Battle of the Neuse River Bridge or Battle of Kinston

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    (The Battle of the Neuse River Bridge)
    North Carolina Standard
    December 17, 1862
    On Saturday last, the enemy advanced up the south side of the Neuse River towards Kinston 
    while their gun boats attacked the river works a few miles below that place.  Considerable 
    skirmishing took place on Saturday between the infantry and cavalry and on Sunday the fight 
    became general, our troops fought all that day Sunday and fell back towards the town in the 
    evening, destroying the bridge which was about one mile from the town. Our troops fought with 
    great steadiness and courage but they could not cope with the numbers of the enemy whose 
    forces are said to have been at least 20,000.  Our troops engaged were Evans’ Brigade 
    consisting of two South Carolina regiments, Radcliffe’s Regiment, the three cavalry battalions 
    of conscripts from Raleigh under Col. Mallett and the 47th under col. S.H. Rogers.  We had 
    probably no more than 3,000 men in the fight.  We learn that the battalion of conscripts went 
    into the fight in fine spirits on Sunday morning and acquitted themselves well although they are 
    said to have suffered severely.
    North Carolina Standard
    December 24, 1862
    Kinston is on the north side or left bank of the Neuse River about 28 miles from Goldsborough.  
    The latter place is on the same side of the river with Kinston.   White Hall is 15 miles southeast 
    of Goldsborough and is on the south side or right bank of the Neuse River.  Springbank is six 
    miles from Goldsborough and on the south side.  Lord Cornwallis crossed at this place in the 
    Revolutionary War in 1781 on his way from Wilmington to Halifax.  Falling Creek is 20 miles 
    from Goldsborough and on the same side.  Raleigh, the seat of government of the state, is 52 
    miles from Goldsborough and on the same side as White Hall.
    It appears that the enemy came up the Trent River road on the south side of the Neuse.  On 
    Friday a skirmish took place at Mr. Benton’s plantation some ten miles below Kinston.  On 
    Friday night, our troops fell back to Parrott’s Lane seven miles from Kinston where on Saturday 
    another skirmish took place.  Our troops then fell back on Saturday evening to the old distillery 
    just below the county bridge about one and a quarter mile from Kinston where they encamped.
    On Sunday morning the battle commenced at this point at 8:00 and continued until 2:00 p.m. 
    when General Evans ordered them to fall back on Kinston and destroy the bridge.  The enemy 
    being so superior in numbers, supposed to be 15,000, and pressing rapidly on our forces, there 
    was no time to destroy the bridge although it was fired.  Col. Mallett’s battalion, it seems, were 
    unable to cross in time and the enemy had seized the north end of the bridge and they fought 
    on until ordered by General Evans to make their escape up the right or south bank of the river 
    to White hall.  It is reported that a portion of the battalion were made prisoners.  Our killed, and 
    severely wounded on the south bank, of course, fell back into the hands of the enemy.  After a 
    stand for a short time by our troops, between the bridge and Kinston, General Evans fell back 
    to the heights north of Kinston upon which is Mr. Washington’s beautiful residence.  About 
    4:00 the enemy sent a flag of truce demanding the unconditional surrender of the Confederate 
    troops and the post of Kinston which General Evans declined to do.  Darkness set in, hostilities 
    were not renewed and our troops retired towards Falling Creek.
    While these events were transpiring, some half dozen of the enemy’s gun boats were attacking 
    the fortifications on the north side of the river some two to three miles below Kinston.  They were 
    repulsed by our artillery commanded by Col. Stephen D. Pool and the river falling at the time, 
    they dropped down about Ft. Barnwell.
    In the fight on Sunday, about 15,000 of the enemy were engaged with about 3,000 of our troops 
    who maintained their ground for about six hours with great firmness and courage.  Our loss is 
    supposed to have been about 350 in killed, wounded and prisoners.  The enemy’s loss is no 
    doubt twice that number.
    We learn that the enemy evacuated Kinston on Tuesday and burned the county bridge in their 
    rear.  Our troops from Falling Creek at once re-occupied the place and re-captured a portion of 
    Mallett’s Battalion who had been made prisoners.
    A skirmish took place on Tuesday at White hall.  The river was between the enemy and our troops.  
    Our troops cleared the river bank of the enemy and drove them back.  Our loss is reported about 
    20 killed and 40 wounded.
    The 11th, Col. Leventhorpe’s, had seven men killed and 23 wounded at White Hall.  Lt. Means 
    of Mecklenburg is the only officer reported killed.
