64 Southern Historical Society Papers.
some cavalry and artillery, all under command of General Barton, crossed the Trent river and proceeded from near Trenton down the south side of the Trent to the south of Newbern. Meanwhile (ieneral J. G. Martin had moved with his brigade of North Carolina troops from Wilmington towards Morehead City. About daylight, on the morning of February ist, the picket post of the Federals was reached and surprised without the escape of a single man. Ever)' precaution had been taken, by the detention of negroes and every other person likely to be friendly to the enemy in the section through which we had hurriedly moved, to prevent information of the move- ment from reaching the commander of the Federals; and it is now certain that a complete surprise to him was effected. As soon as the picket post was taken each regiment of Ransom's brigade was ordered to throw forward a company of skirmishers, Company C, of the Forty-ninth, being selected from that regiment. This was done largely on account of the well-earned reputation of its commander, Captain Henry A. Chambers, for prudence, vigor and courage. No officer of his rank in the Confederate service was ever more faithful, constant and zealous in the discharge of every duty of every occa- sion and position than this distinguished and conscientious commander of Company C youthful in age, but clear-minded, steadfast and useful in all emergencies; ripe in judgment beyond his years, and as fearless as a lion ; the old reliable among the captains of this regiment, a Christian gentleman and a perfect soldier, it is not difficult to see that to him, by force of his example in the discharge of duty to his brother company officers, youthful like himself, and often heedless where he was prudent and self-possessed, and to that of Fleming, Davis, Durham, Harris, Phifer, Dixon and Grier, the efficiency and morale of the regiment was largely due. This company, and the whole line of skirmishers, were pushed forward rapidly under the orders of Captain Cicero A. Durham, the fighting quarter-master, until the enemy's fortifications were reached. It was the opinion of the officers above mentioned that if the cavalry had been dismounted and advanced with the skirmishers the works could have been easily taken. Instead of this being done, the artillery was moved to the front and a duel was begun between our few field pieces and the heavier guns in the redoubts, which resulted in nothing. That New- bern could have been taken in a short time and without any considera- ble loss, if any vigorous pressing had been undertaken by our troops on either side of the river, is now well ascertained. Indeed, Gene-