Battle of Washington, NC

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    Washington, North Carolina
    North Carolina Standard
    September 10, 1862
    It was whispered about several days ago that we should hear something favorable in a short 
    time in the eastern part of the state.  We understand that Brigadier General J.G. Martin 
    determined to attack the Yankees at Washington on Friday last.  We have not yet learned the 
    force employed but learn that the 17th N.C.R. and two companies of the 55th Regiment with 
    one or two companies of artillery and a portion of the cavalry marched down and made the 
    attack on Friday night or Saturday morning.  The attack was successful, it is said, in driving 
    out the Yankees from the town.  Our forces held the town about two hours when they were 
    forced to retire by the Yankee gun boats which commenced shelling the troops of the town. 
    Our reported loss is about thirty men in killed and wounded.  A dispatch received from a friend 
    on Monday afternoon simply stated “we took twelve prisoners, two pieces of artillery, burn one 
    steamer, killed about sixty and retired under heavy gun boat fire.”
    North Carolina Standard
    September 17, 1862
    Mr. Editor:
    Having participated in the late engagement at Washington, we will be pardoned for appearing 
    before the public where the motives are simply to do justice to true merit.
    Private James H. Pool, son of Captain Pool who was in command and a member in his father’s 
    company, 10th Regiment N.C.T., was in the engagement and highly distinguished himself for 
    most intrepid conduct.  As witness of his true heroism, we should do violence to our sense of 
    duty as soldiers as well as to true martial worth did we fail to bring to the attention of the public 
    and especially to the attention of those who have the power to reward.
    He fought under Captain Manney who took charge of the artillery captured from the enemy and 
    managed them so effectively.  Young Pool fought as a gunner and when the enemy gun boats 
    had gotten within perfect range of the guns stationed in the street—when grape canister and 
    shell flew like hail all around him and the men by his side fell one by one dead or wounded, 
    undismayed, he stood when almost the last man by the guns had been disabled with 
    unblanched eye and steely nerve he held the lanyard in his hand waiting for the command to fire.
    Never was gallantry, in youth or aged, more conspicuous.  Never did man occupy on any field 
    a more dangerous position with less apparent emotion.  No words can express the admiration 
    of those who witnessed it and every man who saw young Pool in the midst of the showers of 
    grape, canister and shell and the stern defiance which he exhibited would be glad to see him 
    suitably promoted.  If ever a private won a commission by good conduct on the field James H. 
    Pool has justly earned it.
    H. McRae, Captain Company C, 8th N.C.T.
    G.D. Cobb, Captain, Company I, 8th N.C.T.
    The facts which have come to us of the late attack upon the town of Washington, we are glad 
    to say, enable us to correct some unfortunate rumors which have come out.
    The entire command of the expedition was committed in charge of that cool and intrepid officer 
    Captain Stephen D. Pool who at the defense of Ft. Macon and in the recent attack upon 
    Washington showed himself to be an able officer.
    It was true that the enemy was advancing both at Newbern and Washington into intended 
    attacks.  The enemy was ready for it but was not expecting it.  We learn that the enemy had 
    determined upon a raid upon Williamston and Hamilton and that the force at Washington had 
    been reinforced from Newbern the day before and was to leave Washington that morning for 
    the intended raid.
    The expedition against Washington was made with no view of expectation of holding the place, 
    we are informed, but for the purpose of destroying or capturing the entire stock and if possible, 
    to make Washington so hot as to drive the enemy from that place.  Brigadier General Martin 
    committed the entire expedition to the direction of Captain Pool having previously, in 
    consultation, ordered the plan of attack and the general scheme of conduct.
    About 800 men comprised the expedition, consisting of infantry, cavalry, and artillery.  
    General Martin, it was understood, would remain in the neighborhood to render any support.
    The attack was made on Saturday morning last at day break.  Our force approached quietly 
    until the encountered pickets at the west end of the town who immediately demanded them to 
    halt.  Lt. Davis, who led the advance, demanded surrender when the pickets immediately fired 
    into our ranks.  Our advance had been ordered not to fire upon pickets but to charge vigorously 
    upon them but unfortunately when they fired upon our men their fire was returned by a number 
    of pieces.  This aroused, of course, the entire town.
