Today in History:

63 Series I Volume XXXIII- Serial 60 - New Berne


commanded respectively by Captain Peter S. Geraty and First Lieutenant Joseph A. Gearing, to the bridge, and Company K, Captain Alex. W. Smith commanding, to a new road at the left of my camp to check any flanking party of the enemy, as well as to observe an opportunity to operate against the enemy in flank. At about 5 o'clock I directed Major John B. Honstain to proceed to the bridge and assume command of what force was then at the bridge, whose brave conduct is worthy of mention.

At about 5. 10 o'clock my general outpost officer of the day, Captain Charles G. Smith, reported to me that the enemy was in great force, upon which I sent General Palmer my first dispatch, dated February 1, 1864, 5. 30 a. m., but having no opportunity to get particulars I sent Lieutenant William W. Wells, Fifty-eight Pennsylvania, Volunteers, my special aide-de-camp, and Captain Charles G. Smith, Company F, Captain Ervin A. Jones commanding, Company C, Captain George H. Swords, jr., commanding, and Company I, Second I, Second Lieutenant Abraham J. Yonemans commanding, up the railroad to get on the enemy's right, then and there to get the information needed. Lieutenant Wells, aide-de-camp, finding a brigade opposed to him, disposed of this force with great coolness, and at such points holding a regular advance of the enemy effectually in check.

At this time I sent my second telegram to General Palmer, dated February 1, 1864, 6. 15 a. m. I was still in the dark as to the force I had to contend with, and owing to a lull on the part of the enemy, I became impressed with the idea that I would finally have the pleasure to follow them up effectually, which I indicated in my third telegram to General Palmer, dated February 1, 1864, at 7. 05 a. m. The move indicated in my fourth telegram to General Palmer, dated February 1, 1864, 8 a. m., satisfied me that the enemy were in great force, and knowing that my officer and men were better acquainted with the ground here than any force sent me from New Berne, I withdrew K Company from my left and sent it to the Neuse road, intending to use the infantry called for in my telegram to General Palmer, dated February 1, 1864, 8. 25, on the railroad in my rear, so that, in case the enemy passed down the Neuse road, this infantry to check them at the railroad crossing, having also instructed First Lieutenant Samuel Leith, One hundred and thirty-second New York, commanding at Beech Grove on my extreme right, by courier, to fall back with his entire force, composed of Company F, Second (Union) North Carolina Volunteers, and 14 men of the One hundred and thirty-second New York, on the Washington road, he to throw out pickets on his left and direct front to give him warning of the enemy having crossed the creek; then to retire down the Washington road, when he would meet a section of our artillery with some infantry; then to act as circumstances required always remembering to get to New Berne with the entire force. This courier was killed, and this dispatch fell into the hands of a rebel officer, who called Monday night at Mr. Richardson's house, on the Washington road. The capture, or rather the surrender, on the part of Captain Bailey, Ninety-ninth New York (he being the ranking officer), was owing to three causes: First, the fog prevented me signaling to Beech Grove; second, the courier carrying my orders was killed on the route, and the dispatch fell into the enemy's hands, giving them (the enemy) all the points; third, Second Lieutenant Arnold Zenette, acting quartermaster, an accomplished horseman and well mounted, was afterward by me to sent to see about distribution of