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 Research ACW US War Dept. Official Records HTML Ser. I, Vol. 9, Ch. XX–Reports.

THE
WAR OF THE REBELLION:
A COMPILATION OF THE
OFFICIAL RECORDS
OF THE
UNION AND CONFEDERATE ARMIES.

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CHAPTER XX.
OPERATIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA.
January 11-August 20, 1862.
(Roanoke Island)
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REPORTS, ETC.

SUMMARY OF THE PRINCIPAL EVENTS.*

Jan.11, 1862.–The Burnside Expedition sails from Fort Monroe, Va.
13, 1862.–Expedition arrives at Hatteras Inlet.
Brig. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, U. S. Army, assumes command of the Department of North Carolina.**
22, 1862.–Brig. Gen. Henry A. Wise, C. S. Army, assigned to command at Roanoke Island.
Feb.8, 1862.–Battle of Roanoke Island.
10, 1862.–Action at Elizabeth City.
18-20, 1862.–Expedition to Winton, and skirmish February 19.
19-20, 1862.–Expedition into Currituck Sound.
Mar.14, 1862.–Battle of New Berne.
19, 1862.–Brig. Gen. J. R. Anderson supersedes Brig. Gen. R. C. Gatlin in command of the Confederate Department of North Carolina.***
20-21, 1862.–Expedition to Washington.
23-April 26, 1862.–Siege of Fort Macon.
24, 1862.–Maj. Gen. Th. H. Holmes, C. S. Army, supersedes Brig. Gen. J. R. Anderson.
31, 1862.–Skirmish at Deep Gully.
April7, 1862.–Skirmish at Fey’s Plantation.
Skirmish near Newport.
7-8, 1862.–Expedition to Elizabeth City.
13, 1862.–Skirmish at Gillett’s Farm, Pebbly Run.
19, 1862.–Engagement at South Mills, Camden County.
Skirmish on the Trent Road.
27, 1862.–Skirmish near Haughton’s Mill, Pollocksville Road.
29, 1862.–Skirmish near Batchelder’s Creek.
May2, 1862.–Skirmish near Deep Gully, Trenton Road.
7-8, 1862.–Expedition from Roanoke Island toward Gatesville.
15-16, 1862.–Skirmishes near Trenton Bridge, at Young’s Cross-Roads, and Pollocksville.
22, 1862.–Skirmish at the Trenton and Pollocksville Cross-Roads.
30, 1862.–Skirmish at Tranter’s Creek.
June2, 1862.–Skirmish at Tranter’s Creek.{p.73}
June3, 1862.–North Carolina, west of the Blue Ridge, embraced in the Confederate Department of East Tennessee.
5, 1862.–Action at Tranter’s Creek.
21, 1862.–Confederate Department of North Carolina extended to the south bank of the James River.
24, 1862.–Reconnaissance from Washington to Tranter’s Creek.
July6, 1862.–Major-General Burnside sails with re-enforcements for the Army of the Potomac, leaving Brig. Gen. John G. Foster in command of the Department of North Carolina.
9, 1862.–Capture of Hamilton.
17, 1862.–Maj. Gen. D. H. Hill, C. S. Army, assigned to command of the Department of North Carolina.
24-28, 1862.–Expeditions from New Berne to Trenton and Pollocksville, &c.
26, 1862.–Skirmish at Mill Creek, near Pollocksville.
26-29, 1862.–Reconnaissance from Newport to Young’s Cross-Roads, and skirmish 27th.
28, 1862.–Expedition from Batchelder’s Creek, on Neuse River Road.
Aug.14-15, 1862.–Reconnaissance from Newport to Swansborough.

* Of some of the minor conflicts mentioned in this “Summary” no circumstantial reports are on file.

** This department, to consist of the State of North Carolina, had been created January 7, 1862, by General Orders, No. 2, Headquarters of the Army, of that date.

*** For General Gatlin’s report of operations in his department from August 20, 1861, to March 19, 1862, see Series I, Vol. IV, pp. 573-579.

FEBRUARY 8, 1862.–Battle of Roanoke Island, N. C.

REPORTS, ETC.

No. 1.–Brig. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, U. S. Army, with congratulatory orders.
No. 2.–Lieut. Daniel W. Flagler, U. S. Ordnance Department.
No. 3.–Surgeon William H. Church, U. S. Army, Acting Medical Director.
No. 4.–Brig. Gen. John G. Foster, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade, with sketch.
No. 5.–Capt. Daniel Messinger, Acting Aide-de-Camp.
No. 6.–Lieut. C. Cushing Eyre, First New York Marine Artillery.
No. 7.–Lieut. James H. Strong, Aide-de-Camp.
No. 8.–Lieut. James A. Hedden, First New York Marine Artillery.
No. 9.–Lieut. James M. Pendleton, Aide-de-Camp.
No. 10.–Lieut. Col. Albert W. Drake, Tenth Connecticut Infantry.
No. 11.–Col. John Kurtz, Twenty-third Massachusetts Infantry.
No. 12.–Col. Thomas G. Stevenson, Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry.
No. 13.–Col. Edwin Upton, Twenty-fifth Massachusetts Infantry.
No. 14.–Col. Horace C. Lee, Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Infantry.
No. 15.–Brig. Gen. Jesse L. Reno, U. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade.
No. 16.–Capt. Montgomery Ritchie, Aide-de-Camp.
No. 17.–Lieut. Col. Alberto C. Maggi, Twenty-first Massachusetts Infantry.
No. 18.–Lieut. Col. Charles A. Heckman, Ninth New Jersey Infantry.
No. 19.–Col. Edward Ferrero, Fifty-first New York Infantry.
No. 20.–Col. John F. Hartranft, Fifty-first Pennsylvania Infantry.
No. 21.–Brig. Gen. John G. Parke, U. S. Army, commanding Third Brigade.
No. 22.–Col. Isaac P. Rodman, Fourth Rhode Island Infantry.
No. 23.–Maj. Gen. Benjamin Huger, C. S. Army, with correspondence.
No. 24.–Brig. Gen. Henry A. Wise, C. S. Army, with correspondence.
No. 25.–Col. H. M. Shaw, Eighth North Carolina Infantry.
No. 26.–Capt. James M. Whitson, Eighth North Carolina Infantry.
No. 27.–Col. John V. Jordan, Thirty-first North Carolina Infantry.
No. 28.–Lieut. Col. Wharton J. Green, Second North Carolina Battalion.
No. 29.–Maj. H. W. Fry, Forty-sixth Virginia Infantry.
No. 30.–Lieut. Col. Frank P. Anderson, Fifty-ninth Virginia Infantry.
No. 31.–Maj. G. H. Hill, C. S. Army, commanding Fort Bartow.
No. 32.–Capt. John S. Taylor, C. S. Army, in charge of heavy artillery.
No. 33.–Report of Investigating Committee Confederate House of Representatives.
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No. 1.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, U. S. Army, with congratulatory orders.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Roanoke Island, N. C., February 10, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that a combined attack upon this island was commenced on the morning of the 7th by the naval and military forces of this expedition, which has resulted in the capture of six forts, forty guns, over 2,000 prisoners, and upward of 3,000 small-arms. Among the prisoners are Colonel Shaw, commander of the island, and O. Jennings Wise, commander of the Wise Legion. The latter was mortally wounded and has since died. The whole work was finished on the afternoon of the 8th instant, after a hard day’s fighting, by a brilliant charge on the battery in the center of the island and a rapid pursuit of the enemy to the north end of the island, resulting in the capture of the prisoners mentioned above. We have had no time to count them, but the number is estimated at near 3,000.

Our men fought bravely, and have endured most manfully the hardships incident to fighting through swamps and dense thickets.

It is impossible to give the details of the engagement or to mention meritorious officers and men in the short time allowed for-writing this report. The naval vessel carrying it starts immediately for Hampton Roads, and the reports of the brigadier-generals have not yet been handed in. It is enough to say that the officers and men of both arms of the service have fought gallantly and the plans agreed upon before leaving Hatteras were carried out.

I will be excused for saying in reference to the action that I owe everything to Generals Foster, Reno, and Parke, as more full details will show.

I am sorry to report the loss of about 35 killed and about 200 wounded, 10 of them probably mortally* Among the killed are Colonel Russell, of the Tenth Connecticut Regiment, and Lieut. Col. Joseph A. Viguer De Monteil, of the D’Epineuil Zouaves, both of whom fought most gallantly.

I regret exceedingly not being able to send a full report of the killed and wounded, but will send a dispatch-boat in a day or two with full returns.

I beg leave to inclose a copy of a general order issued by me on the 9th instant.

I am most happy to say that I have just received a message from Commodore Goldsborough, stating that the expedition of the gunboats against Elizabeth City and the rebel fleet has been entirely successful. He will of course send his returns to his Department.

I have the honor to be, General, your obedient servant,

A. E. BURNSIDE, Brigadier-General, Commanding Department of North Carolina.

Maj. Gen. GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, Commanding U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

* But see revised statement, p. 85.

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GENERAL ORDERS, No. 7.}

HDQRS. DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, Roanoke Island, N. C., February 9, 1862.

The general commanding congratulates his troops on their brilliant and successful occupation of Roanoke Island. The courage and steadiness they have shown under fire is what he expected from them, and he accepts it as a token of future victory. Each regiment on the island will inscribe on its banner, “Roanoke Island, February 8, 1862.”

The highest praise is due to Brigadier-Generals Foster, Reno, and Parke, who so bravely and energetically carried out the movement that has resulted in the complete success of the Union arms.

By command of Brig. Gen. A. E. Burnside:

LEWIS RICHMOND, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Roanoke, February 14, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to transmit a more detailed report of the events that have transpired in this command since may last dispatch to the General-in-Chief on the 4th instant, from Hatteras Inlet, stating that I was about ready to move upon Roanoke Island with a portion of this command-of about twelve regiments and a half-the hasty dispatch of the 10th instant only giving the general result of the movement spoken of above.

The difficulty of watering, coaling, and provisioning our vessels in the midst of the gale, after they had crossed the swash, was scarcely less than that of getting our vessels into the sound, owing to the necessity of having to lighten every supply vessel over the bulkhead.

On the evening of the 4th instant I reported to Commodore Goldsborough my readiness to start on the following morning, and accordingly we weighed anchor (the naval fleet leading) at 7 o’clock on the morning of the 5th instant, and arrived without accident off Stumpy Point, some 6 miles from the entrance to Croatan Sound, at 5.30 p.m., when the signal to anchor was given. On the following morning (the 6th) we again weighed anchor at 6.30 a.m., but could proceed no farther than to the entrance of the sound in consequence of a thick fog which had set in. The fleet of the enemy, anchored in line of battle, was discovered off Pork Point before the fog came on, which convinced us that the first battery was probably at that point. The remaining part of that day was used in consultation and arranging the vessels for a general movement on the following day. Five of my armed propellers were lightened of their troops to one company each, and were sent forward with the Picket to anchor in line of battle with the naval fleet, under the direction of Capt. S. F. Hazard, of the Navy. The remaining two propellers I ordered General Parke to anchor some half mile below, as a rear guard to the transport fleet, which consisted of armed and unarmed steamers and sailing vessels.

We weighed anchor early next morning and passed through the narrow channel at the entrance to Croatan Sound in single file, the head of the naval fleet arriving off Pork Point Battery at five minutes past 9 o’clock a.m., when the first gun was fired. By 10.30 o’clock the action became general, the attack continuing in most gallant style until 6.30 p. in One of the two propellers forming the rear guard, having on board three companies of troops, moved forward and joined Captain Hazard’s division.

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At 1 o’clock p.m., after ordering preparations to be made for landing, and sending a small boat with Lieutenant Andrews, of the Ninth Regiment New York Volunteers, and six of the Rhode Island Battalion, into Ashby’s, to make soundings and examine the landings, I proceeded to the naval fleet,and after consulting with Commodore Goldsborough I determined to attempt a landing before night. After visiting my armed propellers and finding them doing good service, on my return to the troops’ fleet I received Lieutenant Andrews’ report, which satisfied me that the decision to land at Ashby’s Harbor was correct. In leaving the landing Lieutenant Andrews and crew were fired upon by the enemy, wounding one of the crew, Charles Viall, of Company E, Fifth Rhode Island Battalion, in the jaw. The reconnaissance of Lieutenant Andrews was such as reflects great credit upon him as an officer. I accordingly ordered General Foster, who was ready with his first detachment, to attempt a landing at some point in the harbor. I had before ordered General Reno, who was also ready with his first detachment, to halt until the naval-boat howitzers, under Midshipman Porter, could be brought up and placed in position. They were soon taken in tow by General Reno, and in a very few minutes General Parke’s boat and his had reached the shore, and were soon after joined by the boats carrying the first detachment of General Parke’s brigade. I had before ordered the Picket down to the mouth of the harbor to cover the landing of the troops, and Captain Rowan had also brought his flag-ship, the Delaware, under command of Captain Quackenbush, down for the same purpose. The immediate point of landing at Ashby’s Harbor in the original plan was Ashby’s Landing, but on approaching it General Foster discovered an armed force in the woods in the rear of the landing, and very wisely directed his leading vessel to another point in the harbor, opposite Hammond’s house. This armed force was soon dispersed by a few shell from the Delaware and Picket. In less than twenty minutes from the time the boats reached the shore 4,000 of our men were passing over the marshes at a double-quick and forming in most perfect order on the dry land near the house; and I beg leave to say that I never witnessed a more beautiful sight than that presented by the approach of these vessels to the shore and the landing and forming of the troops. Each brigadier-general had a light-draught steamer, to which were attached some 20 surf-boats in a long line in the rear. Both steamers and boats were densely filled with soldiers, and each boat bearing the national flag.

As the steamers approached the shore at a rapid speed each surfboat was “let go,” and with their acquired velocity and by direction of the steersman reached the shore in line. Capt. Lewis Richmond, assistant adjutant-general, with Mr. W. H. French, one of my secretaries, landed with the Fourth Rhode Island, and Lieut. D. A. Pell, my aide-de-camp, with the Fifty-first New York, Colonel Ferrero. I then went on shore, where I met General Parke, and received from him his report of the disposition of the forces for the protection of the landing of the remainder of the division, which disposition I entirely approved of: Soon after I met General Reno, whom I left in command, General Foster having returned to his vessel to bring up his second detachment.

A position on land having thus been secured, I went on board the commodore’s vessel to consult with him in reference to the work of the next day, leaving Captain Richmond, Lieutenant Pell, and Mr. French on shore. The battery at Pork Point was very formidable, and had not been entirely silenced; but when I informed him that the entire {p.77} force would probably be landed that night, and that we proposed to adhere to the original plan of making an advance early in the morning upon the inland fort in the center of the island, taking it, if possible, and proceeding rapidly up the main road, thus getting in the rear of all the shore batteries, he remarked that it would be dangerous to ourselves for him to renew his attack on the next morning, as his people might fire into our own troops, and I left him with the understanding that the attack would not be renewed without a signal from me.

By 12 o’clock that night the entire division (except the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, Colonel Stevenson, detained below by the grounding of the steamer), together with Porter’s battery of Dahlgren howitzers, had been landed. During the night a careful reconnaissance was made by my three brigade generals and their troops most judiciously posted, the leading regiment, the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Lieutenant-Colonel Maggi, occupying a position at the forks of the road above Hammond’s house.

Early the next morning, in pursuance of the plan of action, General Foster ordered an advance. I arrived on the ground after the first three regiments of the brigade had filed through the woods, the other regiments being in line ready to move forward as room was made for them. General Reno’s and Parke’s brigades were also in readiness for a forward movement.

On reaching a point some mile and a half by the road from Hammond’s house, General Foster came upon the battery across the road which, from information received, we had been led to suppose was there, and immediately commenced the disposition of his forces for his attack; and I here beg leave to say that I must refer you almost entirely to the reports of my brigadier-generals for an accurate knowledge of their movements during the day, as the face of the island precluded the possibility of any general oversight of operations on the field. The road from the opening in front of Hammond’s house to the battery, some mile and a half; was very narrow and winding, leading through a deep marsh, covered with small pines and thick undergrowth, presenting the appearance of being impenetrable. The battery is not visible until a point some 600 yards from it is reached, when the road takes a turn to the left, and the timber in front is cleared away, that the guns may have full sweep. For more accurate information I beg leave to refer you to the accompanying map of the road.*

Soon after the attack was commenced I ordered General Parke to place a regiment in the woods to the north of Hammond’s house and extending up to the main road, to prevent the possibility of the enemy’s turning our left. The Eighth Connecticut, Colonel Harland, was detailed for this service. The Fifth Rhode Island Battalion, Major Wright, had been ordered to occupy Ashby’s house. I then ordered Captain D’Wolf, with a boat’s crew kindly loaned me by the Delaware, which way lying off the shore, to move down and land, and carefully reconnoiter the ground south and east of Ashby’s, thus ascertaining that there was no force in the rear or on our right flank. Soon after this the firing indicated that General Foster was very warmly engaged with the enemy. General Reno’s brigade was forcing its way up to his relief and General Parke’s brigade was ready to follow. I had ordered General Parke to have the Ninth New York, Colonel Hawkins, land their Dahlgren howitzers from their floating battery on the shore, but as the marshy ground would have made it a half-day’s work, I countermanded {p.78} the order, which was most fortunate, as the regiment moved forward in time to take a most important part in the action.

General Foster commenced the attack by putting six Dahlgren howitzers in position in front of the enemy’s battery, supporting it with the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts, Colonel Upton. This regiment was supported by the Twenty-third Massachusetts, Colonel Kurtz, also in line. After the Tenth Connecticut, Colonel Russell, came up, General Foster ordered the Twenty-third Massachusetts and Twenty-seventh Massachusetts, Colonel Lee, to pass into the swamp on the right, for the purpose of getting on the left flank of the enemy. Soon after this the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts exhausted its ammunition, and the Tenth Connecticut advanced to its position. All these movements were performed by the regiments under lead of their respective commanders with the most commendable efficiency. The skill with which the Dahlgren howitzers were handled by Midshipman Benjamin Porter and Acting Master J. B. Hammond is deserving the highest praise, and I take great pleasure in recommending them to the favorable notice of the Navy Department. At this time the number of wounded arriving on litters indicated that the engagement was serious, and two hospitals were established by my brigade surgeon, Dr. W. H. Church, one at Hammond’s house and the other at Ashby’s, where the wounded were well cared for.

In the mean time, General Reno, coming up, sent word to General Foster that he would try to penetrate the dense wood to the left and thus turn their right flank, which movement was approved by General Foster and was carried out by General Reno, the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Lieutenant-Colonel Maggi, leading, followed by the Fifty-first New York, Colonel Ferrero; Ninth New Jersey, Lieutenant-Colonel Heckman, and Fifty-first Pennsylvania, Colonel Hartranft, each most gallantly led by their respective commanders, and resulting in a complete success. When it is remembered that in addition to the obstacles of thicket and underbrush the men were more than knee-deep in mud and water, it seems a most wonderful feat. Immediately after General Reno’s brigade had cleared the road General Parke came up with his brigade, and was ordered by General Foster to support the Twenty-third Massachusetts and Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Regiments, which had by direction of General Foster most gallantly initiated under their colonels a movement to turn the left flank of the enemy, when he at once turned his brigade to the right, the Fourth Rhode Island in advance, gallantly led by its colonel and Capt. Lewis Richmond, my assistant adjutant-general, meeting with obstacles equal to those on the left.

Just as the Ninth New York was entering the woods to follow the Fourth Rhode Island Generals Foster and Parke, discovering that the appearance of General Reno on the enemy’s right had staggered him, they decided to order the Ninth New York to charge the battery in front, which was instantly done, and at once the road was filled with a sea of red caps, the air resounding with their cheers. The charge of General Reno’s leading regiment, the Twenty-first Massachusetts, and Fifty-first New York was simultaneous with the charge of the Ninth New York, when the enemy broke and ran in the greatest possible confusion, while the cheers of our men indicated to every one on time island that we had carried the battery. The merit of first entering the fort is claimed by the Twenty-first Massachusetts and Fifty-first New York, a few men from each regiment entering at the same time, one regiment hoisting the regimental flag and the other the national flag on the parapet.