    On Wednesday the enemy approached Goldsborough on the south bank of the Neuse River in 
    force and about 1:00 pm a severe engagement took place near the railroad bridge some two 
    miles south of town.  It is stated that the enemy burned the bridge but our troops passed over 
    the county bridge and drove the enemy about a mile.  The Progress of today has a dispatch 
    dated the 17th from which we take the following:
    “Battle raged furiously all day on David Everett’s farm and in the vicinity, the right wing of the 
    Yankee army extending nearly to the Neuse River, about four miles hence.  Between 2:00 and 
    3:00 six Yankees under cover of pines reached the railroad bridge, set it on fire, and entirely 
    consumed it.  Five of the rascals were killed on the spot.  Late in the day our forces repulsed 
    an attempt of the enemy to cross the county bridge and drove them back from their position 
    on the other side of the river.”
    General G.W. Smith was in command of our forces.  General Pettigrew is said to have been 
    present with his brigade.  Generals Clingman, French and Martin are also said to have been 
    Our forces on Wednesday evening were about 14,000.  Among the wounded who reached this 
    place on Wednesday was Major John A. Graves of the 47th, who was injured in the leg by the 
    falling of his horse on Monday.
    Killed and Wounded (only a part)
    Josiah Powell, Company A, 41st N.C., wounded in head and side
    W.P. Duliose(?), Adjutant, Holcombe’s Legion, groin
    A.M. Wright, Company H, 1st N.C., shoulder
    T.A. Bradham, Company I, 23rd S.C., knee
    J.B. Stuart, Company F, 22nd S.C., leg
    J.A. Everett, Company E, 35th N.C., Bunting’s Battery, arm
    M. Andrews, Company I, 61st Regiment, side
    J.L. Corbett, Bunting’s Battery, hip
    J.W. Dye, Company C, Holcomb’s Legion, side
    D.C. Raynor, Company A, 36th (?) Regiment
    H. Hill, Company A, Holcomb’s Legion, shoulder
    J.A. Jarratt, knee (no company or regiment stated)
    S.E. Longshore, hip by shill (no company or regiment stated)
    W.T Keziah, Company B, Mallett’s Batt., arm
    D.C. Ross, Company B, Mallett’s Batt., head
    F.A. Boozer, Company H, Holcomb’s Legion, knee
    G.A. Powell, Company B, Mallett’s Batt.
    J.G. Henson, Company D, Mallett’s Batt., hand
    J.F. Glenn, Company D, Mallett’s Batt., eye
    W.P. Sulder(?), 17th S.C.
    S. Stapleton, Company C, Mallett’s Batt., back
    Sgt. J.R. Aulton(?), Company A, 22nd S.C., face
    C.A. Reinhardt, Holcomb’s Legion, shoulder
    R.S. Bryan, S. Parkenham, 22nd S.C., knee
    E.C. Carter, Bunting’s Battery, knee
    H.J. Coleman, 17th S.C., face and neck
    J.B. Chandler, Holcomb’s Legion, head
    W.H. Chambers, 18th S.C., knee
    H.R. Hunter(?), 17th S.C. Vol., above the knee
    John H. Lee, 6th (?) N.C., Company F, thigh
    J.A. Moore, Company B, 68th N.C., shoulder
    M. Truttman, Company B, 6th N.C., shoulder
    G.W. Stone, company B, 68th N.C., back
    F.P. Shaley, Holcomb’s Legion, arm
    W.T. Longshare, Holcomb’s Legion, hand
    E.P. Davis, Holcomb’s Legion, hand and wrist
    W. Dillard, Company I, 61st S.C., wounded by bomb
    G.W. Pardne, Company A, 22nd N.C., knee
    E.R. Samuel, Company A, 22nd S.C., ankle, slight
    R.R. Horsey, Company K, 22nd S.C., arm
    J.A. Westmoreland, Company I, Holcomb’s Legion
    R. Bryan, Company C, Holcomb’s Legion, knee
    J.H. Pope, Company E, 47th N.C., both hands
    F.M. Bloodworth, Bunting’s Battery, killed
    J. Jarrell, hand blown off (no company or regiment given)
    W.W. Mintz, left arm (no company or regiment given)
    Thomas Wescote, leg (no company or regiment given)
    Orderly Sergeant, W.P. Elliott, killed
    George Gee, Starr’s Battery of Fayetteville, killed
    D.McLaughlin, slightly wounded in hand (no company or regiment given)
    J.R. Kushton, 2nd S.C., ankle
    J.J. Yon, 22nd S.C., arm
    J.W. Hewlin, Mallett’s Batt., arm
    R.J. Perry, Company D, 61st Regiment, hand
    Sgt. Sloan, Company D, 61st (?) Regiment, arm
    J.B. Boner, Company D, 61st Regiment, arm
    S.F. Darby, 22nd S.C., hand
    Lt. J.M. Sally, Company I, 22nd S.C.
