These pages are dedicated to the memory of all the men from North Carolina that fought in the Civil War.

    North Carolina Standard
    April 9, 1862
    The different accounts of the Battle of Newburn have not mentioned an 
    officer who distinguished himself in that affair for determined bravery and 
    gallant conduct—Major W. Gaston Lewis of the 33rd N.C. Troops (
    Avery’s Regiment). 
    Major Lewis had a separate command during the battle consisting of 
    four companies, the left wing of the regiment.  The right of his command 
    rested on the railroad.  The left was entirely unprotected by the retreat 
    of the militia and Col. Sinclair’s regiment—there being a distance of 
    400 yards between Lewis’ left and Col. Campbell’s regiment.  
    The enemy poured into this gap and turned Lewis’ left flank whereupon 
    he changed his front and three separate times drove them from the 
    railroad embankment where they had taken position.  Each time they 
    returned with heavy reinforcements and attacked him by front and flank.
    After all on the left had retreated—after his command had been exposed 
    to a most severe fire for three and a half hours without cessation—after 
    having been enfiladed on both flanks for nearly an hour—seeing a Yankee 
    regiment forming in line of battle in his rear, Major Lewis ordered his men 
    to our on the advancing foe a long volley and retreat.
    Though his four companies lost as many killed and wounded as any 
    regiment engaged (about 25 known to be killed) he brought off his men 
    in good order, behaving with the same coolness and bravery which he 
    exhibited when fighting as a lieutenant in the Edgecombe Guards in the 
    Battle of Bethel.
    It is difficult to get reliable information from Newbern.  A rumor prevails that 
    General Burnside had left Newburn with most of his troops, leaving only 
    4,000 at that place.  We do not, however, endorse the rumor.  Various 
    accounts are given of the conduct of the Yankees at Newbern but we 
    have no means of ascertaining the truth of them.   We learn that 27 of 
    our wounded have been removed to Washington and to be carried up to 
    Tarboro.  Whether this is all our killed or wounded we cannot say.  We 
    also hear of about 40 or our men being killed.  We learn that Capt. Rand 
    is uninjured and that he has written to his wife giving the following account 
    of the killed and wounded and prisoners in his company:
    Killed:  J.W. Pope
    Wounded:  Silas Holeman, Simeon Austin, W.H. Smith, Paschal Burt
    Prisoners:  Capt. O.(?) R. Rand and J.W. Vinson
    W.C. Booker
    D.G. Beckwith
    W.H. Boothe
    Paschal Gower
    Simeon Austin
    Henry Booker
    N.F. Bryan
    R.Q. Burt
    Dallas Crawford
    William Champion
    Perrin Gower
    W.R. Gower
    H. Gilbert
    George Griffis
    S. Williams
    J. Womble
    S. Young
    Thomas Hunter
    Reuben Hunter
    Silas Holleman
    E. Holt
    J. Harvall
    W.C. Hicks
    Sidney Jones
    H.L. Johnson
    W.W. Langston
    W.B. Norris
    Paschal Seagraves
    Wesley Seagraves
    J.A. Stevens
    J.F. Stevens
    Thomas Stevens
    W.H. Smith
    J.W.T. Utley
    F. Whitaker
    Ham. Whitaker
    From the Hillsborough Recorder
    Camp of the 19th Regiment N.C.T.
    Lenoir County
    March 29, 1862
    Various unfavorable reports have been spreading through the state 
    concerning the behavior of the 19th N.C.T. (2nd Cavalry) in the battle 
    near Newbern on the 14th inst.  I deem it a duty I owe to the men I 
    commanded on that day to pronounce all such reports as regards them 
    Captain Turner was absent, having been detailed to purchase horses for 
    the company and that the command devolved upon me as next in rank.  
    About 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, 13th, Company A (Captain Hayes) and K 
    (Orange County) by orders of General Branch, were dismounted and ordered 
    to report to Colonel Vance (26th N.C.).  The reason assigned for dismounting 
    us was that we were armed with long range guns, Company A having 
    Mississippi rifles and Company K, Hall’s carbines.  
    We were placed by Colonel Vance on the extreme right with Captain 
    McRae’s independent company of infantry.  A section of Captain Brem’s 
    battery under Lt. Williams was also posted here that night and Company 
    E, 19th N.C.T. (Captain Thomas) next morning.  On Friday, 14th, my 
    company was removed about 50 yards to the left on the right of the 26th 
    Regiment by Lt. Colonel Burgwyn, who commanded the right wing of the
    26th and all detached companies on the right.
    About 7:30, the engagement commenced a half mile or more to our left.  
    About 11:00 I sent Private William Rhew to have the horses moved from the 
    place where we had left them about a mile to our left, the day before, and to 
    place them in our rear.  
    About 12:00 I saw Lt. Col. Burgwyn approaching with the wing of the 26th.  