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Just before the charge the steamer Union arrived with the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, which I hastened forward, with the exception of three companies, detailed to carry up ammunition. It must be remembered that up to this time there had not been a single horse landed, owing to the impossibility of getting them through the marsh on the shore. All the ammunition and stores had to be transferred by our soldiers, and the, general and field officers had to perform their duties on foot. On moving up the road toward the battery I met my aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Fearing, whom I had sent to the front to report progress, when he informed me that an advance was made by General Reno’s brigade immediately after the battery was taken, thus anticipating my order sent by Lieutenant Anderson. I had learned from an officer of the Richmond Blues, taken prisoner and brought to me by Capt. William Cutting and Lieut. D. A. Pell, that there were no more batteries on the road.

The Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, Colonel Stevenson, coming up fresh, General Foster pushed on, followed by General Parke. On arriving at the road leading to Pork Point Battery I detailed the Fourth Rhode Island and the Tenth Connecticut from General Foster’s brigade, sending them under General Parke down this road to take the battery in the rear, but on their arrival it was found to have been just evacuated. The pursuit was continued by Generals Foster and Reno to the head of the island in rear of Weir’s Point Battery, where the entire force on the island had concentrated in two camps. A slight engagement ensued, in which the enemy lost four men killed, after which they surrendered to Generals Foster and Reno at discretion. The entire force of the enemy on the island, in the batteries, and stationed as sharpshooters was about 4,000. Gov. H. A. Wise had a force in reserve at Nag’s Head, with which he left as soon as he heard of our victory. Their troops were well posted for defense and their inland battery well masked, so that our men were really fighting against an enemy almost entirely concealed. The force that surrendered to Generals Foster and Reno consisted of 159 officers and over 2,500 men. Among these are two colonels, two lieutenant-colonels, and three majors.

I omitted to mention that the Ninth New York was diverted to the right of the main road by General Reno, where they captured some 60 prisoners in their attempt to escape through Shallow Bag Bay. Among these prisoners was Capt. O. Jennings Wise, who was severely wounded and has since died. The loss of the enemy is unknown, as many had been removed, but it will not exceed 150 killed and wounded.

By this victory we have gained complete possession of this island, with five forts, mounting thirty-two guns, winter quarters for some 4,000 troops, and 3,000 stand of arms, large hospital buildings, with a large amount of lumber, wheelbarrows, scows, pile-drivers, a mud dredge, ladders, and other appurtenances for military service, of which a careful inventory will be made and sent on, with an accurate list of prisoners, by our next dispatches.

Fort Forrest, on the main-land, opposite Weir’s Point, was burned by the rebels on the evening of the 8th instant. It contained eight guns, thus making their loss forty guns in all. The Navy has recovered nearly all from this fort in good condition.

When it is remembered that for one month our officers and men had been confined on crowded ships during a period of unusual prevalence of severe storms, some of them having to be removed from stranded vessels, others in vessels thumping for days on sand banks and under constant apprehension of collision, then landing without blankets or {p.80} tents on a marshy shore, wading knee-deep in mud and water to a permanent landing, exposed all night to a cold rain, then fighting for four hours, pursuing the enemy some 8 miles, bivouacking in the rain, many of them without tents or covering, for two or three nights, it seems wonderful that not one murmur or complaint has been heard from them. They have endured all these hardships with the utmost fortitude, and have exhibited on the battle-field a coolness, courage, and perseverance worthy of veteran soldiers. The companies left on board the armed propellers during the naval engagement rendered most efficient service, and are highly spoken of by the different brigade commanders. There had been placed on these propellers, by the brigadier-generals, aides-de-camp, who rendered marked service during the action, as did also the officers and men of the Marine Artillery in charge of the guns, headed by Col. William A. Howard.

I desire to tender my thanks to Capt. S. F. Hazard, U. S. Navy, commanding division of armed vessels, for his efficient management of the division. The vessels comprising this division were the Picket, Capt. T. P. Ives; Vedette, Captain Foster; Hussar, Captain Crocker; Lancer, Captain Morley; Ranger, Captain Emerson; Chasseur, Captain West; Pioneer, Captain Baker The Picket was particularly serviceable in covering the landing of the troops.

I must express to Commodore Goldsborough and the officers of his fleet my high appreciation and admiration of their gallantry, and my thanks for the kind assistance rendered us from time to time in our joint labors.

I have to thank my personal staff for their efficient aid in the work through which we have passed. They are as follows:

Dr. W. H. Church, brigade surgeon; Capt. Lewis Richmond, assistant adjutant-general; Capt. William Cutting, assistant quartermaster; Capt. James F. D’Wolf, assistant commissary; Lieut. D. W. Flagler, ordnance officer; Lieut. D. A. Pell, aide-de-camp; Lieut. G. R. Fearing, aide-de-camp; Lieutenant Andrews, topographical officer. All of these officers have rendered most efficient service in their several capacities.

Mr. D. R. Lamed, my private secretary, accompanied me to the shore, and, with Mr. W. H. French, my other secretary, were very serviceable in communicating with the vessels and forces, doing the duty of volunteer aides. I beg leave to refer you to the report of. Dr. W. H. Church, brigade surgeon, for list of casualties, which amount to 41 killed and 181 wounded.** Among the killed I regret to record the following officers: Col. Charles L. Russell, Tenth Connecticut; Lieut. Col. Viguer De Monteil, of Fifty-third New York; Second Lieut. John H. Goodwin, jr., Company B, Twenty-third Massachusetts; Lieutenant Stillman, Tenth Connecticut; Capt. Joseph J. Henry, Ninth New Jersey. I refrain from mentioning special cases of heroism in the brigades, as it would be wrong to make distinctions where all behaved so gallantly.

In closing this report I beg leave again to call your attention to Brigadier-Generals Foster, Reno, and Parke, who throughout the action showed the greatest gallantry and directed the movements of the troops with skill and energy. From the moment they joined me I have given them large discretionary powers, and the sequel has shown that I have acted wisely. I especially recommend them to the favor of the Department.

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I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. E. BURNSIDE, Brigadier-General, Commanding Department North Carolina.

Brig. Gen. LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

* Not found.

** But see revised statement, p. 85.

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No. 2.

Report of Lieut. Daniel W. Flagler, U. S. Ordnance Department.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT NORTH CAROLINA, Roanoke Island, February 20, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit for your information the following report of the ordnance and ordnance stores captured on Roanoke Island during the engagement of the 8th instant:

The total number of cannon captured was forty-two. In the inland battery were three, all mounted, on field carriages and covered by an earthwork with embrasures. One of these is a heavy 24-pounder boat howitzer; one a 6-pounder brass field gun, model 1846, and the other an 18-pounder brass field gun-probably a Mexican trophy. There were no caissons with these pieces, but the implements and equipments of the pieces were uninjured, and a quantity of ammunition in the ammunition-chest of each of the limbers. In Fort Foster, at Pork Point, were nine guns. Eight of these are heavy 32-pounder navy smoothbore guns and one a banded rifled gun-this last peculiarly rifled, and has been manufactured by the enemy since the beginning of the war. It has seven grooves, the bottom of the groove being cylindrical in form, intersecting at one edge with the surface of the bore. At the other edge the groove is eleven-hundredths of an inch deep. It has thus but one shoulder, which is at the right edge of the groove, as the twist is to the left. The grooves and bands are of equal width, and have a uniform twist of one turn in 32 feet. The gun is manufactured from a 32-pounder navy gun of 61-cwt. A portion at the breech was turned down to a perfect cylinder, and then wrought-iron cylinders shrunk around the breech, similarly to the Parrott gun. The cylinder, when complete, is 24 1/2 inches long and 1 1/2 inches thick. The few experiments I have been able to make with the gun show that it will compare not unfavorably in range and accuracy of fire with the Parrott gun. The only projectiles found for it were shells, ready filled and fused with the navy fuse. It is mounted en barbette, with the French navy carriage, on a chassis traversing a semicircle. Two of the other guns at the left flank of the battery are mounted en barbette, traversing the entire circle. All the remaining guns have embrasures, and are mounted on the French navy carriage, with platform. The fort has two small magazines. In them and in the fort were found 828 32-pounder round shot, 84 stand of grape, a few shells, and 110 cartridges for the 32-pounder guns. There was also a small quantity of musket ammunition and ammunition for 12-pounder boat howitzers stored in the magazines.

In Fort Parke were found four 32-pounder navy guns mounted en {p.82} barbette on the army 32-pounder barbette carriages, and one spare carriage without the chassis. It had also 440 32-pounder round shot, but all the ammunition had been taken from the magazine and destroyed. The implements belonging to the guns in this fort were not much injured.

In Fort Reno were twelve guns. Of these the two upon the left flank of the battery are rifled guns like the one in Fort Foster which I have already described, and mounted upon the same carriage en barbette. All the others are smooth-bore 32-pounder navy guns of 57 and 61 cwt. The two upon the right flank are mounted en barbette and the remaining eight on the navy carriage at embrasures. In the fort and magazines were 2,144 32-pounder round shot, 110 shells for the rifle guns, and 42 32-pounder shells. All the ammunition had also been taken from this magazine and destroyed. I found in the water near the shore just outside this fort a 32-pounder gun, which the enemy had apparently let fall in trying to land it. I have hauled it out, and if necessary it can be mounted on a spare carriage. The remaining two guns are in Fort Ellis, opposite Nag’s Head.

All of the guns excepting the three field pieces in the inland battery I found had been spiked and other ineffectual attempts made to render them unserviceable. Six of them were spiked with rat-tail files; the remainder with wrought-iron spikes and nails. They were all loaded, some with several shot wedged, and others with charged shells unfused and inverted, so arranged as to explode in the gun if fired. All of these have been removed without accident, and the guns are now ready for service.

In Forts Reno and Foster considerable injury was done to the carriages, implements, and equipments. The guns being mounted on navy carriages, the breechings and tackle-ropes were in most cases cut. With some of the carriages, however the breechings and tackle were unnecessary, so that with some repairs, using the spare parts and implements that were found, the injuries have been so far repaired that the guns can now be maneuvered and fired without danger. I have made some 400 cartridges for the 32-pounder guns, and so distributed the ammunition found in these two forts as to render them as defensible as possible until larger supplies can be obtained.

The implements and equipments in Fort Parke sustained much less injury. These have all been repaired, but as the magazine of the fort is very damp, and you told me you intended to change the position of the battery, I have done nothing to supply the guns with ammunition.

The small-arms captured were generally of an inferior quality. Of those that have been preserved there are about 1,500. They are principally smooth-bore muskets (caliber .69) made at Harper’s Ferry, in 1832, and have either flint-locks or have been altered to percussion. Some of the enemy’s troops were armed with fowling-pieces, sporting rifles, and a motley collection of arms nearly useless for military purposes. These were all carried away by our soldiers and people from the transports. The iron parts found among the ruins of the camp near Fort Foster indicate that some 200 or 300 muskets must have been destroyed by fire on the day of the bombardment. I am also satisfied that a quantity of arms and ammunition has been buried or hidden on the island, although we have as yet been unable to find it. Several muskets have been sent as trophies to naval officers of the fleet in accordance with your orders. This must account for the large discrepancy between the number of prisoners and small-arms captured. There are also 1,600 sets of infantry equipments, many of them incomplete. Such {p.83} of these and of the muskets as will not be required for service in this department I have had boxed, preparatory to any disposition of them the Ordnance Bureau may direct. The greater part of the ammunition found in the cartridge-boxes of the prisoners was so much injured by exposure to the weather that I do not think it worth preserving. In the magazine at Fort Foster were found in good order 40,000 musket cartridges (caliber .69), 2,200 cartridges for Minie rifles (caliber .54), and 134 rounds fixed ammunition for the 24-pounder boat howitzer. The magazines in the forts are generally not well constructed, affording insufficient protection for the ammunition against dampness. They are bomb-proofs, and built of such light soil that in falling weather the dampness easily penetrates to the magazines. If they are to contain considerable stores or ammunition for any length of time I would respectfully recommend that they be reconstructed or replaced by new ones.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. W. FLAGLER, Lieutenant, Ordnance Officer Department North Carolina.

General AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE, Commanding Department of North Carolina.

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No. 3.

Report of Surg. William H. Church, U. S. Army, Acting Medical Director.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Roanoke Island, February 12, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the killed and wounded of your command consequent upon the attack upon Roanoke Island:

February 7 a small boat, having been ordered on shore to reconnoiter, was attacked by the enemy, when Charles Viall, a private in Company E, of the Fifth Rhode Island Battalion, received a wound in the lower jaw, causing a compound comminuted fracture, from which he will probably recover.

February 8, upon the advance of General Foster the houses and outhouses at the landing were at once prepared for the reception of the wounded, and placed in charge of Surgeon Storrs, of the Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, his regiment having been ordered there to protect the landing of our forces and hold the position. Brigade Surgeon Thompson now advanced with the troops to take charge of the wounded on the field of battle, where he remained until the battery was taken, assisting in the care of the wounded, and sending them with the least possible delay to the hospital. Through the energy of Dr. Thompson much suffering has been avoided.

Finding that there was not sufficient room in these buildings to receive the wounded, we immediately took possession of Ashby’s house, a short distance from the first and quite as convenient to the field of action. The Fifth Rhode Island Battalion having been ordered to guard this point, Asst. Surg. A. Potter took charge of it until further assistance could be procured. Surgeon Minis, of the Forty-eighth Regiment {p.84} Pennsylvania Volunteers (owing to the death of Surgeon Weller, by drowning, at Hatteras Inlet, he was detailed to serve with the Ninth New Jersey Volunteers), was very soon placed in charge of this temporary hospital, where there was sufficient room to receive the wounded not provided for. During the action of this day 32 were killed and 174 wounded.* Col. Charles L. Russell, of the Tenth Connecticut Volunteers, was shot through the lung, and died almost immediately. Lieut. Col. Viguer De Monteil, of the Fifty-third Regiment New York Volunteers, was also killed by a ball passing through his brain.

Accompanying this please find a list of the killed and wounded of each regiment that participated in the engagement.**

The surgical portion of your command has performed its duties faithfully and fearlessly, Surg. J. Marcus Rice, of the Twenty-fifth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, having been wounded in the midst of his very arduous duties. The ball grazed his side, fortunately without inflicting a severe wound.

We have found three unusually large, commodious, and well-ventilated buildings erected upon the island for hospital purposes, which will afford ample accommodation for our sick and wounded. The largest hospital at the north end of the island I have placed in the charge of Surg. S. A. Green, of the Twenty-fourth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, and Surg. George A. Otis has the management of the two hospitals near the fort at the center of the island.

I would respectfully ask your attention to the fact that the wounded of the enemy have received the same care and attention from the surgeons as our own wounded. Permit me to take advantage of this opportunity to express our gratitude to the officers of the United States gunboat Delaware, the surgeon having dressed a large number of our wounded.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant and friend,

WM. HENRY CHURCH, Brigade Surgeon and Acting Medical Director.

* But see revised statement, p. 85.

** The revised statement on p. 85 is substituted for that submitted by Dr. Church.

{p.85}

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Return of casualties in the Department of North Carolina, commanded by Brig. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, at the battle of Roanoke Island, N. C., February 8, 1862.

[Compiled from nominal lists of casualties, returns, &c.]

Command.Killed.Wounded.Captured or missing.Aggregate.
Officers.Enlisted men.Officers.Enlisted men.Officers.Enlisted men.
First Brigade.
Brig. Gen. JOHN G. FOSTER.
23d Massachusetts12511
24th Massachusetts
25th Massachusetts.634150
27th Massachusetts411116
10th Connecticut2424755
Total First Brigade3166107132
Second Brigade.
Brig. Gen. JESSE L. RENO.
21st Massachusetts523744
51st New York311923
9th New Jersey1628237
51st Pennsylvania123
Total Second Brigade11427713107
Third Brigade.
Brig. Gen. JOHN G. PARKE.
4th. Rhode Island*
5th Rhode Island, 1st Battalion*
5th Connecticut*
9th New York21517
Total Third Brigade21517
UNASSIGNED TROOPS.
1st New York Marine Artillery, Detachment*
99th New York, Company B.257
Grand total Department of North Carolina**5321020413264

* No loss reported.

** Includes Lieut. Col. Joseph A. Viguer De Monteil, whose regiment, Fifty-third New York, was not engaged.

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No. 4.

Report of Brig. Gen. John G. Foster, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade, with sketch.*

HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE, Roanoke Island, February 9, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to the orders of the commanding general and in pursuance of the plan of observations previously agreed upon in a council ordered by him, I proceeded to land my brigade on Roanoke Island on the evening of the 7th instant, {p.86} while the engagement between the fleet and the enemy’s battery on Pork Point was still in progress. I embarked 500 of the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts Regiment on the Pilot Boy, and towing all the boats from the vessels of my brigade loaded with detachments from the different regiments composing it, in all 1,400 men, I headed for Ashby’s Harbor, which had been agreed upon as the landing point. As I approached closely I detected with the glass the presence of an ambuscaded force of infantry and artillery, and in consequence immediately headed the boat for the point just above the harbor, in front of Hammond’s house, where the force landed without molestation. General Reno, with the Union and Patuxent, and General Parke, in the Phoenix, landed immediately after my detachment, making in all over 4,000 men landed in twenty minutes.

As soon as the force at Ashby’s Harbor saw us land at the point above they commenced a hasty retreat, in order not to be cut off by road from Hammond’s house, which intersects the main road through the island above its intersection with the road from Ashby’s. During the landing Captain Rowan, U. S. Navy, commanding the first division of the fleet, ordered the Delaware, Captain Quackenbush, U. S. Navy, and Captain Hazard, U. S. Navy, ordered the Picket, Capt. T. P. Ives, to run in and cover the landing with their guns. This was handsomely done, although it required but a few shells to accelerate the retreat of the force from Ashby’s.

I returned and brought on shore a second load, and then landed, leaving Captain Potter, assistant commissary of subsistence of my brigade, on board the steamer to continue the debarkation. Finding that the general commanding had returned to the fleet, I assumed command as senior officer present. During the night my entire brigade (with the exception of the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts on board the Guide and aground) were landed, as also the brigades of Generals Reno and Parke. The night was rainy, and the men, wet from their march from the landing, were obliged to bivouac around their fires, but kept in excellent spirits. I made a reconnaissance in the evening with Generals Reno and Parke, to ascertain the position of the enemy, the roads, &c., and made all the proper dispositions for the night.

At daybreak of the 8th I advanced my brigade across the creek in accordance with the plan of operations above referred to, the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts being in the advance. On reaching a clearing I met the enemy’s pickets, and was fired upon by them. They then fell back on a run, followed by our skirmishers. We advanced to the main road, and then upon that road until, when near the middle of the island, we came upon the enemy in a strong position prepared for battle. The road at this point was a causeway, flanked on each side by an almost impassable marsh, with thick underbrush on either side. In front of the battery the trees were cut down, so as to give a clear sweep of their guns for a distance of 700 yards in front, for the whole of which distance the advance in front was fully exposed to the fire of three pieces in embrasure, supported by a force of about 2,000 men. Of the seven light pieces from the ships’ launches, six were placed on the road so that two could be used at a time, flanked by the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteers in line. This regiment was supported by the Twenty-third Massachusetts Regiment, also in line. We then advanced to the attack. As soon as the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts and the Tenth Connecticut Volunteers came up I ordered the Twenty-third Massachusetts, supported by the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts, to advance through the morass on our right and endeavor to turn the enemy’s left. {p.87} The Tenth Connecticut was brought up to support the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts.

General Reno then came up with his whole brigade, and proceeded to turn the right of the enemy’s position through the swamp on that side. General Parke next came up with his brigade, and I directed him to push forward to the right, following the-Twenty-third and Twenty-seventh Massachusetts in the attempt to turn the enemy’s left through the marsh and swamp on that side.

In the mean time the engagement was warm in front. The light pieces having fired all but ten rounds, I ordered their fire to cease, and these rounds to be preserved for an emergency, keeping the pieces in position. The Twenty-fifth Massachusetts had expended its ammunition and suffered considerable loss. I therefore advanced the Tenth Connecticut in front of the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts Regiment, and held the latter in reserve.