    Lt. Reid of Mallett’s Batt., was shot through the heart and Lt. Liles of Anson County of the 
    (Regiment illegible, might be 1st) was blown to pieces by a shell in the Battle of Kinston
    North Carolina Standard
    April 15, 1863
    Colonel Mallett’s Report of the Fight at Kinston
    Confinement to my bed for the last two months will, I trust, be apology sufficient for the delay in 
    reporting to you the part taken by my command in the battle near Kinston on Sunday, Dec. 14.
    I arrived at Kinston by railroad on Sunday morning at 7:00 am and reported immediately to General
    Evans, who ordered me to take a position with my battalion, consisting of ten(?) officers and 400 
    men in the rifle pits on the east bank of the Neuse River, to support a S.C. battery commanding 
    the county bridge.  At 8:00 we were in position and in a few minutes musketry began falling on 
    the left of the line of battle which was formed on the west side of the river and at 9:00 the first gun 
    was fired by the artillery.  At 9:30 I received an order through one of General Evans’ aides to 
    march at the double quick across the bridge.  Having crossed, I met General Evans on the west 
    side directing men pouring spirits of turpentine on cotton placed on the bridge.  He ordered me to 
    take my command through the field on the right of the White Hall Road and engage the enemy.
    We passed through the field under fire of shells from the enemy, losing one man, to the distance 
    of a quarter mile to a fence on the edge of a swamp on the other side of which the enemy 
    appeared to be in force.  Here we were engaged for some time but the principal point of attack 
    appeared to be the church known as Harriett’s Chapel, on my left, which was stationed a section 
    of Starr’s Battery supported by the 61st N.C.T. under Col. Radcliffe.  At length the fire upon my 
    part of the line ceased almost entirely.  To ascertain the feasibility of charging the enemy to drive 
    them back, I sent Lt. Little to the section of artillery on my left to ascertain the real position of 
    the enemy as it was impossible to charge through the swamp on my front.
    About the time of Lt. Little’s return, without any accurate information, I received a written order 
    from General Evans by courier viz.:  “Col, I (illegible word) no if the enemy are in your front; if not, 
    join me at the bridge.”  At this time there being no indication of the enemy in my front, I drew off 
    in good order and returned to the bridge but to my surprise General Evans was absent leaving 
    no orders or instructions for me.
    Observing the S.C. battery commanding the bridge had been removed and the bridge apparently 
    deserted, I concluded that the general was waiting for me on the east side, retreated towards 
    Kinston and proceeded crossing the bridge.   In a few minutes after crossing, I met an officer of 
    his staff with orders to go back.  This order was promptly obeyed marching again at the double 
    quick through the same field to my former position under heavy fire from the enemy artillery and 
    was almost immediately engaged with his infantry.  In about an hour I was reinforced by 90 or 
    100 men from the 61st Regiment, N.C. which was commanded by Lt. Col. Devane who took 
    the position on my right.  The enemy made a vigorous charge at this time on my left and was 
    vigorously repulsed.  Old veterans could not have met their foe with more coolness and 
    determination than these newly tried men.  The enemy appeared determined to force his way
    through my lines at the church.  I ordered Lt. Col. Devane to reinforce my left and I take pleasure 
    in testifying to his coolness and undoubted bravery.  With his assistance and the company on 
    my right flank commanded by Col. McRae which also was ordered to the left, we held the enemy 
    in check for some time.
    My ammunition now began to fall and after sending repeatedly to the rear, could not be 
    replenished.  Apprehending that an attempt to turn my right, Col. McRae directed his fire upon 
    the retreating troops on the Kinston side of the river who spiritedly returned the fire with good 
    effect, killing a Col. Gray and others near the bridge.
    The enemy force was between 20,000 and 25,000 with 72 pieces of artillery.  General Foster 
    admitted to me we had repulsed three of his veteran regiments with a loss of 250 men.
    I regret to report the loss of two of my best officers who fell at the close of the engagement—
    Lt. J.J. Reid, commanding Company H fell by my side near the bridge and Lt. Joseph H. Hill, 
    commanding Company C, while retreating on the Kinston side.  Both lead their companies 
    gallantly through the engagement.  Braver or more gallant young men (whose loss we deplore) 
    never drew a sword.  After a diligent search for Adj. E.W. Mann and Lt. R.K. Williams I must 
    reluctantly forced to include them on the list of killed.
    It would be almost invidious to call attention to any particular one but I cannot refrain from 
    mentioning the conspicuous and gallant bravery of Lt. J.R. McLean, commanding Company I.
    Hoping I may be allowed to engage the enemy under more fortunate circumstances.
    I am, Governor,
    Your Obedient Servant,
    Peter Mallett
    Col., Commanding Battalion

    Transcribed by Christine Spencer August 2007

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