    I met him and asked for orders.  He said we were out flanked on the left and 
    must retreat.  I returned to my company, conducted it to the road about 50 
    yards to our right and told the men to get their horses and mount, supposing
    Rhew had brought them to this point; but not a horse was to be found, they 
    had ridden off before Rhew reached them some way by the militia, others, 
    by men in uniform.  I do not know who rode them but the men came off on 
    foot with me and we found the horses in Kinston on our arrival there Sunday 
    Not being able to find our horses, I ordered a halt and placed my men with 
    Lt. Col. Burgwyn’s command.  We retreated towards Newbern but on 
    arriving in the old field near Col. Lee’s camp, we discovered both the railroad 
    and the county road bridge to be on fire.  We then turned to the left and 
    reaching Brice’s Creek on Henry Bryan’s plantation, were delayed some 
    time in crossing not being able to find the boats.  
    We finally found the boars and succeeded in getting over all the men, about 
    700 by sunset.  Across the creek we joined Colonel Vance with the rest of 
    the 26th and Lt. Col. Hoke with a portion of the 33rd.  We retreated by way 
    of Trenton to Kinston where we arrived Sunday morning, 16th inst., Col. 
    Vance being in command of all the troops as senior officer.
    Lt. Col. Burgwyn deserves much praise for the manner in which he conducted 
    the retreat from the fortifications to the creek, suppressing everything like 
    panic and showing himself to be a soldier and a commander capable of 
    leading his fellow soldiers under any circumstances.
    Lt. John P. Lockhart was the only commissioned officer with him.  He behaved 
    well and assisted me in keeping the men together, remaining behind with 
    those who were unable to keep up with the main body in the retreat.
    Lt. J.V. Moore was sick at home and Corp. James R. Harris acted as 2nd Lt. 
    Our company was not in the engagement at all though among the rest to 
    leave the field.  If opportunity had offered, I think our friends would not have 
    been ashamed of the Orange Cavalry.  Pte. Jeff Teasley, one of our wagoners, 
    saved most of the baggage though ordered several times by an officer to cut 
    his mules out and leave the wagons.  He refused to do so saying that “the 
    wagons, wagoners, and mules went together.”  The men lost everything and 
    have received nothing yet except what our friends in Orange County and the 
    “Soldier’s Aid Society” at Hillsborough have sent them for which they will 
    please accept our grateful thanks.
    Very Respectfully,
    William A. Graham, Jr.
    1st Lt. Commanding Company K, 19th N.C.T.
    North Carolina Standard
    July 23, 1862
    Colonel Vance’s Official Report Regarding Newbern
    Headquarters, 26th Regiment, N.C.V.
    Kinston, N.C. March 17, 1862
    General L. O’B. Branch
    Commanding, District of Pamlico
    I have to report in accordance with military usage the share  of my command in 
    the operations of last Friday.
    While in the temporary command of the post at Newbern on Thursday, my regiment 
    was ordered to Croatan Works under the command of Lt. Col. Burgwyn, to assist 
    Col. Sinclair’s regiment should the enemy land below these works.  Learning soon 
    afterwards that Col. Campbell was at his post, I instantly transferred him to my 
    temporary command and proceeded to Croatan to assume command of my regiment.
    When near there, I met Col. Sinclair, retreating, who informed me that the enemy 
    were landing in force at Fisher’s Landing and nearer still to the works I met Col. 
    Campbell who had just ordered my regiment to take the cars and return to Ft. Thompson.  
    Before my return they had been posted by Lt. Col. Burgwyn in the series of redoubts 
    constructed by me on the right of the railroad in the rear of Bullen’s Branch, extending 
    from the railroad to the swamp about 500 yards from the road by Weathersby’s.
    At this road, you will remember, I had constructed the night before a breastwork 
    commanding the passage of a swamp, with the assistance of Mr. Hawks, a young 
    man whose skill in engineering, untiring energy and zeal I take pleasure in noting 
    favorably.  There was placed a section of Captain Brem’s artillery, Lt. Williams 
    commanding.  Captain McRae’s company of infantry with a portion of the companies 
    of Hays and Thomas, 2nd Cavalry, dismounted.
    About 2:00 Friday morning, in compliance with orders received, I pushed Companies 
    E, K. and B of my right wing across the small swamp alluded to so as to make my 
    extreme right wing rest on the battery at the Wethersby Road.  This was our position 
    on Friday morning which remained unchanged during the day except that two 
    companies of the 33rd Regiment under Lt. Col. Hoke came to my assistance about 
    9:00 who were placed in the redans vacated by my right companies, who were thrown 
    beyond the swamp.  You will perceive that my forces covered almost as much ground 
    as all the rest of our companies together.