After the engagement (which commenced at 8 o’clock) had lasted three and a half hours, the Ninth New York (the last of General Parke’s regiments) coming on the field, followed by the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, I directed General Parke to order it to charge. The order was given, and the regiment charged at a run with yells, cheered by the other troops, right up the road at the battery. Major Kimball, of this regiment, exhibited marked gallantry, leading the charge by several rods. The enemy left the battery. Their retreat was, however, a necessity from other causes, for General Reno had at this time turned the enemy’s right and was firing into the rear of their battery and charging at the same time into them, and the Twenty-third Massachusetts, at the head of General Parke’s column, sent to turn the enemy’s left, had also made its appearance on the other flank. The enemy retreated in precipitation, leaving three guns unspiked, their caissons, and the dead and some wounded in the battery. General Reno immediately pushed on in pursuit, and I sent to report to the commanding general the result of the battle and the anticipation of another one at the upper batteries. I then followed General Reno with my brigade, the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, which was fresh, being in front. I soon overtook and passed General Reno, who was busy in securing the fugitives attempting to escape in boats across to Nag’s Head, and pushed forward toward the upper end of the island to overtake the retreating regiments of the enemy.

Just before reaching the fort on the upper extremity of the island I was met by a flag of truce, borne by Lieutenant-Colonel Fowle, of the Thirty-first North Carolina Volunteers, who came from Col. H. M. Shaw, of the Eighth North Carolina Volunteers, commanding the enemy’s forces on the island, to ask what terms of surrender would be granted. I replied, none but those of unconditional surrender. He asked what time would be allowed for consultation. I replied, just as long as it will take to get to Colonel Shaw and return, and sent Major Stevenson, of the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, to bring back the answer. Becoming impatient, I advanced with the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, but when near their camp was met by the flag of truce returning to say that my terms were accepted. I then marched into the main camp and received the surrender of Colonel Shaw as commander of the enemy’s forces on the island, with all his forces. I immediately ordered Colonel Kurtz, with the Twenty-third Massachusetts, to advance and secure the camp of the Thirty-first North Carolina Volunteers, near by, but his arrival was anticipated by General Reno, who had already secured their camp, with the regiment it contained.

{p.88}

The camps consisted of well-built quarters, store-houses, and hospitals, all newly built. The forces surrendered numbered in all about 3,000.

The two forts on the island above the one on Pork Point are well constructed, and mount in all sixteen guns of heavy caliber, with well-stocked magazines.

After securing the prisoners and arms I went to report the result to the general commanding, and found him in the Pork Point Battery, upon which he had advanced with General Parke, supported by the Tenth Connecticut (one of my brigade).

I have only time in this hasty report to notice in general terms the conduct of the troops, and to say that I never saw men stand up more gallantly under a hot fire than did the regiments of my brigade especially the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts and Tenth Connecticut Regiments, both of which suffered quite severely. Colonel Russell, of the Tenth Connecticut, fell gallantly at the head of his regiment, and after his fall the regiment was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Drake. I would notice here the gallant conduct of Midshipman Benjamin Porter and Acting Master J. B. Hammond, of the Navy, who commanded the light guns from the ships’ launches and were constantly under fire. They both deserve commissions for their admirable conduct on this occasion.

The reports of the several regimental commanders of my brigade, which are herewith inclosed, will show in detail the names of those officers and men who distinguished themselves by their gallant conduct. They all behaved admirably, both officers and men.

With the exception of Captain Hoffman and Lieutenant Anderson, who were on the field with me, and Captains Potter and Hudson, who were engaged in bringing up ammunition and provisions, my aides were en the gunboats Ranger, Hussar, and Vedette-Captain Messinger and Lieut. Ed. N. Strong on the Ranger, Lieut. James M. Pendleton on the Vedette, and James H. Strong on the Hussar. Lieutenants Van Buren and Gordon, of the Signal Corps, volunteered as aides at the time and were of great service in carrying orders.

I would mention that Viguer De Monteil, lieutenant-colonel of the Fifty-third Regiment, came up during the action and asked permission to fight as a private. This I granted, and he passed on in front to the position of the Tenth Connecticut, where he stood coolly aiming and firing his rifle and exhibiting the most marked bravery. He fell shot dead toward the close of the engagement.

The colonels of the different regiments of my brigade exhibited marked ability, coolness, and daring.

The Twenty-fifth Regiment was commanded by Colonel Upton, the Twenty-seventh by Colonel Lee, the Twenty-third by Colonel Kurtz, the Twenty-fourth by Colonel Stevenson, the Tenth Connecticut by Colonel Russell.

I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Brigadier-General, U. S. Army.

Capt. LEWIS RICHMOND, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* The sketch is taken from his report to the Committee en the Conduct of the War.

{p.89}

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No. 5.

Report of Capt. Daniel Messinger, Acting Aide-de-Camp

HEADQUARTERS GENERAL FOSTER’S BRIGADE, On Board Pilot Boy, off Roanoke Island, February 9, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that by order of Brigadier-General Foster, on the afternoon of February 6, Lieut. E. N. Strong, aide-de-camp, and myself went on board the gunboat Ranger to carry out his instructions. The troops on board the Ranger (the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Volunteers), with the exception of one company retained as a guard for the boat, and a detail from Company E to serve as gunners, were placed on the steamer New York and schooner Recruit. {p.90} We then, at 2 o’clock p.m., reported as ready for action to Captain Hazard, U. S. Navy, on steamer Picket.

At 9.30 the next morning a signal from the commodore was repeated to us from the Picket to get under way and follow the fleet into action. At 12.30 we opened fire with one 30-pounder Parrott gun on the battery at Pork Point, and lodged our first shell within the battery. We continued our fire with the Parrott gun and two 12-pounder Wiard guns whenever opportunity was afforded us by the position of the fleet until the order came from the commodore to cease firing at 0.30 p.m. We then had thrown 121 shells, many with effect.

In our endeavor to get within shorter range we ran aground, and thereby lost an hour. Although many of the enemy’s shells exploded near us, our vessel was not struck.

On the following day, just after we were ordered into action, we were signaled that the attack had been commenced by our land forces, and we were thus prevented from reopening our fire.

I respectfully call to your notice the zeal and efficiency of Lieutenant Eyre, of the Naval Brigade, under whose immediate direction the Parrott and Wiard guns were served on the gun-deck, and of Lieutenant Dennison, of the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Volunteers, who had command of the 12-pounder Wiard boat howitzer on the upper deck. I append the report of Lieutenant Eyre, with interesting memoranda as to the service of the guns, and remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

DANIEL MESSINGER, Acting Aide-de-Camp.

Capt. SOUTHARD HOFFMAN, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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No. 6.

Report of Lieut. C. Cushing Eyre, First New York Marine Artillery.

ROANOKE ISLAND, February 8, 1862.

I have the honor to report the working of the battery of the Ranger during the action at Pork Point Battery on February 7 and 8:

Commenced firing at 12.30 at the distance of 3 miles. As the vessel worked ahead we were several times obliged to wear ship, each time running nearer to the battery. During the afternoon the firing was more effective, owing to the vessel having been brought closer to the enemy’s position. During the latter part of the engagement the shell were thrown into the Point battery with accuracy.

Expended during the action, 3 Parrott shell, elevation 17 1/2° distance about 3 miles; 6 Parrott shell, elevation 15°, distance about 2 3/4 miles; 3 Parrott shell, elevation 16°, distance about 2 3/4 to 3 miles; 12 Parrott shell, elevation 12°, distance about 2 1/2 miles; 2 Parrott shell, elevation 13 1/2°, distance about 2 3/5 miles.

From Wiard’s 12-pounder, expended 20 shell and shot at an elevation of 15° to 17°, distance 2 3/4 miles; 38 shell and shot at an elevation of 8° to 12°, distance 2 1/2 miles.

About 3.30 p.m., being within range for the 12-pounder boat howitzer, commenced firing with it, and expended 45 shot and shell, very {p.91} few of them falling short. This gun was in charge of Lieutenant Dennison, Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Volunteers.

Respectfully,

C. CUSHING EYRE, First Lieutenant Marine Artillery.

Capt. DANIEL MESSINGER, Gunboat Ranger.

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No. 7.

Report of Lieut. James H. Strong, Aide-de-Camp.

HEADQUARTERS GENERAL FOSTER’S BRIGADE, Pilot Boy, February 10, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to General Foster’s orders, on the afternoon of February 6 I went on board the gunboat Hussar to carry out his instructions. The troops on the Hussar were distributed on board the Highlander, Skirmisher, and New Brunswick, with the exception of one company, detained on board as a guard for the ship and 18 men detailed for working the guns. At 7 p.m. we reported, as directed, to Captain Hazard, U. S. Navy, on board the Picket.

At 7 a.m., 8th instant, Captain Hazard came alongside and ordered us to follow the Pioneer on signal from Picket. This signal we received at 10 o’clock a.m., and as soon as the Pioneer got under way we followed closely. At 11 o’clock a.m. we received signal, “Prepare for action,” and shortly after, “Attack.” We made all ready; as soon as we were within range commenced firing at the battery at Pork Point with one 30-pounder Parrott and sometimes at the gunboats of the enemy when they ventured within range of our 6-pounder Wiard, until a signal from the commodore, “Cease firing,” at 6.30 p.m., when we anchored out of range of the battery.

The guns were served with coolness and accuracy by Lieutenant Hedden, of the Marine Artillery, but owing to our draught of water (9 feet 8 inches) we were unable to get as near the enemy as we wished.

Captain Alexander, of the Twenty-third Massachusetts Volunteers, and Mr. Ward, first officer of the Hussar, rendered very material assistance in serving the guns during the action.

I annex report of Lieutenant Hedden, which I requested him to send, in regard to the working of the guns, as it contains some interesting details.

I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES H. STRONG, Aide-de-Camp.

Capt. SOUTHARD HOFFMAN, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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No. 8.

Report of Lieut. James A. Hedden, First New York Marine Artillery.

GUNBOAT HUSSAR, Roanoke Island, February 10, 1862.

SIR: In answer to your request this morning I herewith inclose you a statement of the working of guns on board the gunboat Hussar at {p.92} the bombardment of Pork Point, Friday, February 7, 1862: 102 cap shell from two 30-pounder Parrotts; 82 percussion shell from two 30-pounder Parrotts; 52 shot from one 6-pounder Wiard; 6 percussion shell from one 6-pounder Wiard (fell short). The former had an elevation of from 8° to 10° at a distance of from 2 1/4 to 1 1/2 miles. A portion of the firing was directed to a rebel steamer which came under cover of battery but retired soon, evidently having a few shot through her. The Wiard gun (6-pounder) shot with great accuracy at a distance of 2 miles with as much elevation as we could give her, suppose about 11°. The first shot was fired from the Hussar at 11.45 a.m., and continued firing until a signal from the commodore, “Cease firing,” at 6.30 p.m., when we came to anchor out of range of their batteries.

JAMES A. HEDDEN, Lieutenant.

Lieut. JAMES H. STRONG.

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No. 9.

Report of Lieut. James M. Pendleton, Aide-de-Camp.

HEADQUARTERS GENERAL FOSTER’S BRIGADE, Roanoke Island, February 10, 1862.

I have the honor to report that on Thursday, 6th instant, in obedience to orders from General Foster, I went on board the steamer Vedette, to carry out his instructions. I found the vessel armed with one 30-pounder Parrott gun and one 12-pounder Wiard gun, with ammunition, and three companies of the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers, Colonel Stevenson. I transferred two companies to the steamer Guide, Company F, Captain Pratt, remaining on board, and reported to Captain Hazard at 1.30 p.m. The next morning (Friday), at 7 o’clock a.m., Captain Hazard, U. S. Navy, gave orders to follow the propeller Ranger at a signal from the Picket. At 10 a.m. the signal to start was given, when we followed in the wake of the Ranger. At 11.30 prepared for action, and followed the fleet to within about 2 miles of Pork Point Battery. At 12 m. opened fire from the 30-pounder Parrott gun upon the enemy’s gunboats. On their retiring and our coming within easy range of Pork Point Battery we fired also from the 12-pounder Wiard gun with accuracy.

By continual sounding we approached the batteries as near as the draught of the vessel would allow, and kept up the fire as often as good aim could be obtained.

At 6.20 p.m. the signal, “Cease fire,” was given from the Southfield, when we anchored beyond the reach of the enemy’s guns, disappointed at not being able to run nearer the fort. The 30-pounder Parrott gun was well served by Lieutenant Baxter, of the Marine Artillery, not firing except with good aim. The 12-pounder Wiard was faithfully served by Corporal Gilford, of the -.

Accompanying I have the honor to forward some details of the working of the 30-pounder Parrott gun, drawn up at my request by Lieutenant Baxter.*

I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. M. PENDLETON, Aide-de-Camp

Capt. SOUTHARD HOFFMAN, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Omitted as of no present importance.

{p.93}

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No. 10.

Report of Lieut. Col. Albert W. Drake, Tenth Connecticut Infantry.

HDQRS. TENTH REGIMENT CONNECTICUT VOLS., U. S. Steamer New Brunswick, February 11, 1862.

SIR: In obedience to orders of Brigadier-General Foster I beg leave to report the part taken by the Tenth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers in the action of Roanoke Island, February 8, 1862:

The regiment was landed in three detachments during the afternoon, and bivouacked that night near Hammond’s house. The next morning at about 7 o’clock the regiment was ordered to fall in, and shortly after moved with the remainder of the First Brigade up the island. We had marched but a short distance before the sound of sharp firing in advance told us that the action had commenced. Arriving on the field the regiment was ordered to form line and commence firing on the enemy, but owing to the dense bushes on our right and the exceedingly swampy nature of the ground there was room only for the right wing to move forward into position. The left wing was held in reserve a short distance in their rear. Firing was immediately commenced by the right wing and was maintained with much steadiness and constancy.

Near the close of the action Colonel Russell was killed. I immediately assumed command, and after the enemy had left the battery formed the regiment, and taking our position on the left of the brigade followed in pursuit. After proceeding up the road some 4 miles I was ordered by General Burnside to march the regiment in rear of the Fourth Rhode Island Volunteers to Pork Point Battery, where we arrived late in the afternoon and found it abandoned. I bivouacked the regiment near the fort until the morning of the 10th, when, in obedience to orders from General Foster, I marched the regiment to the upper end of the island, whence it was transferred to its old quarters on board the steamer New Brunswick.

Before closing this report I feel it my duty to say a word in commendation of the behavior of the officers and men of the regiment during the action and to speak of the noble manner in which they all performed their duty. Captains Pardee, Coit, Leggett, and Jepson, who were in the right wing and hottest of the fire, with their lieutenants, showed great coolness and courage, and merit the highest commendation. Captains Leggett and Jepson were wounded.

Appended is a list of our killed and wounded.*

Yours, very respectfully,

ALBERT W. DRAKE, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Tenth Regt. Conn. Vols.

Capt. SOUTHARD HOFFMAN, Asst. Adjt. Gen., First Brigade, Dept. North Carolina.

* Embodied in statement on p. 85.

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No. 11.

Report of Col. John Kurtz, Twenty-third Massachusetts Infantry.

HDQRS. TWENTY-THIRD MASSACHUSETTS VOLUNTEERS, Camp Foster, Roanoke island, N. C., February 9, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to General Foster’s orders, my regiment, at daybreak on the morning of Saturday last, followed {p.94} the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts from the ground upon which we bivouacked the night before up the main road of this island. At 8.15 o’clock we arrived at a crotch of the road, and found General Foster, with the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts, already engaged with the rebels at a breastwork which they had thrown across the road in a well-chosen position. I was ordered and formed my regiment in column by division in rear of the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts. I subsequently received an order to march by a flank across the fire of the enemy and through an almost impenetrable swamp and turn his flank, and after an effort of two and a half hours of the most fatiguing and laborious exertion I succeeded in getting four companies into position to rake the left flank of the enemy’s lines behind his work. My men introduced themselves to his notice by opening a brisk fusillade, which he did not condescend to return, but immediately commenced to retreat, when the whole line of our troops made a charge which made him accelerate his pace toward his other strongholds, and we took possession of the work.

I cannot speak with too much praise of the conduct of the officers and men of my command for their indomitable perseverance in forcing through the swamp. The undergrowth was a thick bush, entwined by a strong brier, which caused it to close immediately upon the disappearance of a man through it. The water and mud all the way was above the knees of the men, several of whom I saw waist-deep in the mire, and taking into consideration the fact that this was the first time nearly all of them had been under fire, I cannot speak two highly of their conduct, individually and collectively.

After a rest of about half an hour we were ordered to follow the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, which had just arrived, and pursue the retreating rebels, and after a march of 5 or 6 miles we entered the encampment or winter quarters of the rebels, and found they had surrendered to General Foster, and we were ordered to take up our quarters there with the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts and disarm and guard the prisoners, some 1,900 officers and men, with their arms, equipments, ammunition, and ordnance, quartermaster and commissary stores.

Very respectfully,

JOHN KURTZ, Colonel, Commanding Twenty-third Massachusetts.

Captain HOFFMAN, Assistant Adjutant-General, First Brigade, Coast Division.

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No. 12.

Report of Col. Thomas G. Stevenson, Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry.

The steamer Admiral, with the Twenty-fourth Regiment on board, having got aground on the afternoon of 7th February, the regiment was not landed until the morning of the 8th. At 7 o’clock in the morning the steamers Union and Eagle came alongside the Admiral and took the troops on board. Two companies-A, Captain Redding, and B, Captain Hooper-were put on board the Eagle, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Osborn, and seven companies en the Union, under command of myself. Company C, Captain Pratt, had been detailed for service on board the gunboat Vedette, where it remained during the action. The Union landed the troops on board at the same place that {p.95} troops had been landed the night previous, and about 2 miles below where the action was taking place. After landing I was ordered by General Burnside to advance as rapidly as possible. I accordingly marched the regiment forward, but unfortunately arrived after the battery had been carried. On arriving at the captured fort I reported to General Foster, who ordered us to the front to follow up the enemy.

After marching some distance we met the Fifty-first New York and continued with them until we were halted at the sand hills. From this point we were ordered forward alone to take what prisoners we could, as many were reported to be leaving in small boats. We were accompanied by General Foster. After marching about 3 miles we were met by a flag of truce from the enemy, proposing a suspension of hostilities until the following morning. The reply was given by General Foster, “Unconditional surrender,” and time enough given to return to their camp and send back an answer. Major Stevenson, of the Twenty-fourth, was ordered to return with the flag and bring back the reply. After some time he returned with the answer that they surrendered. I was then ordered by General Foster to advance and take possession of their camp. On the way Company H, Captain Daland, and Company B, Captain Austin, were detached and ordered to proceed along the shore and stop any boats that might be leaving with rebels, the remaining five companies numbering about 300 men, and entered their camp, where Colonel Shaw, commanding, delivered up his sword to General Foster, who ordered me to take command. I then ordered the prisoners to be mustered and their arms to be taken possession of All the muskets were then placed in the quartermaster’s building and a guard put over them. While this was being done Private Sanborn, Company K, was wounded in the arm by the accidental discharge of one of the muskets. The officers were allowed to retain their side-arms by order of General Foster. The prisoners were then placed in quarters and a large guard placed over them.

Company B returned from their scouting, having fired upon and brought to a boat containing 10 rebels, including 3 officers. Company H also returned, having captured two boats containing 9 men and 2 officers. They also brought in about 150 prisoners captured in the woods and on the shore. The regiment was joined during the evening by the two companies under Lieutenant-Colonel Osborn. They had been employed in bringing ammunition forward from the landing.

THOS. G. STEVENSON, Colonel Twenty-fourth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers.

SOUTHARD HOFFMAN, Assistant Adjutant-General, First Brigade.

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No. 13.

Report of Col. Edwin Upton, Twenty-fifth Massachusetts infantry.

HDQRS. TWENTY-FIFTH MASSACHUSETTS REGIMENT, Camp on Roanoke Island, February 10, 1862.

