Page images
PDF
EPUB

minutes. A g< neral bayonet charge was then ordered, and the Union line rushed down the valley and ascended the opposite hill. A cheer went up from them as they delivered volley after volley into the enemy's ranks. The rebels cheered also; and it was evident that they doubled the Union forces, from the overwhelming shout that rang up from their lines.

At tlus time General Sigel was carrying everything before him on the extreme left. The foe was running, and the Union men catching the inspiration of the moment rushed on in pursuit. Before one o'clock the rout was complete.

To the westward of Pea Ridge there was a wide strip of timber which had been blown down by a hurricane the previous summer. Across this swarth of uprooted trees, which were larger and denser in the low lands, the enemy's cavalry and artillery attempted to retreat, and were mercilessly pelted with shell. The panic was overwhelming, and their defeat decided. Muskets, clothing, and shot-guns were strewn along the woods. Horses roamed about in wild droves. The cries of the cavalry men and the yells of the Indians, with the groans of the wounded, surpassed all description. Caissons overturned, wagons broken down, and horses dying and dead strewed the whole road. Thirteen cannon, 6 and 12-pounders, were taken in all, besides thousands of shot-guns and loads of provisions.

It was in this position of affairs that General Price with a detachment of his army had, in his attempt to make a stand oh the Keatsville road, caught the contagion of his fleeing comrades, and betook himself to the northward, Colonel Carr and General Asboth keeping closely after him.

This was probably one of the most hotly contested battles of the war, when every thing is taken into consideration, and it is worthy of remark that few officers were wounded, although at all times exposed even to recklessness. For three days the fighting continued, the men only resting during the darkness, to renew the attack with the first light, and even then were but partially allowed to slumber. Pea Ridge will never be forgotten while we have a history.

The Federal loss in killed, wounded and missing, was 1,351. That of the rebels about 2,000. Generals McIntosh and McCulloch were killed.

BATTLE OP NEWBEBN, N. C.

Maech 14, 1862.

Newbern, in Craven county, N. C, is situated at the confluence of the Trent and Neuse rivers, which flow into Pamlico Sound, from whence, through Ocrakoke Inlet, communication is had with the Atlan

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[graphic]
[graphic]

tic. It is eighty-miles N. K. of Wilmington, and one hundred from Raleigh; has a population of six thousand, and considerable commerce.

The importance of Newbern was early appreciated by the rebels, who adopted vigorous means for its defence. The approaches to the city on the south bank of the Neuse, the only available route of an assailant, were defended by formidable earthworks, and, as a protection against gunboats, a line of vessels, backed by a chevaux-de-frise, was placed in the channel, commanded by heavy batteries.

The expedition designed to operate against Newbern sailed from Hatteras Inlet on the 12th of March, the land forces under General Burnside, and the naval forces under Commander Rowan. The land forces consisted of the brigades of Generals Foster, Reno and Parke, much reduced, however, by regiments left behind at Roanoke Island and Hatteras Inlet, and not exceeding eight thousand men. They were supported by McCook's battery of boat howitzers, three companies of marines, and a detachment of the Union Coast Guard. The distance from Hatteras Inlet to the entrance of Pamlico Sound is twenty-three miles; thence, through the sound and up the river to Newbern, about fifty miles.

Early on the morning of the 12 th the entire force started for Newbern, and that night anchored off the mouth of Slocum's Creek, some eighteen miles from Newbern, where General Burnside decided to make a landing. The landing commenced by seven o'clock the next morning, under cover of the naval fleet, and was effected with the greatest enthusiasm by the troops. Many, too impatient for the boats, leaped into the water, and waded waist deep to the shore; then, after a toilsome march through the mud, the head of the column moved within a mile, and a half of the 'enemy's stronghold, at eight p. M., a distance of twelve miles from the point of landing, where they bivouacked for the night, the rear of the column coming up with the boat howitzers about three o'clock next morning. This detention was caused by the shocking condition of the roads, consequent upon the heavy rain that had fallen during the day and the whole of the night. It required a whole regiment to drag the eight pieces which had been landed from the navy and the vessels of General Burnside.

By signals agreed upon, the naval vessels, with the armed vessels carrying the land forces, were informed of each others' progress, and were thereby enabled to assist the march by shelling the road in advance.

At daylight on the morning of the 14th, an advance of the entire division was ordered. General Foster's brigade marched up the main country road to attack the enemy's left; General Reno up the railroad, to attack their right, and General Parke was to follow General Foster and attack the enemy in front, with instructions to surport either or both brigades.

On the morning of the 14th, at seven o'clock, the column of General Reno, on the railroad, was the first to move, the Twenty-first Massachusetts, as the right flank regiment, leading the advance. The regiment had not proceeded far hefore it saw a train of cars standing or. the track. In front of the locomotive, on a platform car, a large rifled gun was placed in position to rake the road. The men advanced at the double-quick and poured in a volley with such accuracy of aim that the enemy, who had already rolled the gun and caisson off" the car, did not stop to unload the carriage, but ran into the iutrenchments, and the train was backed towards Newbern, leaving the platform-car standing on the track. The Twenty-first had got within short range of the enemy's earthworks, but now fell back, and, forming line of battle in the woods, opened fire. The Fifty-first New York was moved to the left and ordered forward to engage a series of redans, the Ninth New Jersey occupying the left of the line, and the Fifty-first Pennsylvania held in reserve, in rear of the Ninth, a little to the left.

Meanwhile General Foster's brigade had advanced up the main road to the clearing, when the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts was sent into the woods to the right of the road, and opening a heavy fire on the enemy commenced the action of the first brigade. The Twenty-seventh was sent to their left to support them, and, news being received that the enemy were trying to outflank the Federals on the right, the Twentyfifth was sent to resist the movement. The Twenty-third being moved to the front next in line of battle, opened fire upon the enemy, which was replied to by ve^r heavy volleys, and a cannonade from a park of field-pieces behind the breastwork. The very first cannon-shot killed Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Merritt of the Twenty-third. General Foster's line of battle was completed by moving the Tenth Connecticut to the extreme left, a position which they were compelled to maintain under the most discouraging disadvantages. The ground was very wet, swampy, and cut up into gulleys and ravines, which opened toward the enemy, offering .no protection from his fire.

General Parke's brigade, which had followed the first brigade up the main road, was placed in line between the Tenth Connecticut and Twenty-first Massachusetts, the Fourth Rhode Island holding the right of line, the Eighth Connecticut the next place, the Fifth Rhode Island, next, and the Eleventh Connecticut on the left. The line of battle was now complete, the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts on the extreme right, and the Fifty-first Pennsylvania at the extreme left, and extended more than a mile. The naval battery was in position at the centre, with' Captain Bennett's and Captain Dayton's rifles alongside, and were all worked with the greatest gallantry throughout |he day.

The fire of the enemy was now telling so severely upon the Twenty

« PreviousContinue »