The Battle near Newbern.
The Burnside fleet, or a portion of
it, came up the Neuse river on Thursday last, and landed fifteen or twenty
thousand troops a few miles below Newbern.
The fight took place on Friday morning, and lasted about two and a half
Much confusion prevails relative to
this affair, so disastrous. The
following statement of facts we gather from sources which we think likely to be
correct. Our line was formed on the
south side of the Neuse, near our lowest Fort, and fronting down the river,
commencing on the left with Sloan’s regiment, (Major Gilmer commanding;) then
Lee’s Campbell’s, Sinclair’s, the Militia, Avery’s (in part,) Vance’s, with
Latham’s battery on Campbell’s left, and Brem’s on his right; the Orange
Cavalry, and probably that of Franklin, on Vance’s left. In this position they were attacked by the
enemy. The Militia, after a few
ineffectual shots, became panic-stricken and fled, followed by Sinclair’s
regiment, which exposed Brem’s battery to a flank fire.
Col. Campbell sustained his position
in the centre with great gallantry, twice drove back the enemy across the
breastwork, and would have continued the fight with vigor, but neither the
Militia nor Sinclair’s regiment rallied to his support after these
charges. Col. Avery’s regiment fought
well and suffered severely. He was
himself wounded and captured. Lieut.
Col. Hoke and Major Gaston Lewis, of this regiment, also distinguished
themselves in the action. Not a large
portion of Vance’s regiment were engaged with the enemy, but those who were
behaved well. Major Carmichael of this
regiment is certainly killed. No other
field officer was killed or captured.
Two pieces of Brem’s artillery are saved, all our other pieces were
lost. Latham lost sixty horses, and all
his men missing except eighteen. Brem
lost twenty four horses, and nine men killed and wounded. The commands of Lee and Sloan were not much
engaged, but ordered to retreat after our centre was lost. The retreat was not well conducted on the
part of portions of several of the regiments and became a rout. Vance’s command on the extreme right, with
the Cavalry of Orange and Franklin, did not reach the Bridge across Trent,
until it had been fired and destroyed.
They were therefore compelled to retire on the right side of the river
to Trenton, but have since joined their comrades at Kinston, where our army is
being rallied, and reinforcements are hurrying on to their assistance.
Our loss in killed and seriously
wounded is probably from 60 to 70, in prisoners about 150. To this must be added the loss of all our
General French, of Mississippi, an
old army officer, has arrived at Kinston, and will be the senior in commission,
and entitled to the command.
We deem proper to add, that as to
the companies from Orange belonging to this army, though some of the men were
dispersed in the retreat, they were coming in at the last advices, and we have
no reason to believe that any of them were killed or captured by the enemy.
A part of Newbern has been burned,
but how much we have not learned.—Hillsborough Recorder.
We are advised that Col. Sloan’s
Reg’t. in which were the Guilford Grays, was stationed on the left of the line,
where the breast works approached Neuse River, Fort Thompson being in the angle
made by the River and the breast works extending from it and the Fort
south-west. Col. Sloan was accidently
and unavoidably absent—an incident, regretted by none so much as himself. He has waited long and anxiously for the
enemy. By permission of the Commanding
General, he ventured to leave his command for two or three days to attend to an
urgent call, advised that he might do so safely at the time, the most reliable
information being that there would be no attack of the enemy for some time yet
to come. Col. Sloan is a gallant and
noble officer. Sober, gentlemanly, and
universally respected and beloved by his men whom he has with great labor and
care trained and drilled for effective service.
But we are happy to be assured that his place, was in all things filled
and supplied by our gallant young townsman Major John A. Gilmer, on whom
devolved the entire command of the Regiment.
We find the mouths of all, having
knowledge of his firm, cool, and discreet and daring conduct filled with
laudation and praises. His Regiment was
placed at a point where threatened much fighting and much danger, from the
Fleet on the left and from the land in front of the breastworks. It unexpectedly turned out that the fighting
commenced out of reach of his guns in front of breastworks to his right, and it
was some time before he could reach any of the enemy with his pivot guns, which
he did most effectually for some time before the order to retreat. His regiment, whilst exposed to a hail storm
of bombs obeyed their orders and firmly stood their ground, doing their whole
duty, until ordered to retire. The
enemy’s fleet did not come up the River, in range of the mounted cannon in Fort
Thompson, until our forces on land along the breastwork, had by over powering
numbers, been forced to retire. We are
advised that the regiment commanded by Major Gilmer, was among the last to
retreat, which they did in good order.
We regret to learn that of the Guilford Grays, Samuel A. Hunter, a noble
and most worthy young gentleman, was killed, and Samuel Jordan, an equally
worthy member of the Grays, is missing.
No other loss to the Guilford Grays, who acquitted themselves with great
credit, and in a manner worthy of all praise.
Capt. B. L. Cole and his cavalry
company from Guilford, were in Col. Spruill’s regiment. This Company was also in the fight, and
acquitted themselves well. We have no
particulars as to the losses, if any, of Capt. Cole’s company, but will recur
to it when we shall be more fully advised.
Although defeated at Newbern,
certainly there was enough done by a few, against most overwhelming odds, to
teach the enemy that our subjugation is an impossibility and that we are a race
of people that can never be conquered.
Let none be discouraged at this and other reverses; but let us put on
our whole armor, unite our whole strength—each and every one resolve to “do or
die,” and the signs that might seem gloomy to any other people, will soon pass