SIR: At about daybreak on the morning of Saturday, the 8th instant, by order of Brigadier-General Foster, my regiment left the bivouac it had occupied the night previous at Hammond’s house, and advanced, accompanied by General Foster, in its position on the right of his brigade. {p.96} Arriving at the ford about one-half mile from Hammond’s house, the advance was fired upon by the enemy’s pickets. I was immediately ordered by General Foster to throw forward skirmishers, and ordered Company A, Capt. Josiah Pickett, to deploy, supported by Company E, Capt. Thomas O’Neil. The enemy’s fire was returned, and his pickets retired rapidly to and down the main road, followed by the skirmishers. Advancing to about a mile from the ford, they reported having discovered the enemy in position, apparently about 2,000 strong. General Foster at once ordered me to form the regiment in line of battle across the road, the right resting on a clearing commanded by the guns of the enemy, the left extending into the woods and thicket. Fire was opened by both parties, our artillery shortly after getting into position, supported by the right wing of my regiment. I was ordered to and did press steadily forward, bringing our line within about 300 yards of the enemy’s battery. Fire was kept up by us without intermission for about three hours until about 10.30 o’clock a.m., when, our ammunition being exhausted, I was ordered to form in column by company in rear of our right, which was done in good order. The men rested on their arms, waiting for a fresh supply of ammunition until, the enemy having left his work, I was ordered to advance in company with the remainder of General Foster’s brigade. Arriving at the upper end of the island, I was ordered by General Foster to quarter in this camp, then in possession of the Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Regiments.

Appended is a list of killed and wounded, amounting to 6 killed and 42 wounded.* I would express my great satisfaction with the conduct of the regiment, both officers and men. It was throughout the engagement of the bravest kind, standing as they did for hours in water to their knees and waists, exposed to an incessant fire of musketry, grape, and shell, with no disposition on the part of any man to waver. The skirmishing of Company A, Capt. Josiah Pickett, was performed xi a manner that would have done credit to regulars. I can but express my particular satisfaction with the manner in which Lieutenant-Colonel Sprague, Major McCafferty, and Adjutant Harkness performed the duties devolving upon them and the support rendered me by them throughout the engagement.

I am, sir, yours, very respectfully,

EDWIN UPTON, Colonel, Commanding Twenty-fifth Regiment Mass. Vols.

Capt. SOUTHARD HOFFMAN, Assistant Adjutant-General, First Brigade.

* But see revised statement on p. 85.

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No. 14.

Report of Col. Horace C. Lee, Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Infantry.

HDQRS. TWENTY-SEVENTH REGIMENT MASS. VOLS., In Camp at Dough’s Farm, February 10, 1862.

SIR: I would respectfully report the movements of the regiment under my command at the engagement February 8:

We had but nine companies engaged, Company D having been detailed {p.97} to serve on board the Ranger. Three of my captains were sick and left on the Recruit. Upon arriving at the scene of action we immediately, by order, filed to the right of the road into the swamp, and formed in line in rear of the Twenty-third. We soon commenced moving to the front and across to the left, firing as we could get an opportunity. As soon as we were uncovered by the Twenty-third, or partially so, being then directly in front of the enemy, we commenced firing. We here met with all the loss sustained. Upon reaching the cover of the woods, finding that we could only fire by company on account of the Twenty:third being partly in front and the Tenth Connecticut partially covering our rear and firing, we formed in that manner, marching out in succession, firing deliberately, then retiring. We were in this manner evidently doing good execution, when orders were received to push on and flank the enemy upon their left. This, on account of the dense undergrowth of vines and bushes, the water and mud being also much deeper, was extremely difficult, and our progress consequently slow. Before we could possibly get through we heard the cheering, and soon learned that the rebels had retreated. After the engagement we, as ordered, followed up the road as rapidly as possible to the rebel encampment. Finding that they had surrendered and were under guard, we encamped on Dough’s farm, near there, and now await further orders. I cannot speak in too strong terms of the good conduct of both officers and men. With scarcely an exception they behaved with the utmost coolness and bravery. Lieutenant Fowler had his sword and sheath deeply indented by a grape shot. Lieutenant Goodale had his sword knocked from his hands and bent nearly double by a ball.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. C. LEE, Colonel, Comdg. Twenty-seventh Regiment Mass. Vols.

Brig. Gen. J. G. FOSTER.

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No. 15.

Report of Brig. Gen. Jesse L. Reno, U. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade.

HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE, LATE CAMP 31ST N. C. REGT., NOW CAMP BURNSIDE, February 10, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that in compliance with orders from General Burnside I embarked the Twenty-first Massachusetts Regiment and eight companies of the Fifty-first Regiment New York Volunteers upon light-draught steamboats and proceeded toward Ashby’s Harbor. General Burnside coming up, ordered me to wait until the boat howitzers, then being rowed towards my vessels, should arrive. While waiting, General Foster, with a portion of his command, passed ahead. As soon as the howitzers arrived they were taken in tow, preceded by the gunboats Picket and Delaware, and under cover of their fire we effected a landing, no resistance being offered. General Foster first reached the shore, then my command, followed immediately by General Parke’s, and within twenty minutes over 4,000 men were landed. I immediately dispatched Captain Neill, assistant adjutant-general, to land the Ninth New Jersey and Fifty-first Pennsylvania all of whom were landed before 9 o’clock p.m. The general commanding {p.98} passed me as I was landing, and having given direction to secure and hold the position, returned to the fleet, leaving me in command, General Foster having returned to bring up the rest of his brigade. I sent the Twenty-first Massachusetts Volunteers to occupy the road and woods in front, General Parke having previously sent out skirmishers to hold the woods on the right and left.

General Foster having returned, he, General Parke, and myself proceeded to the front of our lines and made as careful a reconnaissance as circumstances would allow. In accordance with the plan, previously adopted in council and ordered by the general commanding, General Foster proceeded at daylight with his brigade, and about 8 o’clock met and engaged the enemy. I followed with my brigade in the following order: The Twenty-first Massachusetts, Fifty-first New York, Ninth New Jersey, and Fifty-first Pennsylvania. As the road was very narrow and the woods and swamp on each side almost impenetrable, we proceeded but slowly, General Foster’s brigade occupying the road. Finding it impossible to proceed directly to the front, I sent Lieutenant Morris, my aide, to inform General Foster that I would endeavor to penetrate the woods and swamp, and thus turn their right. General Foster having approved the plan, I proceeded at the head of the Twenty-first Massachusetts Volunteers toward the enemy’s right. We were soon hotly engaged, but without stopping I kept moving my flank toward the left, but owing to the depth of water and dense underbrush we could make only slow progress. Finally, after the lapse of about two hours, we succeeded in turning their right. I then ordered a charge, which was most gallantly executed by the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Fifty-first New York, and Ninth New Jersey. The Fifty-first Pennsylvania, owing to their position in the rear, could not get up in time to participate, but they would have been in position in a very short time. Fortunately our charge was successful and the enemy fled precipitately. The honor of first entering the fort is divided between the Fifty-first New York and the Twenty-first Massachusetts, but all charged gallantly, and it was owing only to their position being nearer the fort that enabled them to reach it first. During the engagement, which lasted about four hours, General Foster’s brigade most gallantly attacked them in the front, and General Parke was in the act of turning their left when my brigade charged and carried the battery.

During the engagement I proceeded to General Foster’s position in front of his brigade, and meeting General Parke, the final plan of the assault was made. From the beginning of the attack until the battery was taken not a regiment or company retired or faltered, but advanced as rapidly as water waist deep and the thick and almost impenetrable underbrush would permit. Within fifteen minutes after the assault I formed my brigade and started in pursuit, the Twenty-first Massachusetts being in advance, followed by the Fifty-first New York, Ninth New Jersey and Fifty-first Pennsylvania. Colonel Hawkins’ regiment (Ninth New York) for some distance accompanied the head of my column, occupying the right. On coming to a road that led to the right I sent my aide, Lieutenant Reno, to direct the Ninth New York to follow it and endeavor to capture those of the enemy that were attempting to escape in small boats. Some 24 wounded prisoners were thus captured, and among others Capt. O. Jennings Wise, who had been mortally wounded. By advancing rapidly we captured a large number of stragglers.

Upon arriving within about a mile of their advanced position I learned from the prisoners that there were some 2,500 of the enemy in advance, and as the Twenty-first Massachusetts was some distance in {p.99} advance I halted them and sent back one of my aides to hasten up the rest of my brigade. While awaiting their arrival General Foster came up and passed on with the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, my brigade following immediately. Captain Bradford, commanding Company E, Twenty-first Massachusetts, being in advance, came upon a large body of troops, whom he immediately ordered to lay down their arms, but they opened fire upon him, which he returned, killing 4 of them. The rest then fled precipitately. Immediately after a flag of truce was sent up, and General Foster being in advance, Lieutenant Hovey accompanied it, and an unconditional surrender was made to him. In the mean time I came up, and proceeded immediately to the barracks of the Thirty-first North Carolina Regiment, commanded by Colonel Jordan, who surrendered his entire command. Their arms having been secured, I assigned the prisoners to a portion of the barracks and occupied the remainder with my brigade.

As the command behaved with distinguished gallantry I cannot in justice to the others particularize individuals, but I beg leave to refer you to the accompanying reports of the regimental commanders for the particulars, all of which I most heartily indorse. Lieutenant-Colonel Maggi commanded and led the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Colonel Ferrero the Fifty-first New York, Lieutenant-Colonel Heckman the Ninth New Jersey, and Colonel Hartranft the Fifty-first Pennsylvania. Lieutenant-Colonel Maggi’s regiment captured the flag of the fort and raised the first colors (the regimental flag). The Fifty-first New York raised the national flag on the parapet. Lieutenant-Colonel Potter, of the Fifty-first New York, led the three companies of his regiment that first entered the fort and was one of the first in. Captain Neill, assistant adjutant-general, Lieutenant Reno and Lieutenant Morris, my aides, and Lieutenant Marsh, of the Signal Corps, rendered me valuable assistance in carrying orders through the thickest of the fight and in directing the various regiments to their positions. In my brigade the total number killed was 16 and 64 wounded.* The regimental reports give the full particulars concerning the killed and wounded. Captain Henry, Company H, Ninth New Jersey, was killed whilst gallantly leading his company. Captain Foster, Company D, Twenty-first Massachusetts, was severely but not dangerously wounded, and Lieutenant Stearns, adjutant of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, was hit twice in the head and neck, but fortunately the wounds were slight, and he remained, his face covered with blood, with his colonel at the head of the regiment during the whole day. Captain Ritchie, assistant commissary of the brigade, was detailed by me on the 7th instant to go on board the Pioneer and join the naval attack. He gallantly directed the vessel to the thickest of the fight. I beg leave to refer to his report for the particulars. Captain Nichols, of the Naval Brigade, took direction of the Lancer, the other gunboat belonging to the brigade, and participated in the naval attack. Two companies of the Fifty-first New York were on board the gunboats. I have had no report from them, but I have heard that no casualties occurred.

Inclosed I send a list of the prisoners now in my camp.** The list is not complete, but it is all that I have had time to obtain. The names of 30 officers and 493 men are given.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. L. RENO, Brigadier-General, Second Brigade, Burnside’s Division.

Capt. LEWIS RICHMOND, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* But see revised statement, p. 85.

** Omitted.

{p.100}

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No. 16.

Report of Capt. Montgomery Ritchie, Aide-de-Camp.

ON BOARD PROPELLER GUNBOAT PIONEER, February 7, 1862.

SIR: On the 6th instant, in obedience to the orders of General Reno, I proceeded on board and took command of this vessel. At 8.30 a.m. this day got under way and cleared the ship for action. The action became general at 12.30 p.m. between the rebel gunboats, their redoubt on the central part of Roanoke, and the fleet. Opened fire from our 30-pounder Parrott at 25 minutes to 1 p.m., and from the Wiard gun at 10 minutes to 1 o’clock. Owing to her draught of water, though we ran her aground, it was impracticable to approach as near as desirable. We maintained fire during the day until after 5 p.m., expending 95 rounds of ammunition. Captain Baker, of the Pioneer, placed his vessel skillfully in position. The Parrott gun, under command of Lieut. F. W. Tryon, Fifty-first New York Volunteers, and the Wiard gun (12-pounder), under Mr. Griffith, first mate, deserve honorable mention for the manner in which their guns were handled.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

M. RITCHIE, Captain, Aide of General Reno, Second Brigade.

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No. 17.

Report of Lieut. Col. Alberto C. Maggi, Twenty-first Massachusetts Infantry.

HDQRS. TWENTY-FIRST REGIMENT MASS. VOLS., Roanoke Island, February 9, 1862.

GENERAL: Friday, the 7th, at 5 p.m., my regiment disembarked. I formed the line rapidly and in good order. Then General Parke came in your name and asked from my regiment a company of skirmishers, in order to go in advance to explore the road which from the place of disembarkation was crossing the woods toward our right side. I gave to him Company D, 90 men strong, commanded by Capt. T. S. Foster. Afterward you came and gave me the order to go to the cross-road and take possession of all that ground, placing my pickets for the night in order to cover the main body. I did so, placing a section of artillery at the cross-road, supported by Company C, and throwing to right and left from water to water two other companies in small pickets, covered by sentries at a distance of 15 paces each, and placing the rest of the regiment at the end of the wood as supports.

During this march the head of the advance guard was fired upon by the advance pickets of the enemy and one of our men wounded. We brought him back. It now being quite dark, the advance guard was called in and one man was found missing. He returned the following day. I had already detailed two sections as a scouting party, who would have relieved each other during the night, in order to explore the ground in front of the pickets and advance as far as possible without giving the alarm, in order to discover the position of the enemy, {p.101} but at that time you, general, and General Foster, came and gave me the order to change the position of the pickets, concentrating them on the road and place them to the front. I did so. Six companies were in front, with two pieces of artillery, with a prolongation of picket in the two roads which opened through the woods at an angle of about 60°. The other four companies, with the three pieces of artillery, were to the rear precisely at the other cross-road, which lay 500 yards behind the first. Those companies had pickets right and left, but with the order to do no firing to the front and in case of an attack to act as support, we stood all night without fire, it raining all the time. None of the men slept, and every half hour I made the companies fall in in the greatest silence. All officers and men of the regiment, without exception, comported themselves with remarkable patience and endurance during the twelve hours of darkness and raining. Not a word of grumbling, not an expression of weariness.

At 6.30, after a small scouting party which I sent a little beyond my pickets returned, I permitted my men to light fires, in order to dry themselves as much as possible. At 7 o’clock an aide of General Foster came and ordered me to allow the First Brigade to pass through my line of pickets. The brigade came half an hour after, headed by the general himself, in the following order: Twenty-fifth Massachusetts, Twenty-third Massachusetts, Twenty-seventh Massachusetts, Fifth Battalion Rhode Island, and Tenth Connecticut. My regiment was in line, and immediately upon your arrival we followed them. We arrived in time. Following your order to defile through swamp and water to the rear and left of the Twenty-fifth and then halting, I took the two flank companies, D and G, armed with Harper’s Ferry rifles and saber bayonets, and having assured myself of the position of the battery of the enemy and by the different shot of their guns of the extension of the ground which they could sweep toward our left (their right), I ordered the two companies to jump into a deep swamp, and commanded them to open fire by file, marching slowly front and toward the left. I forbade those two companies to waste any ammunition, but to aim and fire only when they were perfectly sure of their aim.

We had soon in front the infantry of the enemy, which supported the right flank of the battery. It was then that the fire began to be really hot, and I had many men put hors de combat. Among those, I regret to say, Capt. T. S. Foster was shot by a bullet through the left leg. But we steadily kept up the firing for more than two hours, advancing toward the front and left at the same time. At such a moment, the Twenty-fifth Regiment having changed their position, two of my companies joined my line, and a few minutes after all the rest of the battalion proceeded by my order, guided by Major Clark. I was at, that moment at the edge of the swamp, and in front of me was an exposed ground of 100 yards.

The regiment once in line, I commanded a general fire. After the charge for all that distance the men lay down and loaded, covered by a small natural elevation. During that march we suffered four or five minutes a very thick fire and lost 15 men, but it was the last of the enemy. The battery was already flanked. You came and said to me, “Charge and take it.” We did so. At our left flank were three companies of the Fifty-first New York. Our State color was the first on the battery; afterward the flag of the Fifty-first New York; then, immediately after, our regimental flag. One of our men captured a rebel flag with the motto, “Aut vincere aut mori.” After a few moments of joy, by your order I put again the regiment in line in the road behind {p.102} the battery, and first led by you we proceeded toward Camp Georgia.

Company E, of my regiment, which was in advance, found the enemy retreating. They turned and fired, but soon were repulsed with loss of 3 dead and some wounded. They sent a flag of truce and surrendered.

I am glad to say that I never saw better behavior by any soldiers, young or veterans, and I do not believe it was possible in such a ground-if a continual swamp and ponds of water can be so called-that any one could have surpassed the brilliant and gallant conduct of all my command. I would mention the names of those officers who have distinguished themselves, but I would be obliged to send you the names of all, from the major to the last second lieutenant, as every one of them deserves it. Nevertheless, I shall name two, not because they have been braver than the others, but because both by force of circumstances have been obliged to stand a longer time in the most dangerous position than any other. They are Capt. T. S. Foster, who followed me, leading his company, and my adjutant, F. A. Stearns, who has been during all the fight cool and bravely at my side from the beginning to the end. And also I would call your attention to the faithful services of Surgeons Cutter and Warren and the chaplain, who bravely followed the troops through the fight to bear back the dead and wounded. All our wounded were conveyed at once to the hospital and our dead immediately buried. Both Capt. T. S. Foster and Adjt. F. A. Stearns have been wounded, the first, as I said, by a bullet in the left leg, and the second slightly in the right temple and in the neck. I send you annexed the list of killed and wounded.*

I have the honor to be, your obedient subordinate,

A. C. MAGGI, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding.

Brigadier-General RENO, Commanding Second Brigade, Burnside’s Division.

* Embodied in statement on p. 85.

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No. 18.

Report of Lieut. Col. Charles A. Heckman, Ninth New Jersey Infantry.

HDQRS. NINTH REGIMENT NEW JERSEY VOLS., February 9, 1862.

I hereby respectfully report that the regiment which I command took its position in the brigade about 7 a.m. When we had approached near the field of action we passed, by order of Lieutenant Reno, the Fifty-first Regiment New York Volunteers, and when we had arrived on their right we were met by General Foster, and were ordered by him to enter the swamp to the left by company front. However, finding that our fire would be more effective, I formed them by division. At 9.30 a.m. the first division commenced an oblique fire upon the battery, and the fire was continued until 11.15 a.m. by the successive divisions, when, the fire of the enemy slackening, I ordered the regiment to charge, and in company with the Twenty-first Massachusetts Volunteers we entered the battery.

The officers and men of the regiment conducted themselves with courage and coolness, and I am perfectly satisfied with them. The {p.103} ground was very swampy, and for most of the time the men were up to their waists in water, though, notwithstanding these discouraging circumstances, they behaved themselves admirably.

There are 35 men missing from the regiment.

C. A. HECKMAN, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding.

Capt. E. M. NEILL, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Second Brigade, Dept. of North Carolina.

P. S.-All the missing have returned except 14, most of whom probably will.

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No. 19.

Report of Col. Edward Ferrero, Fifty-first New York Infantry.

I beg leave to submit the following as the report of the Fifty-first Regiment New York Volunteers at the battle of the 8th of February, 1862, on Roanoke Island, N. C.:

I received an order from General Reno on the morning of Saturday, the 8th of February, 1862, at about 7.30 o’clock a.m., to form line on the right of the Second Brigade. The regiment started about 8 a.m. in rear of the First Brigade. After having marched a distance of about half a mile we met three companies of the Twenty-first Massachusetts Regiment. I halted my column and allowed them to take their position. Following them on the main road up the island and marching a distance of about half a mile, I received an order from General Reno to force our way through a dense jungle in the direction of the fighting. On arriving near the rear of the Twenty-first Massachusetts received an order to advance and take position on their left. Finding the swamp almost impassable, owing to the dense growth of underbrush on the right of my line, I ordered the four companies of the right wing, viz, A, G, D, and I, to push forward toward the left, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Potter. Said companies advanced and entered the fire on the left of the Twenty-first Massachusetts. During the engagement of the above companies in said position the firing was very galling, but the men and officers replied to it with great vigor. I ordered the companies of the left wing to push forward toward the right. Finding it impossible to engage the enemy on account of the Twenty-first Massachusetts being in front, I ordered the men to lie down to avoid the shower of bullets from our own troops as well as those from the enemy.

