Battle of New Berne
March 14, 1862

     Battle of New Bern

    General L. "O'B." Branch was in charge of the defenses of New Bern, NC. The first night, the unit camped at the fairgrounds and the next day it was ordered to the Fort Thompson Line. Colonel Reuben P. Campbell of the 7th Regiment commanded all the troops on the right side of this line. March 14, 1862, the Union forces advanced and penetrated the Confederate line to the right of the 7th Regiment.

    The 7th Regiment itself was under the direct command of LtCol (Edward Graham) Haywood. His troops were posted to the right of the county road. The battle started by firing a Parrot gun into some Federal horsemen, dispersing them. At 7:20 a.m., the firing was general from all over. The Militia under Colonel H.J.B. Clark gave way to the advancing Union forces and fled the field under panic. The Union forces then started up the trenches that had been vacated by the Militia. This caused a flanking of Colonel James Sinclair's 35th Regiment. Sinclair was order to charge the advancing forces with bayonets but he failed to form his men and left the field confused. This left LtCol Campbell to hold the advancing Union forces with his remaining army which included the 7th Regiment and Company F. Haywood was ordered to leave the breastworks and conduct a bayonet charge at the enemy forces advancing in a column. Haywood and the 7th Regiment charged the enemy.  

   The Union forces were driven back at a loss of many troops and equipment and even re-capturing Brem's Battery that had fallen into the enemy hands.  With the Federal troops routed, the 7th Regiment formed again for another attack by Union Forces which appeared to their right with increased numbers. Most of Colonel Haywood's batteries were silenced with the exception of one and with this and the 7th Regiment, he attempted to hold the breastworks. Eventually with, the loss of most of his batteries, he ordered the 7th Regiment to fall back.  Under heavy fire, they retreated and re-formed.  Seeing no hope of removing the Union forces from the field, Colonel Campbell retired from the battle and New Bern was lost.  General Branch moved his forces to Kinston, NC.  The 7th Regiment lost 6 killed, 15 wounded and 30 missing.


In General Branch's after action report he had high praise for the 7th North Carolina's actions, saying:

"The gallant 7th met them with the bayonet and drove them headlong over the parapet, inflicting heavy loss upon them as they fled; but soon returning with heavy reinforcements, not less than five or six regiments, the 7th was obliged to yield, falling back slowly and in order. Seeing the enemy behind the breastwork, without a single man to place in the gap through which he was entering and finding the day lost, my next care was to secure the retreat."