JANUARY 1-APRIL 26
JANUARY 1-APRIL 26, 1865.--The Campaign of the Carolinas.
Report of Brig. Gen. Charles J. Paine, U.S. Army, commanding Third Division, of operations February 8-April 24.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, TENTH ARMY CORPS,
Near Raleigh, N. C., April 24, 1865.
MAJOR: In response to your letter of instructions of the 15th instant I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my command since February 8, 1865:
February 11, the division broke camp on Federal Point, where it had remained after the capture of Fort Fisher, and moved toward the enemy's line at Sugar Loaf, the Second Brigade, Col. J. W. Ames commanding, having the advance. After a brisk skirmish, in which the division suffered a loss of 2 commissioned officers and 14 men killed, and 7 commissioned officers and 69 men wounded, Lieutenant-Colonel Rogers, commanding Fourth U. S. Colored Troops, with his regiment deployed as skirmishers, drove the enemy very handsomely from his intrenched picket line into his main works. The division constructed a line of works at this point and occupied them until the morning of the 19th of February, when the enemy retiring from his line in our front, the division moved into the rebel works. At this point instructions were received from Major-General Terry to follow the retreating enemy, and the Third Brigade, Col. E. Wright commanding, followed by Myrick's battery and the Second Brigade, immediately moved up the telegraph road toward Wilmington. The march toward Wilmington was unopposed during the 19th, but on the 20th we had brisk skirmishing with the enemy, and about 3 o'clock on the afternoon of that day, when about five miles below Wilmington, came upon an earth-work well manned and showing artillery. The Fifth Regiment of the Third Brigade deployed as skirmishers and was ordered forward to reconnoiter the enemy's position, and a sharp skirmish ensued, in which our loss was 1 officer and 1 man killed, and 3 officers and 48 men wounded, including Col. E. Wright, the commander of the Third Brigade.The enemy's fire along our whole front was found to be that of a single rank or a little more, and his artillery fire was from six or seven guns. A line of intrenchments was then thrown up covering the position of my division on the south side of the telegraph road. The enemy evacuated his line on the night of the 21st, and the division entered Wilmington at 9 o'clock on the morning of February 22. After a short halt beyond the city, in obedience to orders from Major-General Terry, my column, preceded by Brevet Brigadier-General Abbott's brigade, moved forward on the road to Northeast Station. The column encountered no opposition until late in the afternoon, when about a mile from the enemy's pontoon bridge across Northeast River his skirmishers were discovered. The Fourth Regiment of the Second Brigade was promptly thrown forward as skirmishers on the left, with Myrick's battery, Abbott's brigade, Twenty-fourth Corps, being on the right. After a few well-directed shots from the battery, the whole line moved forward, drove the enemy across the river, his pontoons being secured uninjured by General Abbott. The railroad bridge immediately below had been destroyed by the enemy before our advance arrived in sight of it. On the march the headquarters of the First Brigade, the One hundred and seventh Regiment, and several detachments from the Army of the James joined the division at Northeast Station. March 16, crossed the Northeast River on the pontoon bridge captured February 22 and marched north to Burgaw Creek. March 17, made South Washington. 18th, Island Creek. 19th, reached a point eight miles northwest of Kenansville. 20th, made a march of twenty miles. 21st, arrived at Cox's Bridge, on the Neuse River, and during the night of that day the Second Brigade, Bvt. Brig. Gen. S. A. Duncan commanding, crossed the river on pontoons and intrenched. On 22d March the First Brigade was also thrown across the river and a more extensive line constructed. March 24, the enemy made a reconnaissance in considerable force in our front and made a vigorous attack, opening some artillery upon our picket-line. The attack was repulsed with small loss. On the evening of March 24 the division was withdrawn from the north side of the Neuse, and on the 25th marched to Faison's Depot, on the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, where it remained in camp until the morning of April 10, when it broke camp and marched northwestward toward Bentonville. Passed Bentonville on the 11th, and with easy marches on the three following days arrived at Raleigh on the afternoon of the 14th instant. The troops went into camp about a mile south of the city, and orders were received to march through the city at 9 o'clock on the morning of the 15th, passing in review before Major-General Sherman. This order was countermanded on the morning of the 15th, and on the afternoon of that day and the morning of the 16th the camps of the First and Third Brigades were removed to better ground. April 20, the division broke camp and marched through Raleigh, passing in review before Major-General Sherman. After the review it encamped near the main Smithfield road, about two miles outside of the city, where it now is.
I am, major, very respectfully your obedient servant,
C. J. PAINE,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding.
Maj. C. H. GRAVES,
Assistant Adjutant-General, &c.
Researched and Compiled