The enemy, finding that they were outflanked, commenced to retreat, when the order was given by General Reno to charge. The right wing charged, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Potter, while I led the left wing. Having advanced a few paces in front of the Ninth New Jersey and the Ninth New York, I feared that their fire would be directed into our ranks, so I halted my men and ordered the signal for cease firing to be sounded by our bugler, which was understood by all the troops in the vicinity. At that moment the cry came to charge, when all charged together, my right wing arriving at the fort first. Captain Wright, of Company A, color company, arrived first with his company, and planted the American flag upon the ramparts in advance of any other regiment. Captain Sims, of Company G, and Captain {p.104} Johnson, of Company I, took possession of the guns of the fort. I led the left wing down the main road, followed by the Ninth New York, crossed the moat, and halted inside of the fort. On arriving inside of the fort Lieutenant Springweiler, of Company K, brought me a wounded officer, who was a lieutenant in the Wise Legion of Virginia, who was found lying a short distance off.

After remaining in the fort about fifteen minutes I rallied the men, formed line, and started up the main road in pursuit of the enemy. On arriving at the end of the island I found that two boat loads of the enemy had escaped, but one had been captured, containing O. Jennings Wise, severely wounded, and four others, who were all in charge of the Ninth New York. The four prisoners were transferred to my charge, and I left them in a house which was guarded by our troops. Ascertaining that General Reno had advanced across the island to the left I immediately followed, and arrived in time to receive an order from him to place a chain of sentinels to encircle the grounds and barracks of the captured enemy, which was executed, and remained upon duty until relieved by the Ninth New Jersey.

The men and officers under my command behaved with a coolness that was really surprising for men who were under fire for their first time. On Sunday morning, the 9th, I received an order to detail a company to plant the American flag on one of the captured forts on the sea-shore.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

EDW. FERRERO, Colonel Fifty-first Regiment New York Volunteers.

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No. 20.

Report of Col. John F. Hartranft, Fifty-first Pennsylvania Infantry.

HDQRS. FIFTY-FIRST PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEERS, Camp Jordan, Roanoke Island, N. C., February 9, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that in accordance with orders I yesterday marched my regiment onto the field in rear of the Ninth New Jersey Volunteers. I was ordered by Lieutenant Morris to take my regiment to the extreme left, about 200 yards beyond the temporary hospital. On arriving at the proper place I filed them to the left through the swamp. On account of the depth of water and the extreme thickness of the underbrush I was obliged to conduct them in single file. When two companies had entered, finding it impossible to advance, I returned in person to the road, and I was there ordered to leave two companies already in the morass where they were, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Bell, with orders to held the position he was then in until further orders. I proceeded with the eight companies to the fight. I was ordered to follow in rear of the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Volunteers. In passing to the right we were all very much impeded by the underbrush and water, that reached to our middle. By taking a shorter route I succeeded in coming up side by side with the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Volunteers. Before any of us succeeded in reaching to cleared ground the battery was taken.

Soon after leaving my first position Colonel Bell received an order to bring his companies toward the main road. Receiving no orders, {p.105} he marched his companies to the front and joined the companies I was bringing out of the morass. As soon as I could get five of my companies together I moved them forward, leaving orders for the remainder to follow under command of the major. The five companies that were thus left behind were ordered to garrison the battery and are still there.

As far as I have learned, but one man, a private of Company B, has been wounded.

I have every reason to be most pleased with the coolness and bravery of all my officers, and with the patience, bravery, and ready obedience upon the part of my men.

I have two men missing.

I have the honor, general, to be, very respectfully, yours,

J. F. HARTRANFT, Colonel, Comdg. Fifty-first Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.

Brig. Gen. J. L. RENO.

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No. 21.

Report of Brig. Gen. John G. Parke, U. S. Army, commanding Third Brigade.

HDQRS. THIRD BRIGADE, DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, Pork Point Battery, Roanoke Island, February 9, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Third Brigade during the 7th and 8th instant from the moment the signal for landing was displayed:

The brigade is composed of the Fourth Rhode Island, Ninth New York, and Eighth Connecticut Regiments and a battalion of the Fifth Rhode Island Regiment. On the signal being given one wing of the Fourth Rhode Island Regiment was transferred to the light-draught steamer Phoenix, and all the surf-boats, life-boats, and ships’ boats belonging to the transports of my brigade filled with men from the Eighth Connecticut and Fifth Rhode Island Regiments, and attached in tow of the steamer. We then proceeded toward the shore as rapidly as safety to the small boats would permit. The steamer was run into the marsh between the steamers of Generals Foster and Reno, and the men immediately sprang into the marsh and were led by their respective commanders out to the firm ground, and there formed in line in the field to the left of Hammond’s house. Capt. John N. King, brigade quartermaster, and Lieut. M. A. Hill, aide-de-camp, returned to the transports to superintend the landing of the balance of the brigade.

Orders were then given to the colonels of the Fourth Rhode Island and the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts and Tenth Connecticut Regiments of the First Brigade to send out a force to occupy the woods surrounding the landing place with a continuous line of skirmishers. The commanding general soon appeared on the field, and I reported in person the disposition I had made of the force then on the ground. Brigadier-General Reno came up immediately after and assumed command of the portions of the three brigades then landed. My entire brigade was landed before 11 o’clock p.m. The men bivouacked on their arms.

Soon after daylight on the 8th instant I received orders from General Foster to have my command ready to support his and General Reno’s {p.106} brigades and follow along the road leading through the middle of the island, and to send four companies to occupy Ashby’s house, below our camp and on the right of the road. The First Battalion Fifth Rhode Island Regiment was detailed for this latter duty. Firing was heard in our front, and it was soon evident that General Foster had engaged the enemy. Before my brigade could advance on the road, it being still occupied by General Reno I received orders from the general commanding to detach a regiment and hold the landing and bivouac grounds, and prevent the enemy from turning our position by coming through the timber down the beach. The Eighth Connecticut Regiment was detailed for this duty. Before leaving the bivouac the major commanding the First Battalion Fifth Rhode Island Regiment reported Ashby’s house and premises occupied by the enemy. I ordered him to throw out skirmishers and hold his position, and if attacked he would be supported. As soon as the last of General Reno’s brigade were under way I followed with the Fourth Rhode Island and Ninth New York Regiments.

On reaching the battle-field I found General Foster occupying the road on the edge of the clearing in front of the enemy’s battery, and General Reno, with his brigade on the left, endeavoring to turn the enemy’s right. The troops of both brigades were exposed to a steady fire from the battery and musketry, but were nevertheless hotly engaging the enemy and gradually gaining upon his flanks. General Foster ordered me to support a portion of his force on his right who were endeavoring to turn the enemy’s battery.

The Fourth Rhode Island Regiment, on reaching the boat howitzers, which were in position in the road in the edge of the clearing, bore off slightly to the right, and, exposed to the fire of the enemy’s battery and a continuous fire of musketry, were gallantly led by the colonel commanding, I. P. Rodman, and yourself through the clearing, and closing upon the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Regiment, they encountered an almost impenetrable cypress swamp, through which they worked their way with great difficulty. The Ninth New York Regiment, arriving on the ground, was ordered to follow the Fourth Rhode Island Regiment and turn the left flank of the battery. The regiment, under lead of the colonel, Rush C. Hawkins, entered the clearing with great spirit.

It being now ascertained that the natural obstacles on this line were of so serious a character, and that the delay in the progress of the troops through the swamps was so great, it was decided to change the course of the Ninth New York Regiment, and the order was sent to the colonel to turn to the left and charge the battery directly up the road, and the regiment, with a hearty yell and cheer, struck into the road and made for the battery on the run. “The order was given to charge the enemy with fixed bayonets. This was done in gallant style, Major Kimball taking the lead.” The major was very conspicuous during the movement, and I take great pleasure in commending him to your favorable notice. Before reaching the intrenchment the enemy retreated through the timber in great confusion, abandoning their guns, ammunition, and private property.

General Reno started immediately in pursuit, and as soon as the Ninth New York Regiment were reformed they were ordered forward and succeeded in taking “some 40 prisoners. Among them were several of the officers and men of the Richmond Blues, with O. Jennings Wise at their head, who was badly wounded and trying to make his escape in a boat across to Nag’s Head.”

As soon as the Fourth Rhode Island Regiment was reformed I proceeded {p.107} with it up to the support of General Reno until he sent me word that he required no more regiments. The commanding general then ordered me to proceed with the Fourth Rhode Island and Tenth Connecticut Regiments, with a boat howitzer, to take Pork Point Battery. A guide being furnished me, we left the main road, and following along a narrow cross-road about a mile, we entered the battery and found that it had been but a short time evacuated, the garrison having retreated up the beach to the northern end of the island. The armament consisted of eight 32-pounder smooth-bore and one 32-pounder rifled gun. They were all spiked and the carriages seriously damaged.

From papers found in the quarters the battery is called Fort Bartow, and commanded by Maj. G. H. Hill, formerly a lieutenant in the United States Artillery. A flag-staff, with the national colors made fast was immediately raised, and the, men had scarcely finished cheering when General Foster rode in to announce to the general commanding that the enemy had surrendered.

At the taking of the masked battery the officers and men, not only of the Fourth Rhode Island and Ninth New York Regiments, but of other regiments that came under my observation, behaved with great gallantry, coolness, and bravery. All seemed imbued with determination to carry the day. Considering the length of time that they have been on board ship, that they bivouacked in the rain on the night of the 7th, and considering the great natural obstacles in front of the battery-a broad swamp surrounded by a dense tangle and thick growth of cypress, through which but a single narrow roadway or trail passed, and that completely raked by the battery-considering all this, it would seem that all engaged are worthy of much praise.

I would respectfully beg to call your attention to the adjutant of the Fourth Rhode Island Regiment, Lieutenant Curtis. He was very conspicuous in conducting and cheering on the men of his regiment while passing through the clearing.

I also wish to pay a just tribute to the officers of my staff for their great gallantry throughout the battle and untiring zeal through the whole day. The staff is composed of the following officers: Capt. Charles T. Gardner, assistant adjutant-general; Capt. John N. King, brigade quartermaster and acting commissary; Lieuts. M. Asbury Hill and Philip M. Lydig, aides-de-camp, Lieut. L. Bradley, of the Signal Corps, was with me, and acted as aide. All of these, including Capt. J. N. King, who volunteered his services as aide early in the morning, were constantly occupied carrying orders, bringing up and conducting the troops into position, and were necessarily greatly exposed. Lieuts. J. W. Hopkins and Anthony Lang, of the Signal Corps, were also actively engaged bringing up the men during the fight. On the morning of the 9th a company of the Fourth Rhode Island Regiment took possession of Fort Blanchard, a small work mounting four 32-pounders. The guns were spiked and the carriages damaged.

A detachment from the Ninth New York Regiment took possession of a two-gun battery on the east side of the island. They found the guns spiked and pointed inland. The battery is surrounded by a marsh and swamp, the only approach to it being by a causeway from the water side. One prisoner was taken in this work, he having been left by his comrades when they evacuated the place.

I regret to have to record the death of Lieut. Col. Viguer De Monteil of the Fifty-third New York Regiment (D’Epineuil Zouaves). The colonel of the Ninth New York Regiment reports that “he was killed instantly, while urging my men to the charge. He dies greatly lamented {p.108} by all my officers and men who came in contact with him. His bravery was as great as his patriotism was sincere, and I cannot but feel that had he lived he would have proved a most valuable officer.”

The casualties in the Ninth New York Regiment are 2 lieutenants and 15 privates wounded-none likely to prove fatal.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. G. PARKE, Brigadier-General Volunteers, Commanding Third Brigade.

Capt. LEWIS RICHMOND, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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No. 22.

Report of Col. Isaac P. Rodman, Fourth Rhode Island Infantry.

FORT BARTOW, Roanoke Island, N. C., February 10, 1862.

DEAR SIR: I had the honor to write you last from Camp California, Va. Since then the Fourth Rhode Island has been detached from Howard’s brigade and assigned to that of General John G. Parke, Third Brigade, Burnside’s division, and reported for duty at Annapolis, Md., on the 3d of July [January]. Embarked on the steamer Eastern Queen for Fort Monroe; sailed [January] 9th; arrived the 10th, and sailed for Hatteras Inlet the 11th; arrived the 12th and entered the inlet the 13th, where we were obliged to lay until the 28th before all the fleet had passed over the Bulkhead. The Pocahontas, on which our horses were embarked, was lost on the cape, and all the horses, except 19, perished. I am happy to say that none of the teamsters that were with them were lost, but all succeeded in getting on shore and joining the regiment.

On July [February] 5 the fleet sailed for Roanoke and arrived in sight the same evening.

The gunboats, having completed their preparations, commenced the bombardment of Forts Bartow, Huger, and Blanchard (mounting eight 32s and one 7-inch rifled Parrott on Bartow; six 32s and three 7-inch Parrotts on Huger, and one 7-inch rifled Parrott on Blanchard) on Friday morning at 11.30 a.m., and continued through the day. The troops from different transports were landed the same evening without opposition, with the exception of a small party firing on the sounding party of the Fifth Battalion Rhode Island Volunteers, wounding 2 slightly; the gunboats of the enemy not approaching near enough to do us any damage, of which there were ten in all, with from two to three guns each.

On the morning of the 8th the First Brigade (General Foster’s) was put in motion, followed by General Reno’s (the second), ours (the third, General Parke) remaining for a short time in reserve. The Fifth Rhode Island Battalion having been deployed on our right and the Eighth Connecticut held in reserve on our left to prevent flank movements, we (that is, the Fourth Rhode Island and Ninth New York) were ordered forward. When the head of General Foster’s column had proceeded about 1 mile on the road they were suddenly met by a sharp volley of musketry and the contents of a Dahlgren (12-pounder brass field piece) from behind a masked battery, called by the enemy Fort Defiance, across and commanding the only road for 400 yards, on each side of {p.109} which was a hitherto-impassable cypress swamp. The First Brigade advancing was supported by Reno, who threw two regiments on their right flank. The Fourth Rhode Island was ordered to follow part of Foster’s brigade in turning their left flank, Parke holding the Ninth New York in reserve. Our men at once plunged into the swamp, nearly waist-deep with mud and water, and after almost incredible exertions succeeded in forcing our way through briers, cypress, and a dense mass of birch, &c. When we had nearly succeeded in turning their flank on the left and right General Parke ordered the Ninth New York to charge in front, when the enemy, finding that they were flanked, fled up the island, followed by regiments of Foster and Reno in pursuit, General Parke ordering the Ninth New York to cut off their retreat by the Nag’s Head, which they did, taking O. Jennings Wise prisoner, and capturing the battery at that point, with three heavy columbiads. The enemy retreated to Weir’s Point, where they did not make any fight, but surrendered to Generals Foster and Reno, about 3,000 all told.

General Burnside ordered the Fourth Rhode Island to proceed to Pork Point and take possession of Fort Bartow, giving us the Tenth Connecticut for our support. We immediately marched for the point and took possession of the place, planting the banner of the Fourth Rhode Island on the ramparts. The Eighth North Carolina was within about half a mile of us, advancing to take possession of it, the battalion of Seventeenth North Carolina having evacuated it about two hours before we took possession. When they saw our flag on the fort they fell back and surrendered to General Reno. The larger fort on the main-land was fired about ten minutes after our arrival and consumed.

We have taken thirty-five to forty pieces of artillery, about 4,000 stand of arms, and camp equipage and stores of four regiments of infantry.

The gunboats of the enemy have escaped up the sound. Four hundred to 500 of the enemy got off the island, and a regiment from Norfolk that were coming to re-enforce the rebels did not land, but got away. The enemy had sunk hulks and driven piles into the channel, which, with their masked batteries and natural advantage of the island, they supposed had made their position impregnable to any force we could bring against them. How we ever got through that swamp I can hardly conceive of now; as it was, we were full two hours in it. Half the time the regiment was under fire, but the distance-300 to 400 yards off the battery-and the enemy being obliged to take uncertain aim from the constant firing of Foster’s advance, preserved us from loss.

I don’t think we have lost a man, all but one (Corporal Perkins) having joined the regiment, and I think he will be found. A number of our men in the Fourth had balls through their coats and blankets. Our flag being half rolled up, did not present much surface to the fire, and we only got one bullet-hole through it; shall do better when we have a chance. The Fourth was cool and did well. All our force behaved well and gave satisfaction to the commanding officer of the division.

I must now close this hasty and imperfect sketch, hoping it will give you some idea of the battle of Roanoke. Our regiment is again embarked on board the Eastern Queen, and is to proceed to -, I suppose. The blank I am unable to fill,

And remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

I. P. RODMAN, Colonel Fourth Rhode Island.

Gov. WILLIAM SPRAGUE.

{p.110}

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No. 23.

Reports of Maj. Gen. Benjamin Huger, C. S. Army, commanding Department of Norfolk, with correspondence.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., February 10, 1862.

SIR: I telegraphed last night that a steamer had arrived from Nag’s Head and brought the news that Roanoke Island was captured. Men who escaped across Roanoke Sound brought them this information. Lieutenant Pearse brought up his ammunition by this opportunity, but had no communication with Roanoke Island, and got his information from runaways. Such information is not usually correct, but from his statements I had to treat it as true as regards the fact of the capture of all the forces on the island.

I have ordered-

1st. The Sixth Virginia Regiment, some six companies, under Colonel Corprew, to proceed to the Currituck Bridge, near outlet of Chesapeake and Albemarle Canal, to block that avenue to Norfolk. There is a battery of three 32-pounders at Currituck Bridge.

2d. Five companies of the Third Georgia Regiment, under Major Lee, to South Mills, the outlet of Dismal Swamp Canal, to protect that approach, and I have sent orders to Colonel Henningsen, who is at Elizabeth City, to fall back to South Mills and co-operate with Major Lee.

3d. Colonel Hamilton, at Suffolk, is ordered to throw some companies to the Black Water and protect the approach to the railroad bridge on the Black Water, and to obstruct the river.

4th. Lieutenant-Colonel Williams, First North Carolina Battalion, to proceed down the Black Water and Chowan to near Winton, to obstruct the passage of the Meherrin and Chowan, and I have ordered Captain Nichol’s light battery to join him and assist in preventing a landing and stopping their boats.

As soon as the enemy hears the news (if true) I expect he will make demonstration in my front, and you will perceive this force can only perform outpost duty.

I will advise you of facts as soon as I can get them, and if the enemy are in strong force on the south of me I must be re-enforced.

I need say nothing now of Roanoke Island. I send you a copy of my instructions to General Wise as soon as he reported to me, dated January 13. These orders have never been carried out. I cannot but regret that Commander Lynch did not come into the Albemarle Canal. We could have supplied him with ammunition and had the use of his boats. I had loaded up a boat with ammunition for him and the island and dispatched it last evening. Soon after it left it met the steamer from Nag’s Head with the news of the disaster and returned. These two boats are all I have to forward troops and supplies. Now Commander Lynch is shut up in Elizabeth City I fear he will lose all his boats.

Persons from the south of this report firing in direction of Elizabeth City. Nothing official to 11.30 a.m.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General.

General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General.

{p.111}

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., February 11, 1862.

SIR: I telegraphed to you this morning that I had a letter from General Wise, dated 9 a.m. yesterday at Poplar Branch, Currituck County, North Carolina. He would move on to the Canal Bridge and collect all his troops there. I have before reported to you I sent Colonel Corprew, Sixth Virginia Volunteers, to the same point. They left via canal early yesterday morning. I have not yet heard of their arrival. General Wise’s account of the capture of Roanoke Island is from the report of a sergeant-Metzer, McCullough Rangers-who left the island at 5 p.m. on the 8th instant. He reports that Lieutenant Selden, in charge of a howitzer, which did great execution, was killed. Capt. O. J. Wise was wounded thrice and carried to the hospital where it is reported he died, and Captain Coales was killed. All this is only report.

As I heard that Colonel Henningsen had retreated from Elizabeth City toward Edenton, I sent three pieces of Captain Girardey’s company (Louisiana Guard) and the Second Battalion of the Third Georgia toward South Mills.