    At once, a portion of our cavalry charged into the town down Market Street while a portion of 
    the infantry charged down Second Street.  As soon as our infantry arrived at the Academy 
    they were fired upon by the enemy from the buildings.  Here our men captured four pieces of 
    artillery with ammunition which were afterwards served by Captain Manney and his men.
    At this time, Captain Boothe, who gallantly led the cavalry, was dangerously wounded upon 
    which a panic seized most of the cavalry except a portion of Captain Tucker’s company, 
    who, under his command, gallantly conducted themselves all through the entire affair.
    A panic had also seized many of the infantry who ingloriously fled.  The enemy took to the 
    houses at once and fired upon our troops from the windows.  Our men were forbidden to fire 
    upon the houses lest they injure some of the females and children.
    The gunboats Louisiana and Picket began throwing shells and other missiles upon the town 
    damaging the houses but fortunately did not set them on fire.  During the firing the steamer 
    Picket was blown up by the ignition of her magazine, killing all on board but twelve persons—
    the loss was about 60 on board the vessel.
    Captain Pool held the town for about four hours and then retired, his men slowly dragging off 
    four pieces of cannon captured.  The conduct of Captain Pool during the entire affair is highly 
    spoken of.  Captains McRae and Cobb, 8th N.C.R. and Captains Boothe, Mull and Norman 
    were dangerously wounded and Lts. Grimes and Staton severely wounded.  Others among the 
    killed and wounded we have not net learned.
    We understand that the cavalry companies of Captain Lawrence and Walker were not in the 
    fight having “skedaddled” at an early period.  On the fall of Captain Boothe, his company, it is 
    said, became panic stricken and got out of danger.  Captain Tucker, Lt. Utley and other officers 
    and men of his company behaved with utmost courage charging the enemy in all directions 
    and damaging them severely.  We regret to learn that Captain Smedes and Privates R. Burns, 
    J. King, Winborn, Bridgers and perhaps others are still missing.  Some of these, it is feared, 
    were killed or taken prisoner.
    The entire force including those on the gun boats amounted to about 1,000.  Only about 450 of 
    our men participated in the fight, some of whom, both officers and men, are said to have 
    behaved badly.  It must be considered, however, that most of them were raw troops; had not 
    smelt powder before and were engaged in a most hazardous undertaking.  To assault a fortified 
    town guarded by a vigilant foe should be undertaken by veteran and daring troops.
    The following extract is from a letter written from a soldier who participated in the late fight at 
    Washington, N.C., and will be read with interest by those readers who have friends in this county.
    We marched all night and arrived within a mile of Washington about half an hour before day light.  
    There we halted until it was light enough to see a man about 25 steps. The infantry had been 
    sent a different way to make an attack in another direction.  We all were to enter the town at 
    the same time.  Our company was in front and were to make the first charge as soon as it 
    was light.
    About light, the order to forward was given. We did so slowly until we got in sight of the town.  
    By this time, we came in sight of an embankment across the road but there were no guns 
    mounted.  As we rode on we discovered the Yankee picket post beyond and as we rode on 
    the order was given to fire upon them which we did instantly and at the same time the order 
    was given to charge which also was very well done.  After charging about 200 yards, we 
    discovered some cavalry before us, coming at full speed but as they came they turned and 
    passed us; as they passed we were ordered to fire at them which we did very promptly.
    Immediately after firing the order was given to charge them which we did at full speed and 
    with a perfect yell we ran into the town and there the fight began in earnest.
    At about that time the infantry came up and began firing and the fight became general.  I will 
    not attempt to describe the behavior of our forces—but there is one thing certain—there never 
    was a company that fought braver than Captain Tucker’s and never a company was led into 
    battle by a braver commander; he was always at the head of his men charging and giving 
    orders in a clear and distinct voice and fought like a mad man.
    The Fight at Washington
    We have been informed by a lieutenant belonging to Captain Booth’s company that we did 
    an injustice in our last to a portion of the squadron which he commanded in the recent fight 
    at Washington.  We are assured that Lt. Wynn of Hertford on whom the command of the 
    squadron devolved after the fall of Captain Booth acted with gallantry and that the greater 
    portion of Captain Booth’s and Captain Turner’s companies—the latter commanded by Lt. 
    Graham—remained in town as long as any other cavalry company.  It was certainly not our 
    intention to do an injustice to anyone connected with the expedition.
