Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 09.djvu/12
Operations Against Newbern.
person. This was accomplished by Captain Bright at a good deal of risk. General Barton informed him he had been entirely misinformed as to the strength of the place, and that he pronounced the work as too strong to attack, and that he had made no advance and did not intend to, and that he had sent out twice his cacalry to cut the railroad and they returned without accomplishing it.
Captain Bright then, by my direction, ordered him to join me. General Barton said he would try to cross at Pollocksville, but would be unable to cross that night (the 2nd), and expressed some doubt as to whether he could cross at all at that point; should he fail there, he would be compelled to go much higher up the river. Thus the earliest possible moment at which he could have joined me, would have been on the evening of the 3d instant. I could not thus have attacked before the 4th instant. General Barton afterwards informed me, verbally, that he could, positively, have done nothing on his side of the river.
General Barton had orders from me, in case he found it impracticable to perform his part of the work, which was the most important, to at once cross to me, and let me try a "coup de main." I could however, hear nothing from him for some time, and when I did, it was the unsatisfactory note I have alluded to.
On the night of the 1st instant, Commander Wood gallantly attacked and took the six-gun steamer "Underwriter," but was compelled to burn her, thus losing us her invaluable services. The enemy having had ample time to reinforce, both by water and railroad, the trains running in constantly, night and day, from Morehead City, and in fact, the whole plan by which the place was to be reduced having failed, I deemed it prudent, after consulting with my officers, to withdraw, which we did at our leisure.
The result may be summed up as follows, viz: Killed and wounded, about one hundred; captured thirteen officers, two hundred and eighty-four privates, fourteen negroes, two rifle pieces and caissons, three hundred stand of small arms, four ambulances, three wagons, one hundred and three animals, a quantity of clothing and garrison equipage, and two flags.
Commander Wood, Confederate States Navy, captured and destroyed United States gunboat "Underwriter." Our loss about forty-five killed and wounded. A correct list will be forwarded.I found the ground in my front swept by half a dozen forts, one of them mounting seven rifle guns, with which they fired at pleasure over and into our line of battle. Had I have had the whole force in hand,