I just have the following report from Sewell’s Point: “Three steamers have left the Roads seaward bound. Seventeen schooners are getting under way.”

The enemy seem re-enforcing their forces in Albemarle Sound. I cannot detach further. Re-enforcements must be sent to guard the railroad beyond Meherrin. I have telegraphed General Gatlin he must take care of the Roanoke River and Weldon.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General.

General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General.

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WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, Va., February 23, 1862.

Maj. Gen. B. HUGER, Norfolk, Va.:

SIR: I have the honor to inclose herewith copy of a letter addressed by General Wise to the President, with copy of the indorsement by the President. You are respectfully requested to make such remarks thereon as the nature of the case may in your opinion require, and report the same.

Your obedient servant,

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

[Inclosure.]

CANAL BRIDGE, CURRITUCK COUNTY, N. C., February 13, 1862.

His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS, President, &c.:

SIR: You are aware already, doubtless, of my defeat and disasters. I did my best to prepare for the unequal conflict. Unequal it was. In vain I appealed for re-enforcements; the reply was an order to my post, and that “supplies, hard work, and coolness, not men,” were all that {p.112} was needed. After this there was no election for me but to fight. The lack of time and the storms prevented me from working, and no work had been done. The North Carolina troops had not been paid, clothed, or drilled, and they had no teams or tools or materials for constructing works of defense, and they were badly commanded and led, and, except a few companies, they did not fight.

About 600 of my Legion withstood the enemy for half a day on the 8th without field artillery, except a 24-pounder and 18-pounder with 12-pounder ammunition, and a 6-pounder brass howitzer, which did terrible execution among the enemy. Twice the enemy, at least 8,000 strong, were repulsed with slaughter, and it was not until they passed a dense, deep swamp, thought to be impassable, and outflanked us on the right-and until Lieutenant Selden was killed at his gun sighting the aim of his last round of ammunition, and until the enemy advanced under a white flag, firing at our men as they cheered a supposed surrender-that our artillery pieces were captured and the Legion gave way, but never surrendered.

They fought on all the 8th and continued the fight on the 9th. Never did men do and dare more nobly, but they were unsupported, except by two or three companies of the Eighth North Carolina Regiment. The Thirty-first was hardly in the action at all, and had leave of their colonel (Jordan) to take care of themselves, and some 60 or 70 of them escaped.

The forts on the island were all out of place; they ought to have been at the south end, and they were at the north, leaving several of the landing points on the south end without any defenses against the shot and shell of the heavy steamers, which came quite up and covered the landing of their troops, horses, artillery, and everything required for land forces. We had but four indifferent mules for our pieces and they were killed.

Such were the odds and the deficiencies of our defenses, yet my men fought firmly, coolly, and stubbornly up to the muzzle, to wounds, death, and captivity. Providence sharply prohibited my commanding in person. For nine days I was prostrated at Nag’s Head with high fever and a severe attack of pleurisy; but this enabled me to save about 200 of my men. Here we are, a remnant of infantry, a corps of artillery-in all six companies, besides fragments of about 40, who escaped, of the Legion.

I desire your favor now to recruit it. My Third Regiment was, unjustly to me and my men, taken from me and sent to South Carolina. I ask for its return to my command. I ask for the four field pieces taken from me by General Floyd or their equivalent. I ask for the transfer of such troops as seek to join my command and for all facilities to move it under the circumstances. Having obtained my Legion by your good pleasure, having spent it at every risk and sacrifice with honor in the service, I ask your interposition in behalf of its full restoration.

With the highest respect, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

[Indorsement.]

Referred to Secretary of War, whose attention is called to the representation of [General Wise] and especially to the order marked by quotation. A copy of the letter will be furnished to General Huger {p.113} for report. Authority and all due assistance will be given to recruit and reorganize General Wise’s Legion. My anxiety for the construction of a work on the south end of the island was freely expressed to General Wise, and its importance appears to have been even greater than I supposed, as the north had been reported to me impracticable for the movement of troops. The Third Regiment was not considered a part of the Legion, and it was only the Legion proper which it was designed to remove, with General Wise, to the coast of Virginia and North Carolina.

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., March 5, 1862.

SIR: I beg to submit the following report of facts in regard to Roanoke Island:

1. On hearing of the capture of Fort Hatteras, on August 29 last, I sent troops to hold Roanoke Island and throw up some fortifications as promptly as possible. Roanoke Island being outside the limits of my command I reported my action to the Department, and was notified that my course was approved by the President.

2. The Third Georgia Regiment continued to garrison the island and the engineer officers I sent there to fortify it. As the place was so distant and out of my military district, and other troops were sent there from North Carolina, I requested, by letter (dated November 14, 1861), that Roanoke Island be placed entirely under my control and sufficient troops sent me to garrison it, or that I be relieved of the charge of it. An order dated November 26, 1861, placed the island in the command of Brigadier-General Gatlin. General D. H. Hill had immediate command. About December 1 Colonel Wright’s Third Georgia Regiment was relieved and ordered to return to this department. The Thirty-first Regiment of North Carolina Volunteers replaced them.

3. From the time the command was given to Generals Gatlin and Hill until the date of Special Orders, No. 272, December 21, 1861, forming a brigade, commanded by Brig. Gen. H. A. Wise, I had no control over the position, and when Orders, No. 272, were issued I was not certain that it included Roanoke Island, but wrote to inquire on January 2. Answer received January 4. General Wise reported to me early in January, and I urged his immediate inspection and examination of the position. He did visit it, and returned and reported to me. I addressed him my instructions in a letter of January 13 (copy inclosed). General Wise went a few days after this to Richmond. While he was there an order for him to proceed at once to Roanoke Island was issued, and on or about January 29 General Wise arrived at Nag’s Head. On February 7 and 8 the place was attacked and captured by the enemy.

4. The orders of the War Department will show that I had not the control or management of Roanoke Island from the time it was assigned to General Gatlin’s command until General Wise was assigned to the command.

My opinion concerning the defenses is expressed in my letter of January 13. I did write to General Wise that batteries should be so placed as to repel a fleet of gunboats, and that supplies, hard work, and coolness were what was wanted.

{p.114}

I send copies of my letters of January 9 and 13, to which I ask your attention.

I regret that General Wise addressed you directly instead of through me, as it prevented me from sending the above explanations with his letter of February 13.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General.

His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS, President of the Confederate States.

[Inclosures.]

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., January 9, 1862.

GENERAL: I have your letter of the 7th (received last night), and have seen persons who have left you since. The gunboats that have gone to Hatteras are not those which were here. A large number of small vessels and barges are still in the Mill Creek Channel, near Old Point. No number of vessels, but schooners, have left Old Point lately.

I send the steamer Currituck to-day, with Capt. J. S. Taylor and Lieutenant Loyall, to take charge of the batteries at Roanoke Island. I have directed all the supplies asked for by Major Williamson, except the large quantity of shot for which there was no powder sent.

I have got from Richmond to-day an order for a small quantity of powder at Raleigh, and send for it at once. I will send the chief quartermaster with a good pilot down to-morrow. Major Johnston, the quartermaster, will give all instructions necessary in his department. He must have boats and barges enough to get up supplies both for your brigade and the rest of the army. You will find him fully capable to manage the business. The pilot I send, Captain Taylor, informs me that it would be easier to obstruct the channel inside; that is, to the northward and westward of the marshes. He says the water is too deep between some of the marsh islands to block them there; but as soon as you get through, the water shoals and the channel could be obstructed by sinking vessels in some 12 feet of water. I send him, that he may sound out the positions and assist in obstructing them, if you desire it.

Let Major Johnston send back all such boats as you can spare, that we may use them in supplying you with more articles you want. I think you want supplies, hard work, and coolness among the troops you have, instead of more men. If men can help you, you shall have them, if we have boats here to take them. I am most anxious to do all I can to strengthen you. I only want to know how.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General, Commanding.

Brig. Gen. HENRY A. WISE, Commanding Fourth Brigade.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., January 13, 1862.

SIR: Your requisition for means to carry on all necessary work at {p.115} Roanoke Island will be approved. To secure this important pass, the key of Albemarle Sound, I direct that all efforts be made-

First, to establish batteries at the marshes off south end of the island, one of your own propositions after your personal reconnaissance. If guns at these marshes can prevent the enemy’s gunboats from passing they will also prevent any landing, and it will be impossible for them to take the island.

The more permanent battery, as proposed by you, for the marshes may be postponed for the present, and two or more guns mounted on barges or vessels, and placed in position on the different marshes to protect the approaches to the island; this to be the first work done. If it will expedite the work, you are authorized to move one or both of the barges with guns on them now at Redstone Point to the marshes.

Second, one or more wharves appear to be necessary for landing, &c., and should be erected as soon as possible.

I do not consider large forces necessary for the defense of this island. If the batteries can keep off gunboats and transports the infantry will have little opportunity to act.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General, Commanding.

Brig. Gen. HENRY A. WISE, Commanding Fourth Brigade.

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[MARCH 5, 1862.-Huger to Benjamin, inclosing Talcott’s report, see p. 54.]

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., March 11, 1862.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

SIR: I transmit inclosed a copy of a letter received from Brig. Gen. H. A. Wise in reply to mine of 8th instant, requiring, as directed by you, his report of the battle at Roanoke Island.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General.

[Inclosure.]

ROLLISTON, NEAR NORFOLK, March 8, 1862.

Maj. Gen. B. HUGER, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: In reply to yours of this day, I have to inform you that I did not receive the report of Colonel Shaw of the battle on Roanoke Island on the 7th and 8th February until Monday, the 3d instant. It inclosed the reports of Colonels Anderson, Jordan, and Green, Majors Hill and Fry, and Capt. J. S. Taylor, and is dated February 24. As soon as copied, with its accompanying reports, it was sent to the Secretary of War, Wednesday, the 5th instant, the day of the date of the letter of the Secretary of War to you. Before this he has received the report of Colonel Shaw to me and of mine to him. I retain the originals, and if you desire copies will furnish them to you.

At the same time I request to be furnished with copies of all official letters or papers which you have sent to the War Department, and of all letters sent or orders issued by your subordinates commanding departments or other forces in the district assigned to my command in {p.116} North Carolina touching or relating to my late command in that district, and especially any of those sent to Colonel Wright at Elizabeth City or elsewhere. I make this request in order to aid the inquiry which I have demanded respecting my command and to subserve the justice due to you as well as to myself in respect to the defenses of Roanoke Island and their conduct by you and by myself and others and in respect to my retreat to Great Bridge.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, March 17, 1862.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

SIR: I received yesterday by special messenger your letter of the 15th instant,* inclosing a letter to be forwarded to General Wise.** Also a voluminous report (143 pages) sent to you by General Wise, and forwarded to me for my remarks.***

The letter to General Wise was sent to him at once. I have devoted the night to looking over the voluminous report, which I find is not a report of the battle of Roanoke Island, but a collection of all General Wise’s correspondence, with his explanatory remarks, giving his views of the conduct of the War Department, myself; and others. As you remark, no such report should be sent, unless forwarded through me.

It will take much time to examine so voluminous a document carefully, which at this moment I can illy spare from more important duties.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General, Commanding.

* See p. 68.

** Of March 14, see p. 168.

*** No. 24, p. 122.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., March 18, 1862.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

SIR: I send herewith a letter received from General Wise, dated 16th instant, covering a copy of his report to you of the capture of Roanoke Island and the original reports of his subordinates on the subject, viz: The report of Col. H. M. Shaw and the reports to him of Colonel Jordan, Lieutenant-Colonels Green and Anderson, Majors Hill and Fry, and Capt. J. S. Taylor. Having no personal knowledge of the positions, and uninformed, except by these reports, of the occurrences there, I have no remark to make upon them.

As I occupied this island the end of August last on my own responsibility, it being without the limits of my command, there seems to be a general impression that I had had entire control of it, which is an error. I did partially fortify and garrison it last summer. I was afterward relieved from all charge of it, and the troops I had sent there were withdrawn and returned to this command. It was, by order of {p.117} the War Department, the latter part of December, assigned to the immediate command of Brigadier-General Wise and attached to this department, and it is only since then I have had any charge of it.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General, Commanding.

[Inclosure.]

NEAR NORFOLK, VA., March 16, 1862.

Maj. Gen. B. HUGER, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: On the 5th instant I sent to the Secretary of War the report of the surrender of Roanoke Island, of which the inclosed is a copy.* At the same time I sent to him copies of the reports of Cols. H. M. Shaw and Jordan, and Lieutenant-Colonels Anderson and Green, and of Majors Hill and Fry, and Captain Taylor.

By a letter dated March 14, just received by me, he corrects my error of sending copies and not the originals and of reporting directly to the Department instead of through you. I deeply regret these errors in form, and now send my report through you, accompanied by the originals.

I respectfully assure you, and through you the Secretary of War, that these informalities were entirely unintentional, as the Secretary does me the justice to suppose. I supposed the originals; addressed to me, were mine, and that I, being changed from your department, was no longer required to report to you. I beg that you will forward this report to the Secretary of War, and believe me, respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

* See No. 24, p. 122.

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RICHMOND, VA., April 2, 1862.

Maj. Gen. B. HUGER, Norfolk, Va.:

SIR: The committee appointed by the House of Representatives to inquire and report the causes and circumstances of the capitulation of Roanoke Island have instructed me to inclose you the within copy of the comments filed by Brigadier-General Wise with the committee upon the remarks made by yourself upon his report of the battle of Roanoke Island. The committee have thought that you might like to reply to the remarks of General Wise. The committee are delayed in their investigation for the want of the report of Brigadier-General Wise, made on February 21 to the Secretary of War, in relation to the surrender of Roanoke Island, and which was sent by the Secretary of War to yourself, and which has not been returned by you to the War Department. The committee will be greatly obliged if you will return the report to the War Department, so that they can obtain a copy.

I have the honor to be,

B. S. GAITHER, Chairman.

[Indorsement.]

Respectfully referred to the Secretary of War.

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General.

{p.118}

[Inclosure.]

RICHMOND, VA., March 28, 1862.

Hon. Mr. GAITHER, Chairman, &c.:

SIR: By permission of a portion of the committee over which you preside I obtained yesterday a copy of General Huger’s remarks upon my communication of Colonel Shaw’s report of the battle of Roanoke Island.

I beg leave most respectfully to submit some remarks upon the remarks of General Huger.

First. He says that my statement that the artillery of my Legion did not reach me owing to his interruption of my orders to Colonel Henningsen seems to convey the insinuation that the officious interruption of General Huger was the cause of the artillery not arriving, and that his intention was to expedite its arrival, not prevent it, as his paragraph seems to imply. If General Huger, in this paragraph, had left out the word insinuation, and for the word officious had substituted ignorant-had stated that I meant to convey the idea that the ignorant interruption of General Huger was the cause of my artillery not arriving-he would have been nearly correct in his inference, and he would have been relieved of the necessity for any averment of his intention to expedite the arrival of my artillery.

I ordered Colonel Henningsen, commanding a light artillery corps of three companies, six pieces and 213 horses, to have the horses led from Norfolk across what is called the Sand Bridge down the sea-beach to Nag’s Head, and to have the field pieces, caissons, and ammunition towed by steam-tugs through the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal to Roanoke Island. After I left Norfolk he countermanded this order, and commanded Colonel Henningsen to mount the artillery and haul it by horses on land to the nearest point. The nearest point was Powell’s Point, about 15 or 20 miles from the island, across the Albemarle Sound, where there was no means of water transportation, except in a small lighter ferry at Gallop’s, from the beach to the point.

Colonel Henningsen went to Elizabeth City, 45 miles off, and thence to the island. There was no transportation. Had he been allowed to obey my orders he could have reached me easily in three days, and would have arrived from three to five days before the fight on February 8, leaving Norfolk, as General Huger admits, on the 29th or 30th of January.

On February 8, during the battle, I wrote to General Huger for a boat, and expressed my regret that his change of the route of my artillery prevented its arrival.

On the 9th he replied by note, saying, “You are in error when you say ‘Colonel Henningsen was diverted from following the route you ordered him to take by me.’ I gave him no order, but not to send one company by the beach, as you ordered. In all other respects he was to obey your orders.” Thus he in effect denied making the change in my orders except as to one company, and now he pleads justification of the change of my orders admitted to have been made by him. I required reports of Colonel Henningsen and of my ordnance officer, Lieut. J. H. Pearce. Both officially reported that General Huger had changed my orders, and assigned as reasons for changing the route designated by me that it was impracticable to lead the horses down the beach, owing to the tide, estuaries, inlets, creeks, and deep sands. That was his reason then for doing what he had written he had not done.

{p.119}

Again, when I met him at Great Bridge, February 16, he corrected verbally what he had written to me, alleging error in the statement that he had changed my orders, admitted that he had changed the route of my artillery as ordered by me and assigned the same reasons for so doing that he had given to Colonel Henningsen and Lieutenant Pearce, to wit, “the impracticability of the beach route,” &c. I assured him that I knew it to be not only practicable, but the best route in either Virginia or North Carolina, and referred him to my son, Lieut. R. A. Wise, who had but lately then pursued the route most of the way in a tilt-wagon with a pair of mules, and to Lieut. J. C. Gallop, who had described the route fully to Colonel Henningsen and Lieutenant Pearce at Norfolk in my presence, and who resided at Gallop’s Ferry. He still insisted that the route was impracticable, and said he would order a survey. That, unfortunately, was impracticable, as the beach then was in possession of the enemy, and I so replied. But then I aver he was ignorant of the route. There are no inlets, no estuaries, no creeks to obstruct horsemen from Cape Henry to Oregon Inlet, nearly 100 miles, and the deep sands of the hills are easily avoided by taking the ocean shore at almost any tide. But now he changes his grounds for changing the route. In reply to Colonel Henningsen’s statement, he says that every tug, barge, and vessel that could be procured was engaged to transport troops, &c., to Roanoke Island. Unfortunately for General Huger this excuse is as groundless as the former. I aver that not only every tug, barge, and vessel that could be procured was not engaged to transport troops, &c., to Roanoke Island, but that every one, of every description, was most inopportunely ordered away from Roanoke Island, and imperatively put under orders of General Huger’s quartermaster for the transportation of forage to Norfolk. The only steam-tug I had for transportation was the tug Roanoke and two barges, and these ordered away after the arrival of the enemy at Roanoke Island, as the order, of which the following, delivered to me during the battle, is a copy, will show:

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., February 3, 1862.

Brig. Gen. HENRY A. WISE, Commanding Fourth Brigade, Roanoke Island:

SIR: The steamer Roanoke towed down two barges, which were ordered by the quartermaster to proceed to Scuppernong and bring back corn to this place. If the Roanoke has been taken for other service, you will, on receipt of this, send her and the barges to carry out the orders of the quartermaster. I have to charter vessels to bring forage here, and will give vessels so employed by the Quartermaster’s Department certificates that they are employed by me, and such vessels are not to be interfered with by any one. You will direct the captains of all steamboats coming here from your command to report to the chief quartermaster and any officer coming up to report to headquarters. These orders are imperative.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ HUGER, Major-General, Commanding.

Why General Huger says that “if these men and horses are separated from their guns they would probably never meet again” I cannot conceive. This blunder may account for his “one” company error in his note to me. The men were not to be separated from their guns nor from their horses. One company was to be detailed to lead the horses down to the beach to Nag’s Head, and the other two companies, with their guns, &c., were to be towed to the island through the canal, the two ways converging to the same point-the island. But grant what he says, “that very tug, barge, and vessel that could be procured was {p.120} engaged to transport troops to Roanoke Island, and therefore none could be got to transport the artillery pieces, caissons,” &c., and therefore he sent them by land route. What land route? Not the beach route, for he had ordered them away from that route, and that was the only route by which Roanoke Island could be approximated by land. That route even had to cross Roanoke Sound from Nag’s Head. Any other land route had to cross from 15 to 45 miles of the boisterous and broad Albemarle Sound. Then tugs, barges, and vessels would be needed by the route he sent them; and he says there were no tugs, barges, or vessels to be procured for them. Did he know this, and yet did he send them by a route for which there was no water transport? He did; and yet I believe General Huger’s intention was to expedite them; that his object, as he says, was to get them there, not to detain them. His intention and object were ever so good, but he was grossly ignorant of the routes and careless in organizing his means of transportation.

