Today in History:

64 Series I Volume XXXIII- Serial 60 - New Berne

Page 64 OPERATIONS IN N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLV.

ammunition, and from thence ride to Beech Grove to ascertain why I had not heard from the commanding officer there, and to repeat my instructions to Lieutenant Leith, not supposing that the re-enforcement of artillery and infantry had gone to Beech Grove; but while Lieutenant Zenette was attending to the first part of my orders he fell, pierced by a bullet through his head. Again my orders failed to reach Beech Grove.

I cannot avoid to say here that Lieutenant Leith, commanding at that time at Beech Grove, before re-enforcements of artillery and infantry reached him, should have had himself informed of events occurring on his left (Neuse road), and shaped his course accordingly, which would have prompted him to look to his retreat; the more so because communication between myself and him had not been established. By consulting the map it will readily be seen that, had the section of artillery held itself on the Washington road, as my dispatch calling for it indicated (otherwise I would have said to Beech Grove, instead of "toward Grove") and Lieutenant Leith's command fallen back to it, that they would not alone have had a safe retreat, but could, and no doubt would, have rendered efficient service in protecting our forces retreating down the Neuse road. My object in sending for the artillery to diverge on the Washington road was also to prevent the enemy from coming in the rear of our forces fighting at and about the Neuse road bridge, which they could have done by crossing the creek near Richardson's house, striking the Washington road, going down it, and marching up the Neuse road, and our ruin would have been complete. I am also ready to acknowledge that my dispatch about this section of artillery could (and perhaps should) have been more explicit as to my intended use of it, in order that General Palmer could have instructed the commanding officer to act accordingly; but I counted on these instructions coming from me through Lieutenant Leith, not doubting that I could get a dispatch to Beech Grove. I feel the loss, and regret it very much, and with its loss I have but one self-reproach to make, and that is, when I found that I had no positive proof that any of my orders had reached Beech Grove I could and should have sent a telegram to General Palmer requesting him to send a fleet courier toward Beech Grove, endeavoring to reach some officer with an order to fall back on New Berne. General Palmer acted in this matter entirely in deference to my judgment and knowledge of ground; hence the misfortune is mine.

I had meanwhile sent an order to Colonel Savage, commanding Twelfth New York Cavalry, to get his command all ready to occupy the road toward Deep Gully, and to send me a full troop with one of his howitzers. They arrived late, but the little time they were in action did good service. I respectfully refer to the respective reports of Colonel Savage, commanding Twelfth New York Cavalry, and Captain Ira Winans, commanding detachment of Ninety- ninth New York Infantry, hereunto, annexed, both forces being under my command on my left, explaining what my actions were regarding them.

A train came up about 8 a. m., by which I sent to New Berne some commissary stores and all the ammunition, together, with the sick, the non-combatants, such as laundresses, &c., and desired Captain Webster, chief assistant quartermaster, who was up here with the first train, to have another one sent up at once.

About 9 a. m., a section of artillery with 125 men of the Seventeenth

Page 64 OPERATIONS IN N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLV.