|Page 1087||Chapter LIX]THE CAMPAIGN OF THE CAROLINAS.|
ilagoods brigade, and the North Carolina Iteserves under General L. S. Baker, were added to my command, and we were ordered to cross the creek and co-operate with General iloke as soon as his firing was heard. That officer informed me that he expected to seize and hold the lower Trent and Dover roads, and he asked me to cut off the Yankee retreat on the British and Neuse roads. General Baker crossed. the creek when the firing opened on our right, and I directed the skir- mishers from Lees corps, under Capt. E. B. Vaughan, Fiftieth Ala. bama, to push boldly forward iii front of onr abandoned works. The North Carolina Reserves advanced very handsomely for a time, but at length one regiment (the First, I think) broke, and the rest lay down and could iiot be got forward. I directed General Baker to hold his posi- tion, while I, with Coltart, Pettus, and ilagood, would go around the swamp, which constituted the Yankee right. This movement was com- pletely successful, and the Yankees ran in the wildest confusion. Ii had nothing to do now but to press forward rapidly to the firing and intercept the foe fleeing from iloke. I think that with little loss we would have captured several thousand mcii. Captain Vaughan, with forty-five skirmishers, took about 300 prisoners, and reports that the rout of the Yankees was more complete than he had ever seen before. At this critical moment I received a note from Major Parker, General Braggs adjutant-general, saying that General Hoke thought that if I went down the Nense road until I struck the British road, and followed up the latter, I would make many captures, and adding that General Bragg directed me to make the movement. I pushed on rapidly to Wests house, and threw a picket across to the British road, and went to it in person, but saw no enemy. It was 4.3f) p. m. when we reached Wests house, aiid it was obvious that we could effect nothing unless we moved over to Tracy Swamp and got upon the railroad and the Dover road. General Baker and a battery had joined us, but our eiitire force was but little over 2,000 men. The firing was still heavy in our rear, and indicated plainly that Hoke was not driving the Yankees. A consultation was held with my officers, and all but Gen- eral Baker thought it too late and too hazardous to march three or four miles farther to reach Tracy Swamp. A message was received soon after from General Bragg to return, if too late to strike a blow. We were now five miles from our bridge on Southwest Creek, held only by a picket, and the Yankee cavalry had appeared between us and it; but the march was made without loss. On the road I met a staff officer of General Bragg, who directed me, after crossing at our bridge, to recross at Jacksons Mill and go down the Dover road and unite with Hoke. This junction was formed about midnight. General Clayton, who had been operating with iloke, once more joined his own corps. March 9. We had now a line of breast-works along the British road, and another nearly at right angles to it, covering the railroad down to Southwest Creek. These works were held by the fragments of the Army of Tennessee and ilagoods brigade, all under my immediate command. The Reserves were thus in the works oii Southwest Creek and not subject to my orders. General Iloke attempted a flank move- ment on our left to-day, but finding the Yankees strongly intrenched did not attack, and returned and took position oii my right. To make a diversion in his favor, the skirmish hue, again commanded by Cap- tain Vaughan as corps officer of the day, advanced and seized the intrenched skirmish line of the Yankees, but lost it again upon being pressed by a line of battle.
|Page 1087||THE CAMPAIGN OF THE CAROLINAS.|