    Taking my own position a little nearer to the right under Lt. Col. Burgwyn, about whose 
    position I was uneasy, owing to the unfinished state of our works there, I placed the left 
    under the command of Major Carmichael and awaited the engagement.
    It began on my left wing about 7:50, extending towards my right six degrees until about 
    8:30 when all the troops in my command were engaged so far as the swamp alluded to.  
    The severest fighting was on my extreme left, the enemy advancing under shelter of the 
    woods to within easy range of our lines.  Whenever they reached the woods and entered 
    among the fallen timbers of the swamp in our front they were driven back in confusion by 
    the most deadly and well directed fire from our lines who with the greatest coolness 
    watched for their appearance.
    The fight was kept up until about noon, when information was brought to me by Capt. 
    J.T. Young, my quartermaster, who barely escaped with his life in getting to me, told 
    me that the enemy in great force had turned my left by the railroad tracks at Woods’ 
    Brick yard, had pillaged my camp, were fighting in reverse on my left wing and were 
    several hundred yards up the railroad between me and Newbern; also that all the troops 
    in the field were in full retreat except for my command.  This being so, there was no 
    alternative left to me but to order an immediate retreat or be completely surrounded by 
    overwhelming forces.
    Without hesitation, I gave the order.  My men jumped out of the trenches, rallied, and 
    formed in the woods without panic or confusion; and having first sent a message with 
    an orderly to Lt. Burgwyn to follow with the forces on the right, we struck across the 
    Weatherby Road for Brice’s Creek with the intention of getting on to the Pollacksville Road.
    On arriving at the creek, we found only one small boat capable of carrying only three 
    men.  The creek here is too deep to ford and about 75 yards wide.  Some plunged in 
    and swam over and swimming over myself, I rode over to Captain Whitford’s house on 
    the Trent and through the kindness of Mr. Kit Foy, a citizen, procured three more small 
    boats, carrying one on each shoulder from the Trent with which we hurried to the crossing.
    In the meantime, Lt. Col. Burgwyn arrived with the forces of the right wing in excellent 
    condition and assisted me with the greatest coolness and efficiency in getting the 
    troops across which, after four hours of hard labor, and the greatest anxiety, we 
    succeeded in doing.  Lt. Col. Burgwyn saw the last man over before he entered the 
    boat.  I regret to say that three men were drowned in the crossing.
    I must here mention favorably the good conduct of the troops under these circumstances; 
    a large Yankee force being drawn up in view of our scouts about one mile away and their 
    skirmishers appearing just as the rear got over.  Musician B.F. Johnson, Company B, 
    deserves particular mention, for his exertions, having ferried over the greater part of the
    troops himself.
    Once over, we were joined by Lt. Col. Hoke, 33rd Regiment, with a large portion of his 
    command and took the road for Trenton.  We marched night and day, stopping at no 
    time for rest or sleep more than four hours.  We arrived at this place safely on the 16th 
    at noon.
    I regret to say that many of our men, despairing of the boats at the creek and determined 
    not to be taken, threw away their guns to swim over; a serious loss to our government but 
    scarcely blamable under the circumstances.
    The number of men killed and wounded has not yet been ascertained.  Our baggage, of 
    course, was lost but our sick were safely brought away.  It remains for many to speak 
    of the noble dead we left on the field.  Major A.B. Carmichael fell about 11:00 A.M. by a 
    hot through the head while gallantly holding his position on the left under a galling fire.  
    A braver, nobler soldier never fell on the field of battle.  Generous and open hearted as 
    he was brave and chivalrous—he was endeared to the whole regiment.
    Soon after this, Captain W.P. Martin of Company H fell near the regimental colors.  
    Highly respected as a man, brave and determined as a soldier—he was equally 
    regretted by his command and all who knew him.  The 26th Regiment are justly proud 
    of their glorious fall.
    The fate of Col. Rand of Company D is as yet unknown.  When last seen, he was 
    almost surrounded by an enemy force but disdaining to fly or surrender, he was fighting 
    desperately with Lt. Vinson and a large portion of his company who refused to leave him.  
    Lt. Porter of Company A was also left behind, wounded.  Captain A.E. McMillan was 
    badly wounded but got away safely.
    I cannot conclude this report without mentioning in terms of highest praise the spirit of 
    determination and power of endurance evinced by the troops during the hardships and 
    sufferings of our march.  Drenched with rain, blistered feet, without sleep, many sick 
    and wounded, and almost naked, they toiled on through the day and all the weary 
    watches of the night without murmuring, cheerfully evincing most thoroughly those 
    high qualities in adversity the military men learn to value more than courage on the field.
    I have the honor to be
    Most Respectfully,
    Your Obedient Servant
    Z.B. Vance
    Colonel Commanding, 26th Regiment

    Transcribed by Christine Spencer May & June 2007

    Back to Campaigns

    Back to NC in the Civil War Home Page