    We learn that Captain Booth, severely wounded through the breast, may recover.  Captain 
    Norman, is said to be a prisoner and unhurt.  Ptes. Burns and Bridgers of Tucker’s cavalry 
    are said to have been killed—Pte. King probably killed and Corp. Smedes and Pte. Winborn 
    are said to be prisoners and unhurt.
    The scene in the town during the engagement is said to have been heart rending.  It must 
    have been from the number of women and children in the place.  The gunboats threw grape 
    and canister all over the town during the fight and it is said they killed many of the townsmen.
    A shell from one of the boats passed through Martin Stevenson’s house, took off the corner 
    of W.E. Domill’s building, passed through the academy, and cut down a large tree on the
    opposite side.  All the houses from Frank Haven’s up to Parmalee’s have been more or less 
    injured. The academy is completely destroyed.  The fighting was all over the place but the 
    severest took place in the neighborhood of the bridge on Main Street.  Tucker’s Cavalry 
    fought like tigers.
    North Carolina Standard
    September 24, 1862
    We have received a letter from Captain Boothe, commanding the 2nd Squadron, 2nd N.C. 
    Cavalry, dated Camp near Hamilton, N.C., 20th September, in which he gives an account 
    of the part borne by his command in the recent fight in Washington.
    The order of march from the place of rendezvous was as follows, viz.:  infantry first, 
    commanded by Captain S.D. Pool was to enter Washington by a certain route; then followed 
    by Captain Tucker’s company of cavalry which was to enter the town from a different point 
    and to act simultaneously with the infantry; and lastly the other four companies of cavalry 
    and Captain Adams company of artillery, commanded by myself and was ordered to within 
    an easy distance of town to act as reserve.
    Upon arriving at the place designated, the columns halted and waited patiently for the fight 
    to begin which was only a short time.  The firing now having begun in earnest, I gave the 
    command “forward”.  On, on we went at a smart gallop until we reached a redoubt crossing 
    the road just before entering the town; here we met some thirty or forty Confederate cavalry 
    who, very gallantly, requested me to charge on, they having discharged their pieces and 
    having to reload.  (Now, Mr. Editor, did you ever hear of cavalry stopping to re-load in 
    charging a fortified town?)
    After some little delay, we padded the obstructions and entered the town where we 
    discovered the enemy cavalry to our left, formed in solid columns to receive us.  Lt. Wynn 
    being in command of the first squadron of cavalry was ordered to lead in the charge which 
    he did to my entire satisfaction.  Lt. Roberts being chief of the first platoon was at his post 
    and gallantly supported Lt. Wynn while both officers and men were alike eager for the contest.
    In this charge I was wounded and soon after borne from the field.  Although wounded, I knew 
    that my company was in the hands of an efficient officer.  I am informed by those who are 
    well calculated to judge, that my men stood like veterans, dispersing the enemy cavalry 
    whenever it appeared in town.
    Finally, the town being cleared of cavalry, my command had to contend with the infantry, 
    disloyal citizens who fired on them from behind fences, from the windows of houses.  Lt. 
    Wynn with the company having remained in town as long as anything could be accomplished 
    and in fact until all of the firing had ceased except that of the gun boats—the cross streets 
    being raked by grape and canister—he concluded and wisely too, to take the company to 
    an easy distance of the town which I am assured was done in splendid order to await orders
    from the commissioned officers of Captain Pool.
    They awaited here only a few moments and receiving no orders—when Lt. Wynn at the 
    request of Lt. Roberts gave him command of the most of my company, to return to town 
    dismounted and I am assured by Lt. Wynn that he had positively to refuse a great many 
    or he would not have had enough men left for the protection of the horses.  Lt. Roberts 
    returned to town but the fight had not been renewed; consequently the only thing he could 
    do was to aid in getting away the captured pieces of artillery.
    It is true that one of my men came to me, and only one, and I entreated him to return to his 
    company; hence the ridiculous rumors that I begged my men to return and not disgrace 
    themselves.  I know that one of my company with one or two exceptions is composed of as 
    gallant and noble sons of North Carolina has produced and I am ever ready to risk my 
    reputation at their hands.
    Editor:  Captain Boothe also refers to the gallant conduct of Captain Adams on that occasion 
    and asks why he has not been complimented while others have.  He said Captain Adams 
    stood gallantly in his post amid a storm of shot and shell.
    North Carolina Standard
    October 8, 1862
    From Washington, N.C.
