ment, which remained within about 500 yards of the place in order to cover the withdrawal of Captain Whitford's men. I cannot too highly express my admiration of the manner in which they stood the furious shelling of the enemy without flinching. The rest of the command was about a mile distant.
In the afternoon, the enemy having received re-enforcements, I thought he might sally out, so I drew up in line parallel to the fire of the gunboats, the right resting some three-quarters of a mile from the work. While in this position the enemy's scouts were perceived advancing, doubtless to discover our position, but they disappeared as soon as our skirmishers showed themselves. The shelling of the gunboats continued all day. The two rifled guns at Pettiford's Ferry replied, and, I have every reason to think, disabled one.
Later in the afternoon I withdrew to my camp. During the night the sounds of drums, bugles, and bands in New Berne announced that their forces had retreated from General Daniel's front; but as we heard nothing from his guns after 12 m. I concluded that he had not pursued. The whole force in New Berne could thus be thrown upon my rear at very short notice, so the next day (Sunday) I fell back 8 miles, within striking distance of Swift Creek. I then received your order to proceed to Greenville.
It will thus be seen, general, that the not capturing of the fort was owing to myself, for which I have given my reasons, good or bad. The failure of the effort to drive the gunboats out of New Berne and the troops from their intrenchments was owing solely to the utter worthlessness of the 20-pounder Parrotts, which had hung around our necks like a millstone during the march and failed us in the vital moment. My attack was partly effective in withdrawing the troops from General Daniel's front, and had I been supplied with four Whitworth guns I firmly believe you might have slept in New Berne that night.
For details of the artillery I refer to the report of Major Haskell, who discharged his whole duty. I was greatly indebted throughout to that gallant and efficient officer Captain Whitford.
I cannot refrain from bearing testimony tot he unsurpassed military good conduct of those under me. In seven days they marched 127 miles, waded swamps, worked in them by night and day, bivouacked in the rain, besides undergoing a furious shelling, and discharging other duties. All this without murmuring or even getting sick.
The loss of the enemy I have no means of ascertaining. Several boat-loads of apparently dead or wounded men were sent over to New Berne.
Our casualties were caused by the bursting of the 20-pounder and by the shells from the gunboats. The fort did not return our fire at all. Including concussions and other trivial injuries they amount to 23, distributed as follows:
Seriously wounded (2 mortally since died).................. 7
Slightly wounded........................................... 14
Among the wounded is the adjutant-general of the brigade, Captain [N. C.] Hughes, whose face was injured by sand thrown into it by the striking of a shell upon the ground nearly in front of him.