War Department to the successful defense of the lines of the Blackwater. Although I have never been able to place an adequate force on the line, yet by defensive works and constant vigilance it has been held since July last against a force often five or six times our numbers. Three times in heavy columns they have tried to