For information of the means of transportation and how it was ordered and disposed and how and when it could be procured I refer the committee to Marshall Parks, president of the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, and to Mr. Lindsay, of Norfolk. They have furnished most of the tugs, &c., and can tell how many lighters, vessels, and barges could have been procured; if not at Norfolk, in any of the waters of North Carolina nearer to the island than Norfolk. I refer also to Dr. Thomas Warren, of Edenton, N. C.

Second. He says that my remark upon Major Hill’s and Captain Taylor’s reports about the only three guns brought to bear on the enemy is “disingenuous.” This is an offensive term; it means to say that I was not in this remark “frank, free, open, sincere, plain;” but my respect for the military service and for the committee admonishes me to deal with it mildly and forbearingly. I trust, then, it is not unbecoming in me to say that General Huger’s reply, showing his reason for using the term, is so naive, so innocent, as to render it innocuous. I stated the fact on the authority of Major Hill. Other guns were fired on the enemy, but because they could not be brought to bear on them ceased firing. But what says General Huger “The enemy selected a position in which only three guns bore on them.” Ah, and were the five batteries so located that an enemy’s fleet of thirty-seven sail in attack could select a position in which only three guns bore on them? So says General Huger, and that is all any fair, intelligent mind could have understood me to say. The worst constructed forts in any locality with more than thirty guns could perhaps bring more than three guns to bear if the enemy would let General Huger select his position for him. But in this instance the enemy selected his own position. Where? In the open Croatan Sound. How far off from Pork Point Battery? One thousand yards. Did no guns but three of that battery bear? None. Did the guns of no other battery bear? None. So that General Huger is certainly naive, and I not “disingenuous.” His reasoning is like his command, and my statement is in effect admitted by him to be “fair.” As far as permitted by the rules of propriety and position I repel his imputation on my sincerity. The committee will maintain decorum and I will observe military discipline.

General Huger’s averment that “those three guns did repel their whole fleet” is just simply ridiculous. They did no damage to the enemy’s fleet that ever I have been informed of, and why the enemy’s fleet did not pass the three batteries-as they could have done in thirty minutes-is not to be accounted for, except upon their supposition that {p.121} due preparations had been made at the north end of the island, as they found none at the south end. They accordingly ceased firing at insignificant batteries. General Huger’s concluding remark under this head forgets his reasoning for the word “disingenuous.” There he says but three guns were brought to bear, because the enemy selected a position in which only three guns did bear on them. Here he says that from that position the battery “was exposed to a heavy fire.” Then the enemy did fire a heavy fire upon the battery from a position on which but three or four guns could be brought to bear. Material injury was done to the earthworks of the battery. It was materially knocked down by the first day’s bombardment, and the night of that day (the 7th) it had to be rebuilt. For proof of this I refer you to Lieutenants Bagwell and Bolton, who are now in this city.

Third. General Huger supposes I meant him and the War Department by the words “my superiors.” I meant and mean every superior of every grade and position at all responsible for the lack of defenses at Roanoke Island. I did all I could with the means and facilities allowed to me by them. He coupled himself swimmingly with the War Department. I separate them for the purpose of my remarks on his remarks. He says “we could not control time, weather, or sickness.” I say emphatically that he could have taken time by the forelock, which he never did. That he might have worked while the sun shined and not have left everything to be done and undone, too, in the winter’s weather of Hatteras; and if he had promptly aided me, as he ought to have done, with men and munitions of war, I could, while in good health, have been preparing at Roanoke Island, and might have saved my command, if it had not been grossly neglected up to the time I was prostrated by a severe illness and up to the arrival of the enemy. Thus, in a very rational sense correlatively with his own use of terms, he might have controlled “time, weather, and sickness.” I could not control my command even under his orders. He says that he does not know what available preparation asked for by me could have been made by my superiors. He does know. He has, I believe, now in his hands my letter to the Secretary of War reporting the causes of the disaster at Roanoke Island. It was delivered here by Maj. William B. Stanard on March 1 instant, and the original was forwarded by the Department to him “for his remarks.”

That will fully inform the committee of what was asked and what was not allowed. I intend to “accuse” General Huger of nothing! nothing!! nothing!!! That was the disease which brought disaster at Roanoke Island. My purpose is only to fully reply to the committee’s inquiries and to his imputations.

Respectfully,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, April 5, 1862.

General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General:

SIR: I return to the Secretary of War “a voluminous document (143 pages),” which he sent me for my examination and remarks, stating “Brigadier-General Wise had forwarded this as a report from him direct to the Secretary, instead of sending it through me; that this report {p.122} had been called for by Congress, but it could not be sent in, if at all, before being submitted to me.” This report-as it is called-is, I find, copies of such official letters as General Wise has pleased to select, connected with his remarks, to give his view of the case. I have other employment, and can find no time to examine this voluminous document further. I consider it an improper report, and ought not to be published without other official correspondence, which may not sustain the views here desired to be made history. I return it to the Secretary of War, to be disposed of as he thinks proper. I received on the 3d instant the inclosed reply,* which a committee of Congress received from General Wise, criticising the few remarks I thought proper to make on his report of the capture of Roanoke Island. I considered those remarks proper and just, and regret they do not coincide with General Wise’s opinion; but I have no time to discuss the subject with him, and I send his paper to the Secretary of War.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General, Commanding Department of Norfolk.

* See Gaither to Huger, April 2, p. 117.

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No. 24.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Henry A. Wise, C. S. Army, with correspondence.

GREAT BRIDGE, NORFOLK COUNTY, VIRGINIA, February 21, 1862.

SIR: I beg leave to make a full report of my command in the District of North Carolina, attached to the Department of Norfolk, under general orders from Major-General Huger.

Upon my return to Richmond from Western Virginia, under orders transferring my command to Brigadier-General Floyd, I was immediately, on September 30 last, stricken down by a severe and protracted illness.

November 18 last I reported for duty to the Secretary of War by letter of which the following is a copy:

ROLLISTON, NEAR NORFOLK, VA., November 18, 1861.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

SIR: I take the earliest opportunity of returning health to report myself officially as ready for duty.

I earnestly request that the forces composing my Legion may without delay be ordered to the point at which the President intends to employ my services. Even the promptest movement on their part will now scarcely enable them to prepare their arrangements for winter before the winter shall be upon them.

In General Lee’s absence from Richmond I take the liberty to remind the President and yourself of the disposition which he thought advisable in connection with the Legion, viz: that each western company should decide for itself whether to remain with the Legion or on service in the west; that a certain proportion of the pieces of artillery in possession of the Legion should be retained in the west; and, finally, that all the eastern companies and such of the western companies as shall so elect, with at least one battery of field pieces, should be ordered, with the least practicable delay, to the new field of operations where it is intended to employ them.

In the mean time I also request permission to detail a party to explore the channels of Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, if it is intended to employ me on the North Carolina coast.

I will await at this place the orders of the President.

My post-office is at Norfolk City.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

{p.123}

In reply I received from the Secretary of War a letter of which the following is a copy:

CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, War Department, Richmond, Va., November 23, 1861.

Brig. Gen. HENRY A. WISE, Rolliston, near Norfolk, Va.:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 18th instant, and am happy to learn that you have been restored to health.

As soon as we are informed of the movements of the enemy consequent upon General Floyd’s withdrawal from Cotton Hill orders will be issued in regard to your Legion. Until then, however, it will be impossible to decide.

I have the honor to be, respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

On December 4, 1861, the following Special Orders, No. 254, extract IV, was issued:

ADJUTANT AND INSPECTOR GENERAL’S OFFICE, Richmond, Va., December 4, 1861.

Brig. Gen. HENRY A. WISE, (Through General Henningsen:)

SPECIAL ORDERS, 254.}

...

IV. The Wise Legion, under the command of Col. J. Lucius Davis, will repair to Richmond, Va., by the nearest railroad route, and report to Brigadier-General Winder, commanding Department of Henrico.

...

By command of the Secretary of War:

JNO. WITHERS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

By Special Orders, No. 272, dated December 21, 1861, from the Adjutant and Inspector General’s Office, I was assigned to the command of the military district composed of that part of North Carolina east of the Chowan River, together with the counties of Washington and Tyrrel, designated as the Fourth Brigade, Department of Norfolk. I immediately, from Richmond, ordered Col. J. L. Davis, who was in command of my Legion in Western Virginia, to move with all the forces, arms, ammunition, and equipments of the Legion under his orders to Richmond and report to me.

I then returned home, to prepare for assuming the command assigned me. Again, on January 1 last, I addressed to Col. J. Lucius Davis a letter of which the following is a copy:

ROLLISTON, NEAR NORFOLK, VA., January 1, 1862.

Col. J. LUCIUS DAVIS, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: General Huger thinks it important that the Legion should reach its place of operation and of quarters as early as convenient and practicable; that the troops should come on to Norfolk, and that the quartermaster and commissary of my brigade should precede the troops to Norfolk, in order to arrange quarters and rations beforehand with the quartermaster and commissary of his division. To these ends, then, you will issue the following orders:

That Quartermaster Cleary and Commissary Thomas will proceed to Norfolk immediately, and report either to General Huger or to myself, in order to arrange for quarters and rations with the quartermaster and commissary of the division; that Lieutenant-Colonel Richardson will proceed, as early as practicable, with the Eighteenth Regiment of Infantry, to Norfolk, procure transportation from the Quartermaster-General, and report either to me, or, if absent, to General Huger; that Colonel Henningsen will, as early as practicable after the Eighteenth Regiment of Infantry {p.124} has reached Norfolk, proceed with the Second Regiment of Infantry and Captain Wallace’s company of the Third and the corps of artillery to join the command at Norfolk, and Major Gibbes will regard this as an order to him to proceed under the command of Colonel Henningsen (Colonel Henningsen will procure transportation from the Quartermaster-General), and that Col. J. Lucius Davis will proceed to Norfolk at the earliest practicable moment with all the cavalry of the Legion and with the two companies of infantry under Colonel Tyler, who will regard this as an order to him to proceed under the command of Colonel Davis. He will transfer Captain Wallace’s company of infantry to the Second Regiment, under Colonel Henningsen, to supply the place of the company of Captain Crane, disbanded. Colonel Davis will procure transportation from the Quartermaster-General. In case any of the Legion are still in the west they will be ordered to Norfolk directly, and transportation will be furnished accordingly. Separate orders will be issued to Colonel Green, at Wilmington, N. C., by myself.

Very respectfully,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

On January 2 I proceeded to Norfolk on my way to Roanoke Island, and Major-General Huger referred to me the letters of which the following are copies:

[1.]

FORT BARROW, ROANOKE ISLAND, December 29, 1861.

Col. H. M. SHAW, Commanding Forces Roanoke Island, Camp Raleigh, N. C.:

COLONEL: I feel it my duty to the cause in which we are engaged to make the following report in relation to the condition of my fort: In the first place, I have only one gun which can possibly bear upon an enemy on the south side of the fort, and an enemy can keep out of the range of that gun, and, with good guns on their vessels, shell us in such a manner as to drive us from our guns without our being able to return her fire except from this one gun, which is mounted upon a common ship’s carriage, and this placed upon a chassis of a columbiad carriage. It is almost impossible to work this chassis so as to traverse the gun, and in its present condition it is my opinion that after firing a few rounds it will become perfectly useless, and in its exposed condition it can be very easily dismounted by the enemy’s shot. In the second place, all my other guns are mounted on small ship’s carriages and in embrasures, and their field of fire is so limited in extent that I am almost certain if an enemy were to come with a large force, say eighteen or twenty gunboats at a time, they would by a general pressure of steam pass our battery without receiving any perceptible injury. The battery is placed in such a position as to render very little protection to the men and guns from an enfilading fire from the enemy’s vessels. My opinion of the battery in its present position is that it affords no protection to the defense of the sound; for if the enemy attempt to pass, I firmly believe they can do so despite all I can do to prevent it. I therefore earnestly recommend that something be done at once to render the fort more efficient.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. H. HILL, Major, State Provisional Army, Commanding Port Bartow.

[2.]

HEADQUARTERS FORCES ROANOKE ISLAND, Camp Raleigh, December 30, 1561.

General HUGER, Commanding Department of Norfolk:

GENERAL: Not knowing where to address Brigadier-General Wise, who, as I have learned unofficially, is now in command of this district, I take the liberty of forwarding to you directly the accompanying report of Maj. G. H. Hill, of the Seventeenth Regiment North Carolina troops, commanding battery at Pork Point, and of submitting at the same time some remarks in reference to the defenses of these waters. I am clearly of the opinion that the defensive works on this island are altogether insufficient, as at present an enemy could pass the above-named battery without coming within range of its guns at all, and the others could be passed without much liability to danger. Impressed with this belief, immediately upon assuming command of the forces on this island I urged upon General Gatlin, commanding Department of North Carolina, the necessity of strengthening the lower battery (Pork Point) by the addition {p.125} of two rifled 32-pounders, so mounted as to give a wide command, and to so obstruct the two channels of the sound as to compel the enemy, should he attempt to pass, to come within easy range of all the guns. (By reference to the map you will see that this battery is not in connection with the others, and can receive no support from either of them.) I also thought, and still think, that it was necessary to obstruct the sound on a line between Weir’s Point Battery (Fort Huger) and the floating battery. To that end I directed an, agent in Norfolk to call on Commodore Forrest and urge him to send out a steam pile-driver. He agreed to send it, and it was to have been here some time since, but up to this time it has not arrived. I have been very much surprised to hear it has been delayed, because the men desire to have their Christmas holidays. If the plan of obstructing the sound shall meet your approval, I hope you will have the pile-driver in question, and another, if to be obtained, sent out without the least delay. Had this work been undertaken early in the fall it would have been comparatively light, but at this season of the year more than three working days in the week on an average cannot safely be counted on.

I beg leave respectfully to suggest that a competent engineer officer be sent here to examine the works,.with a view to such alterations and additions as may be found necessary.

I would also request that a naval officer of intelligence and experience be sent here to give instructions at the several batteries in artillery practice.

The steamboat Wilson, employed for the use of this station, is now, by reason of the carelessness of the captain, ashore here, without any immediate assurance of her being gotten afloat. She will be greatly needed as a tender to the pile-drivers. Permit me to request that you call upon the owner to dismiss the captain and put a more competent man in his place.

The supply of ammunition at this post is altogether insufficient. I hope you will authorize the requisition I have sent by Major Williamson to be filled at once. Major Williamson is an officer of intelligence and high character, and will give you any further information you may desire in regard to this post.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. M. SHAW, Colonel, Commanding the Forces on Roanoke Island.

[3.]

HEADQUARTERS FORCES ON ROANOKE ISLAND, Camp Raleigh, December 30, 1861.

General HUGER, Commanding Department of Norfolk:

GENERAL: I have to request that you will cause to be returned to this post two 6-pounder boat howitzers, lately taken away by Col. A. R. Wright, formerly commanding on Roanoke Island. I deem it very necessary that we should have those pieces or others of a similar character, and I earnestly hope they will be promptly returned.

I have to report to you, moreover, that one large flat, one two-mast flat-boat, and some five canoes were carried away by Colonel Wright. These flats and canoes were taken in the expedition to Chicamacomico; were of considerable value, and would be of great service at this post. I beg leave to call your attention to the matter, hoping they will be restored.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. M. SHAW, Colonel, Commanding on Roanoke Island.

[4.]

HEADQUARTERS OF THE FORCES ON ROANOKE ISLAND, Camp Raleigh, December 30, 1861.

General HUGER, Commanding Department of Norfolk:

GENERAL: I beg leave to represent to you the necessity of having this post constantly supplied with at least four weeks’ rations for the entire command of about 1,800 men. Should the enemy unfortunately destroy our little navy and get above the batteries, they might, by cutting off our supplies, force us to yield the place without having had the ability to strike a single blow.

This command is now being supplied by a commissary officer (Maj. S. T. Sawyer), stationed, by order of General Gatlin, at Elizabeth City, but the supplies come in very small quantities.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. M. SHAW, Colonel, Commanding Roanoke Island.

{p.126}

On the same day (January 2) Major Williamson, under orders from Colonel Shaw, in command of Roanoke Island, called on me and showed to me several requisitions of nearly all kinds of supplies for the defense of the island, which had been largely curtailed by General Huger. I immediately (the same day) addressed to General Huger the letter of which the following is a copy:

NORFOLK, VA., January 2, 1862.

Maj. Gen. B. HUGER:

SIR: I return the inclosed papers, which found me this morning in this city, on my way to make reconnaissances of Roanoke Island and other places in my command. They show the sad condition of that post, which I regard as the very key of the rear defenses of Norfolk and the navy-yard. Norfolk and the navy-yard may well then supply its deficiencies, in order to save themselves or their connection with Richmond and the South.

I beg, then, that you, sir, will not scale the requisitions of Colonel Shaw so low as was shown to me this morning by Major Williamson. I have already attended to the two 12-pounder howitzers. They were navy boat howitzers, loaned by Captain Lynch to Colonel Wright; were returned by the latter to the navy-yard, and I am allowed by the authorities of the yard, with the consent of Captain Lynch, to take one of them, while that officer takes the other.

The authorities of the yard have also consented for me to have two 12-pounder iron guns. These pieces need boats and carriages. I beg that I may have assigned to my command at least four boats, of at least fourteen or sixteen oars each, with howitzers, or guns, fitted for both land and water service. As to the batteries, I will have them surveyed and reported upon immediately.

My Legion is ordered to move as early as practicable to Norfolk on their way to join my command, and some of its officers are good artillerists. In the mean time I ask that a competent officer to command batteries may be temporarily assigned to Roanoke Island, in conformity to Colonel Shaw’s request.

I request that a commissary and quartermaster-both-be appointed at once for Roanoke Island, to act until my brigade quartermaster and commissary can arrive and report for duty, and that provisions and all supplies be sent directly from Norfolk to the island, and not by way of Elizabeth City. Thirty days’ provisions for 2,500 men, at least, ought to be stored on the island at once.

One pile-driver, I am told, was started yesterday for Roanoke Island, and I have ventured to ask the Secretary of War for three more.

I beg that you will order whatever you can to forward the work of obstructing Croatan and Roanoke Channels.

If the captain of the steamer Wilson is not discharged by the owner, when I get to the island I will discharge him myself, and put in his place a substitute.

Any number of rifled cannon required may be got at the navy-yard. I ask to be allowed to have four at least.

I repeat the request, urgently, for a far more ample supply of ammunition.

With the highest respect,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

On the same day, January 2, General Huger, through Lieutenant Talcott, Acting Chief of Engineers, furnished me with the appended chart of Roanoke Island and its defenses (marked I), which chart I found afterwards to be wholly inaccurate and incomplete.* It was not made by the officer himself, but copied, in part probably, from the Coast Survey, not laying down the marshes correctly, nor the islands of marshes at the south end of Roanoke Island at all.

I proceeded immediately to Roanoke Island, stopping on the way to examine the narrows at Knott’s and Crow Islands, and the temporary works constructed at Currituck Canal Bridge. There I found four heavy 32-pounders placed in battery out of range of either end of the canal, one sweeping down the canal toward North River and three covering the road leading up from Powell’s Point. The battery and position of the guns were alike futile. They were mounted on navy carriages, were not manned or guarded, and could easily be flanked or enfiladed on either hand.

{p.127}

On January 7 I assumed command, in accordance with the order of the War Department, of the district assigned me, just thirty days before the enemy arrived at Roanoke Island. I arrived at the island, I think, late on January 6.

On January 7 I addressed to Colonel Shaw the letter of which the following is a copy:

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 1.}

HEADQUARTERS ROANOKE ISLAND, North Carolina, January 7, 1862.

Brig. Gen. Henry A. Wise having been ordered to the command of the district lying east of the Chowan River, with the counties of Washington and Tyrrel in addition, in North Carolina, he now announces that he takes command, in accordance with the orders of the War Department of the Confederate States.