    Captain Tucker, having recently visited Washington with a flag of truce, reports the following 
    list of wounded Confederate soldiers left at Washington, N.C. on the 6th September.
    Sgt. R.W. McCoy, Co. C, 8th Regiment, shot left hip—little improvement, still doubtful
    From the 8th Regiment, Company I:
    Corp. Jas. Ross, flesh wound in arm and side, doing well
    John Simpson, dead
    Stanford Clapp, gun shot in back and leg broken, doubtful, very sick
    Eli Price, flesh wound in arm and leg, doing well
    Jacob Coe, shot in hand, middle finger amputated, doing well
    Corp. Peter Hughes, grape shot through hips, doing well
    Jno. Proctor, Company F(?), 40th Regiment, dead
    Thomas Farmer, Company F, 40th Regiment, shot through right breast, improving, but doubtful
    A.F. Wood, Company F, 17th Regiment, dead
    S.F. Pearce, Company C, 17th Regiment, shot in left arm, doubtful case, and typhoid
    J.H. Modlin, Company C, 17th Regiment, bruised by falling chimney—well
    William Collins, Company H, 17th Regiment, dead
    W.W. Sextant, Company G, 17th Regiment, ball through face, doubtful
    Sgt. M.B. Galloway, Company E, 55th Regiment, head and shoulder—been very sick, but improving
    Jno. Lewis, Company G, 55th Regiment, head, doubtful
    Bryant Ingram, Company G, 55th Regiment, shot through both thighs, doing well
    J.P. Roach, company C, 55th Regiment, side and back, doubtful
    Thomas Hall, Company I, 55th Regiment, left thigh, doing well
    Enoch Wadsworth, Company B, 10th Regiment, flesh wound arm and side, doing well
    William Gibbs, Company K, 17th Regiment, face, doing well
    Eleven dead of whom the names I have not been able to obtain.
    The following names as given to me by the Federals are prisoners unhurt and sent to Newburn
    T. Moore, Company C, 8th Regiment
    Joseph Bell, Company H, 10th Regiment
    Captain J.C. Norman, E. Winn, Company G, 17th Regiment
    W.W. Preeter, Company F, 44th Regiment
    Charles John, William McCreele, 40th Regiment
    Jesse Winborn, John C. King, Grey Leggitt, Ives Smedes, Tucker’s Cavalry
    Lewis P. Walker, Company K, 19th Regiment N.C. Cavalry
    Robin Moore, Company B
    B.L. White, Company C
    D. Price, Joseph Price, Company G
    James S. Hopgood, Company K, 55th Regiment
    George Lumeker, company and regiment not given
    The prisoners not wounded were sent to Newburn on Tuesday after the battle before I was 
    permitted to see them and this list is not thought to be correct in regards to some of them 
    by company and regiment.
    S.A. Smith
    Fayetteville Observer
    September 22, 1862
    NOTE:  This pretty much replicates the above list but with some different twists:
    List of wounded and prisoners which fell into the hands of the Federals in the attack on 
    Washington, N.C. on September 6
    R. W. McCoy, Co. C, 8th Regiment, still living but dangerously wounded
    John Simpson, I, died from wounds Sept. 19
    Standford Clapp, fracture of leg—doing well
    Eli Price, flesh wound in arm and leg
    Jacob Coe wounded slightly in the hand
    Peter Hughes, wounded in leg
    John Proctor, F, 10th, leg amputated, died Sept. 10
    A.F. Wood, F, 17th, wounded in neck and back, died Sept. 19
    William Gibbs, K, wounded in face, doing well
    J.T. Pearce, C, fracture of arm
    Jno. Medlin, bruised by falling chimney
    William Collins, mortally wounded, died Sept. 12
    W.W. Lextant, G, dangerously wounded in face
    Enoch Wadsworth, B, 10th, wounded slightly in arm and side
    Thomas Farmer, a volunteer from Lenoir County, wounded dangerously
    M.B. Galloway, E, 55th, slightly wounded in head and arm
    J.P. Roach, C, dangerously in side and back
    Thomas Hall, I, fracture of thigh, doing well
    Jno. Lewis, G, slightly in head
    Bryan Ingraham, in both thighs, doing well
    The wounded were treated with great kindness by the citizens of Washington and also by 
    the Federals

    Transcribed by Christine Spencer July 2007

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