Battle of New Bern - New Bern Falls under Federal Control

The Battle of New Bern (also known as the Battle of New Berne) was fought on 14 March 1862, near the city of New Bern, North Carolina, as part of the Burnside Expedition of the American Civil War.

The US Army's Coast Division, led by Brigadier General Ambrose E. Burnside and accompanied by armed vessels from the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, were opposed by an undermanned and rather badly trained Confederate force of North Carolina soldiers and militia led by Brigadier General Lawrence O'B. Branch. Although the defenders fought behind breastworks that had been set up long before the time of the battle, their line had a weak spot in its center that was exploited by the attacking Federal soldiers. When the center of the line was penetrated, many of the militia broke, forcing a general retreat of the entire Confederate force. General Branch was unable to regain control of his troops until they had retreated to Kinston, more than 30 miles (about 50 km) away. New Bern came under Federal control, and remained so for the rest of the war.

On March 11, 1862, Union General Ambrose Burnside departed Roanoke Island, NC, with an estimated 12,000 troops, many battle hardened from earlier combat, and met 13 heavily armed gunboats at Hatteras commanded by Commodore Stephen C. Rowan of the Union Navy. On March 12, the fleet anchored up the Neuse River off of the mouth of Slocum's Creek. The morning of March 13 opened with the thunder, fire and roar of scores of heavy cannon bombarding the shores of North Carolina. Three full brigades of Union infantry, commanded by Generals John G. Foster, Jesse L. Reno, and John G. Parke—deployed to shore with a battery of six boat howitzers and two rifled Wizard cannon and began the march towards New Bern.