No. 35. Reports of Brigadier General Nathan G. Evans, C. S. Army, commanding Brigade, of operations December
KINSTON, N. C., December 14, 1862.
General Foster attacked Kinston yesterday with 15,000 men and nine gunboats. I fought him then hours.
Haven driven back his gunboats. His army is still in my front. I think I can hold my position.
N. G. EVANS,
General S. COOPER.
HEADQUARTERS EVANS' BRIGADE, Near Goldsborough, N. C., December 20, 1862.
MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the action of the troops under my command in
the recent engagements near Kinston, White Hall, and at the railroad bridge near this place:
On Saturday, the 13th instant, the enemy approached Kinston in considerable force and attacked the line
of our forces under the immediate command of Colonel James D. Radcliffe, North Carolina Troops, who had taken position on
the west side of Southwest Creek. At 10 o'clock I arrived on the ground and assumed command, and ordered Colonel Radcliffe
to take command of the left wing at the crossing of the upper Trent Road. The enemy then was attacked at Hines' Mill while
he attempted to cross the creek. After a sharp engagement of an hour I fell back toward the Neuse River,keeping line of battle
and arresting his approach about 2 miles from Kinston Bridge. He then attacked in considerable force, but retired after an
engagement of ten hours. I rested, but retired after an engagement of ten hours. I rested on my arms that night in this position,the
enemy ceasing fire after nightfall.
On the morning of the 14th (Sunday), being informed by Colonel Radcliffe that the enemy was approaching
his position, I directed him to open fire white I would attack his left. I ordered an immediate advance,and soon became engaged
with my whole line with the enemy in heavy force - supposed to be about 20,000. The action lasted three hours, when, ascertaining
his greatly-superior force, I retired with my command across the Neuse Bridge, when the enemy pursued with heavy fire,stormed
the bridge, and drove me back to the town of Kinston, capturing about 400, including no [number of?] sick prisoners. Reforming
my line, with the additional re-enforcements of Colonel [S. H.] Rogers' Forty-seventh Regiment North Carolina Troops, in a
commanding position in rear of the town, I again awaited the attack. About 3 p.m. Major-General Foster sent his staff officer
(Colonel Potter) to summon me to surrender, which I promptly declined. In an hour he commenced shelling the town, but hesitated
to renew his direct attack. Taking advantage of my position, I retired in column to Falling Creek, where the major-general
commanding had forwarded me additional re-enforcements. At this point (a very strong position) I encamped for the night. Hearing
early next morning that the enemy had recrossed the river and was advancing on White Hall in my rear, I immediately dispatched
one regiment (the Eleventh North Carolina Troops, Colonel [C.] Leventhorpe) and 600 dismounted cavalry, the whole under the
command of Brigadier General B. H. Robertson, to proceed in haste and dispute his crossing at White Hall, while I would attack
his rear toward Kinston. The report of Brigadier-General Robertson is herewith inclosed, I here sent Colonel Rogers to march
on Kinston, and held my other forces in readiness to move in either direction. Finding the enemy had retired across the river
and burned the bridge, I ordered my whole command to Mosely Hall, a position where I could support General Robertson. At this
point I met Major-General French, commanding department, who immediately assumed command and timely re-enforced Brigadier-General
Robertson. My force engaged at Kinston consisted of the Seventeenth, Twenty-second, Twenty-third, and Holcombe Legion South
Carolina Volunteers; Colonel Radcliffe's Sixty-first Regiment North Carolina Troops; Major Mallett's battalion; Captain [R.]
Boyce's light battery South Carolina Volunteers; Captains Bunting's and Starr's batteries North Carolina troops. Lieutenant-Colonel
Pool, commanding North Carolina heavy artillery, commanded the intrenchments at the obstructions below Kinston and attacked
the gunboats and held them in check while I regained my position in rear of the town. My whole force amounted to 2,014.
From Mosely Hall (after the repulse of the enemy at White Hall) I was directed by the major-general commanding
the department to report to Goldsborough. On my arrival with my command was ordered by Major General G. W. Smith to assume
command of Brigadier General T. L. Clingman's brigade and make an armed reconnaissance of the enemy approaching the railroad
bridge. I immediately ordered General Clingman to advance his brigade over the river by the county bridge and engage him;
that I would support his left. On arriving beyond the bridge about a mile General Clingman became engaged with the enemy in
heavy force. I directed Evans' brigade to advance to his support. On reaching the railroad I found the enemy drawn up in line
of battle marching up to the railroad. I then directed my brigade to cross the railroad and engage the enemy, which was done
in a spirited manner. I also herewith inclose General Clingman's report, together with a list of killed and wounded.
In conclusion I would call the attention of the major-general commanding to the gallant conduct and admirable
judgment of Colonel Radcliffe, who had disposed his troops to dispute every advance of the enemy,and regret to add that, holding
his position to the last of the fight, he was taken prisoner, but readily paroled. The following officers were observed by
myself as conspicuous in the battles of Saturday and Sunday: Colonel P. Mallett, North Carolina Troops; Captain [M. G.] Zeigler,
Holcombe Legion; Adjt. W. P. Du Bose, wounded while leading his regiment; Captain [S. A.] Durham, [Company H], Twenty-third
South Carolina Volunteers, wounded severely leading his regiment in action at the railroad.
To the promptness of General Clingman in obeying my orders I am particularly indebted for the repulse
at the railroad near Goldsborough.
To my personal staff (Captain A. L. Evans and First Lieutenant Samuel J. Corrie, aide-de-camp) I am much
indebted, both for the intrepidity and alacrity with which they obeyed my orders, both often leading troops in action. I recommend
both to the especial attention of the major-general commanding. Colonel John A. Baker, Forty-fourth [Forty-first] North Carolina
Troops, deserves especial notice; though suffering with a slight wound, was very energetic as my assistant through the engagement
of the two days.
Colonels Radcliffe and Mallett being paroled prisoners,the reports of their respective commands will be
forwarded as soon as exchanged.
Herewith please find list* of killed and wounded in my brigade. The lists from the other commands have
not been furnished me.
Very respectfully submitted.
N. G. EVANS,
Major S. W. MELTON,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Goldsborough, N. C.
SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies; pages 112-14,
**The 18th SC was on dettached duty in Florida and was engaged in the Battle of Olustee.