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

Col. H. M. SHAW, Commanding, &c., Roanoke Island:

SIR: Upon conference with you, immediately on my arrival at Roanoke Island, I have issued the foregoing general order. Under this special order you will continue in command of this island until further orders. You will endeavor to have the two guns lying near Weir’s Point placed in battery at Roberts’ Fishery; assist by every means in your power the driving of piles across the Croatan Sound; construct a permanent wharf at the most eligible landing near Weir’s Point or Northwest Point, on the island; report generally upon the defenses at this point, the number and caliber of guns, and amount of ammunition and provisions, and the location of batteries, and in all respects prepare all the means in your power against any attack of the enemy by sea or land.

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

On January 8, 1862, Colonel Shaw made the report of which the following is a copy:

HEADQUARTERS FORCES ON ROANOKE ISLAND, Camp Raleigh, N. C., January 8, 1862.

Brig. Gen. HENRY A. WISE, Commanding District of Albemarle:

GENERAL: In compliance with your special order I have the honor to submit the following report of the defenses of this island, quantity of provisions and ammunition on hand, the strength of this command, &c.

The defenses at Croatan Sound consist of four batteries, mounting in the aggregate thirty guns, all 32-pounders, as follows: At Weir’s Point (Fort Huger), ten smooth-bore and two rifled guns; at Fort Blanchard, four smooth-bore guns; at Pork Point (Fort Bartow), six smooth-bore and one rifled gun, and at Redstone Point (Fort Forrest), seven smooth-bore guns. There is another battery on the Tyrrel side of Croatan Sound, at Roberts’ Fishery, already completed, but no guns have been mounted, General Hill having ordered a discontinuance of the work. Its capacity is six barbette guns. The two 12-pounders now lying on the beach at Weir’s Point will, agreeably to your orders, be mounted as soon as possible. Upon Roanoke Sound there is a small battery of two smooth-bore 32-pounders, at Midgett’s Hommock. The battery at Pork Point ought by all means to be strengthened by the addition of two pivot-mounted guns. Orders have been given for the construction of bomb-proof quarters for the detachment at Fort Blanchard; but up to this time lumber ordered for that purpose has not been received. Quarters should be constructed in the immediate vicinity of Fort Huger for the accommodation of at least one of the companies by which the guns at that battery are manned. There ought also to be built at Fort Forrest quarters not only for the company already there, but for another company necessary at that fort. Most of the guns require sights; nearly all of them have nothing but the dispart sight, which I believe is very unreliable, especially in the hands of inexperienced gunners. I submit that it is very necessary that the most improved sights be obtained at once, and, if needful, an expert artisan sent at once to adjust them.

Of light artillery there are three pieces at this post-one 24-pounder howitzer, one 18-pounder Mexican piece, and one 6-pounder; the latter brought to this place from Elizabeth City, N. C. These pieces are all mounted on carriages, with limbers, but no caissons. For operations upon this island I am not sure that caissons are necessary.

Ammunition on hand.-387 charges for 32-pounder guns; 1,300 round shot; 250 rifle {p.128} shells; 300 match primers; 83 rounds fixed ammunition (24-pounder howitzer); 1 box percussion wafers; 150 port-fires; 98 rounds 6-pounder shot; 1,000 rounds 6-pounder shot, from Elizabeth City, N. C.; 250 pounds of powder; 315 stand grape (32-pounder); 2,000 friction primers; 500 percussion primers; 150 junk wads; 400 grommet wads; 98 canister (A powder); 38 spherical-case shot; [and] 10 slow matches.

Ammunition for small-arms.-52,159 ball-cartridges for percussion; 3,320 balls; 16,578 ball-cartridges for percussion (issued one hundred and fifty pounds of lead); 17,183 ball-cartridges for flint and steel; [and] 55,000 percussion caps.

Quantity of provisions on hand.-13,682 pounds of bacon and pork; 3,420 pounds of beef; 20 barrels of beef; 2,158 pounds of hard bread; 598 pounds of lard; 265 barrels of flour; 3,692 pounds of rice; 649 pounds of coffee; 10,554 pounds of meal; 54 1/2 bushels of pease and beans; 3,082 pounds of sugar; 460 gallons of vinegar; 1,570 pounds of candles; 1,348 pounds of soap; 12+ bushels of salt; 1 barrel of fish; 58 gallons of whisky; [and] 5 boxes of yeast powder.

A call has been made for 250 free negroes, for service in the engineer’s department. These will have to be subsisted, as will also the gang of 8 men on the pile-driver.

Horses, mules, and oxen in charge of quartermaster’s department.-9 officers’ horses 6 yoke of oxen (hired by quartermaster), 2 pairs of mules (of Eighth and Thirty-first Regiments, property of Government).

The mules and oxen are used for general purposes of land transportation.

Amount of forage on hand.-725 pounds of fodder; 2 1/2 bushels of corn; 1 1/2 bushels of oats.

Orders have been given for the construction of a magazine. No regular ordnance officer has been appointed.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. M. SHAW, Colonel, Commanding, &c.

On January 8 also I addressed the following orders to Lieutenant Selden and to Colonel Shaw:

STEAMER SEA BIRD, January 8, 1862.

WILLIAM B. SELDEN, First-Lieutenant, Artillery, on Engineer Duty, &c.:

SIR: You will commence piling from Pork Point, on the eastern shore of the channel of Croatan Sound, passing that point to the western edge of that channel or Fulker’s Shoal. Place the piles 5 feet apart; wedge with poles 24 feet, alternating from pile to pile or wattling the piles therewith, and then above the poles wattling in the chain the reverse of the poles, thus:**

...

Please see Colonel Shaw and call for all his available force in assisting at the piling.

Very respectfully,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

ROANOKE ISLAND, N. C., January 8, 1862.

Colonel SHAW Commanding, &c.:

SIR: Lieutenant Selden will call for all your available force to assist in piling the Croatan Channels, which you will order, reserving whatever force may be necessary for equally necessary work-of which you must judge-such as mounting guns, building quarters, &c. You will reserve force enough especially for building wharf. Mr. Selden reports the want of civil laborers. You will please address the Governor of North Carolina on the subject of procuring free black laborers under the laws of the State, and you will take the necessary steps to obtain about 250 common laborers on the works of this island.

Respectfully,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

{p.129}

I landed on the island, and in company with Colonel Shaw and Major Duffield made a personal reconnaissance to its extreme south end. I noted three successive hommocks of high land between the breastwork for light battery and the south end, each nearly surrounded by marshes and swamps; that the dangerous points were the Hommock Landing at the south end, Pugh’s Landing on the southwestern shore, and at Ashby’s Landing just on the south side of the swamp south of Pork Point. That swamp on the right and the marshes on the left of Suple’s Hill were reported to me by Colonel Shaw to be impassable. They appeared to be so, but I ordered them to be explored and the earthworks at Suple’s Hill to be extended as far as possible on the right and left flanks. The water at Hommock Landing I ascertained to be about 4 1/2 feet. Water at high tide at Pugh’s to be from 6 to 9 feet, the channel running between the main and first island of marsh, until it passes Fulker’s Island, inside of the sound, and then widening out a mile until opposite Ashby’s Landing, up to which a vessel drawing 6 feet of water may run close in to the shore, as a large steamer of the enemy with transports did.

I saw that the enemy might land at Pugh’s or Ashby’s a portion of their force, pass the batteries with all ease, round the north end of the island, and land another portion of their forces, and gain the rear of all the batteries without exchanging a shot with them, or the least danger of damage. Not a fort was in the right position. They should have been located on the islands of marshes at the south end, with batteries at Hommock and Pugh’s Landings.

By the courtesy of Flag-Captain Lynch I passed in the Sea Bird through the channel by the light-house and returned through the channel by the Tyrrel shore. If the five batteries had been placed on those islands of marsh and on the opposite shores every channel would have been guarded and the enemy would have been cut off from landing. As it was, they could have taken the island in two hours easier than they did in two days, if they had landed (as they could easily have done) in front of the breastworks at Suple’s Hill and in rear of all the batteries on the north end of the island.

I found no teams for light artillery or for transportation, and no tools, axes, spades, shovels, or hoes for constructing breastworks.

There were two North Carolina regiments, the Eighth and Thirty-first, and a battalion of three companies of the Seventeenth, all under Colonel Shaw Their entire effective force was less than 1,500 men, and several companies of these were taken from the infantry to man the heavy guns of the batteries and part to man the gunboats of Captain Lynch.

The infantry were undrilled, unpaid, not sufficiently clothed and quartered, and were miserably armed with old flint muskets in bad order. In a word, the defenses were a sad farce of ignorance and neglect combined, inexcusable in any or all who were responsible for them.

Captain Lynch was energetic, zealous, and active, but he gave too much consequence entirely to his fleet of gunboats, which hindered transportation of piles, lumber, forage, supplies of all kinds, and of troops, by taking away the steam-tugs and converting them into perfectly imbecile gunboats. He reported to me the indefensible condition of what he called the floating battery at Redstone, on the Tyrrel side of Croatan Sound. I accorded with his request by the letter of which the following is a copy:

{p.130} :

{p.130}

STEAMER SEA BIRD, January 9, 1862.

Capt. W. F. LYNCH, Flag-Officer, &c.:

SIR: I received yours of this morning, and regret to be informed of the indefensible condition of the floating battery at Redstone Point, on Croatan Sound. I need not inform you that I have just arrived, and am yet to visit various points of defense at the Roanoke Island. On conference with Colonel Shaw I find that the report of Midshipman Gardner was made December 28 last, and immediately Colonel Shaw (December 29) issued the accompanying order, in which he states that “Midshipman Gardner, having been detailed by Flag-Officer Lynch to instruct and drill Captain White’s company, stationed in the naval battery, Captain White will see that strict obedience is given to all orders given by him while in the discharge of that duty. Captain White retains the entire command of his company, except during such hours each day as the men may be under drill by Midshipman Gardner,” &c. This order would seem to cover sufficiently all the purposes of Midshipman Gardner’s services. But this order to Captain White, you inform me, has been violated by him in not enforcing the obedience of his men under the command of Midshipman Gardner, as verbally reported by the latter to you. My desire and purposes are to co-operate with you in the way to insure the most efficient military and naval service. To that end I have issued the accompanying order, which I trust will be satisfactory.

If you claim the command of this battery as a naval battery, I yield it at once. If it is a military battery, it must be under military command. But in either case, when naval and military officers co-operate in service, the command must depend upon the laws and regulations of rank. In this case I presume that Captain White will command and rank Midshipman Gardner; yet you will observe that under my orders to Captain White, Midshipman Gardner will have ample authority to command the men for drill and instruction in working and fighting the guns and to control the magazine for artillery purposes.

The men need instruction, and I trust Midshipman Gardner will not be taken away from the battery. If you choose to regard this battery under my military command, the accompanying order, if duly enforced by Colonel Shaw in my absence, will effect our mutual desires and efforts to make the battery efficient.

With the greatest respect, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

And I issued the following special orders:

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 2.}

CAMP RALEIGH, ROANOKE ISLAND, N. C., January 9, 1862.

In constructing the wharf heretofore ordered, the commandant at this post will see that it is a permanent structure, of good, solid materials, capable of bearing the articles of transportation and landing for the army and navy. It should have an outer pier or platform large enough to bear upon it a four-horse wagon, and to accommodate at least one large steamer, with a causeway connecting it from seven feet of water with the dry laud. It should be placed where the causeway will be the shortest distance between the requisite depth of water and the dry land. The steam pile-driver will be detained for the wharf.

...

III. The commandant will cause a full and detailed report to be made of all ordnance and ordnance stores, embracing arms and ammunition issued and not issued. He will also report the amount of provisions and the whole number of persons in camp to be supplied with provisions; also the number of teams of horses, mules, or oxen now in charge of the quartermaster, and the purposed for which they are used, and the amount of forage on hand. Also whether there be a proper magazine and ordnance officer in charge, and if not, he will cause temporary magazines to be constructed of logs and earth, as fire-proof as practicable, and detail a proper ordnance officer to take charge thereof, who will receive from the quartermaster all ordnance and ordnance stores and receipt to him for the same, and issue the same upon proper vouchers to the troops. If there are no horses for field artillery, he will make requisition for a sufficient number to serve four pieces and their caissons, and procure caissons for the same-say four caissons and thirty-two horses.

IV. No firing or discharge of pieces will be allowed in camp, for the purpose of cleaning guns or for practice, without special permission or order of the commandant. The ammunition will be carefully economized.

V. No ardent spirits or wine or beer shall be allowed in camp without special order or permission of the commandant, and men or messengers will not be permitted to go to Nag’s Head unless under orders. No persons will be allowed to pass to and from the sea-beach and the island without special permission. And to prevent intercourse {p.131} with the enemy the boats and arms of all suspected persons must be seized, so as to prevent their use by such persons.

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 6.}

CAMP RALEIGH, ROANOKE ISLAND, N. C., January 9, 1862.

Captain White, Seventeenth Regiment North Carolina troops, stationed at the floating battery at Redstone Point, on Croatan Sound, will observe the order of December 29, issued by Col. H. M. Shaw, commanding, &c., in respect to the duties and powers assigned to Midshipman Gardner, detailed by Flag-Officer Lynch to instruct and drill the men at said battery. Captain White will place his men under the command of Midshipman Gardner for the purposes of drill and instruction in working and fighting the artillery pieces; and Midshipman Gardner, for such purposes, will order the men on duty as the service of drill and instruction may require, and Captain White will afford him every facility in the discharge of this duty, making him ordnance officer of the artillery and giving him charge of the magazine for artillery stores. In all other respects Captain White will command his company, and he and Midshipman Gardner (while the latter is on military duty) will report to Colonel Shaw, commanding, &c., at Roanoke Island.

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

On January 9 General Huger addressed to me the following letter,*** which I did not receive for some time after it was written.

...

It was not until January 10 that my Legion was ordered to report to me, and then it was ordered to proceed to Edenton, N. C., and at my request the orders were changed to report to me at Portsmouth, as appears by the following orders and memoranda thereon made by General Huger:

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 8.}

ADJUTANT AND INSPECTOR GENERAL’S OFFICE, Richmond, Va., January 10, 1862.

...

XXVII. All the officers and men of the Wise Legion in this city will immediately proceed to Edenton N. C., and report for duty to Brig. Gen. H. A. Wise, commanding.

By command of the Secretary of War:

JNO. WITHERS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Memorandum.]

JANUARY 11, 1862.

By request of General Wise send the men to Portsmouth, Va., for Roanoke Island.

B. H.

It was not until January 11, twenty-one days after the order was dated at Richmond assigning me to the command of the Chowan District on December 21, 1861, that Special Orders, No. 8, were issued from the headquarters of the Department of Norfolk, announcing my command, as appears by the following order:

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 8.}

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., January 11, 1862.

...

II. Brig. Gen. Henry A. Wise, having reported at these headquarters, is, in obedience to Special Orders, No. 272, Adjutant and Inspector General’s Office, Richmond, December {p.132} 21, 1861, assigned to the command of the military district composed of that part of North Carolina east of the Chowan River, together with the counties of Washington and Tyrrel, which will be designated as the Fourth Brigade, Department of Norfolk. General Wise will establish his headquarters (subject to the approval of the major-general commanding the department) at the most central and accessible point to the forces of his brigade.

By command of Major-General Huger:

S. S. ANDERSON, Assistant Adjutant-General.

When I went to Roanoke Island on the 6th the pile-driver from the navy-yard reached there about the same time, and on January 2 I wrote to the Secretary of War for authority to procure several others. I received a reply of which the following is a copy:

CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, Va., January 12, 1862.

Brig. Gen. HENRY A. WISE, Norfolk, Va.:

SIR: I have your favor of the 2d instant. On inquiry I find that but one steam pile-driver can be procured, viz, one at the navy-yard in Norfolk, and if that is the one you have, it is the only one to be obtained. I am told, however, that one other exists that is accessible, and was tendered for the service you are now supervising by the owners at Morehead, in North Carolina. The Secretary of the Navy tells me that these two pile-drivers are the only ones that exist in the waters in our neighborhood, and it must be one of the two that is now in your possession.

I have not yet seen your requisition for munitions, but think there can be no difficulty in sending you from here a moderate supply of fixed ammunition for field pieces; but our supply of cannon powder is very limited. At the first indication, however, of an attack on Roanoke Island a supply will be sent you. With the number of batteries now requiring a supply we have a very small reserve, that we can only part with to the point that may be actually attacked. I am in daily hope of the receipt of a handsome importation of powder from abroad, and the instant it arrives you shall be supplied.

Your obedient servant,

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

While the Secretaries of War and of the Navy were thus uninformed of any but two pile-drivers, three within reach were offered to my command by Messrs. Parks and Culpeper, of Norfolk, and by Dr. Warren, of Edenton.

I had hurried back to Norfolk from Roanoke Island, and made in person the strongest verbal representations of the defenseless condition of the post to General Huger and left a memorandum of the necessary requisitions. I particularly impressed upon him the necessity of making the defenses at the marshes at the south end of the island. On January 13 he gave me the instructions of which the following is a copy.***

...

These were the first instructions, on January 13, which I received from General Huger; he adopted my own proposition to establish batteries on the marshes; he postponed my proposition for several permanent batteries, probably for want of time, but he did not consider that the enemy might probably come before the two-gun batteries he proposed could be begun. The wharves were to be constructed, too, laborers, tools, and machines had to be gotten and materials transported; he did not seem to calculate upon an early approach of the enemy; he did not appreciate the shortness of time, the want of men and means to do {p.133} and undo all this work, nor the stormy and inclement season of winter on a Hatteras coast, which cut off more than half of the remaining short time; he wholly overlooked the very contingency which happened, of the enemy’s arrival before these batteries at the marshes could be begun, much less completed; nor did he estimate that the enemy might land on the beach north of Oregon Inlet and cross over to the island by wading, as they could the Roanoke Channel, or by barges out of reach of the battery on that sound. In a word, he formed his conclusion that large forces were not required, not from the state of things which did but from that which did not exist, and probably could not exist from shortness of time, stormy winter weather, and want of men and means. The change of defense of batteries on the marshes, instead of at the places where they were put, was all essential-so absolutely necessary that steps ought to have been taken by all means to effect it, in order to make any force effectual, and to reduce the force necessary for defense; but in any event a large force was necessary, and if the change could not be effected, the largest of forces was necessary. What if the enemy came while we were in the act of the change? This they did, and this General Huger did not take into his calculations. Who is responsible for the location of the batteries on the island and their malconstruction and efficiency, I am not informed.

On the same day I addressed to him a letter of which the following is a copy:

NORFOLK, VA., January 13, 1862.

Maj. Gen. B. HUGER, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: I have left in your office a memorandum of requisitions for additional pile-drivers, for a steam dredging-machine, for steam-tugs and barges for transporting forces, for more ammunition, and for an additional number of large artillery pieces, &c. The items were specified, but will be more formally prepared if necessary or required. Under your orders to make all efforts to carry on all necessary work at Roanoke Island I will proceed at once to employ or procure the laborers necessary, such as free blacks and slaves, under the laws of North Carolina, and to do whatever is necessary without further authority: At the same time, sir, I will refer to you at all times for your orders, advice, and permission, whenever it is practicable to do so. Indeed, I report that Roanoke Island is now in a defenseless condition and in presence of a very formidable enemy’s force. My Legion is ordered to report here or at Portsmouth, but has not arrived. I beg you to urge on their movement and have them forwarded as soon as possible.

The Burnside expedition is reported as having sailed. Independent of that, the force now at Hatteras Inlet can pass or take Roanoke Island, and pardon me for saying that I respectfully differ from the opinion you expressed in your orders to-day, that to prevent the enemy’s gunboats from passing the marshes at the south end will also prevent any landing. Batteries at the marshes are vitally essential to prevent the gunboats from passing into Croatan Sound, but they will not prevent the landing on the south or east end of the island. At least 3,000 infantry are needed on the island, and a considerable force, say 1,500 more, are needed on the beaches, and if the enemy pass Roanoke, 5,000 at least are necessary to fight them on the tongues of land on the north side of Albemarle Sound. We need on the beach and on the island at least eight field pieces and the carriages and caissons necessary. We require thirty-two horses for the artillery. The guns at Redstone are necessary where they are. We need at least six heavy pieces at the south-end marshes and two at least at Fleetwood Point. The wharves necessary I will proceed at once to have constructed. A large amount of lumber is needed for quarters. You will please bear in mind that as yet the infantry have to man the batteries. There are no trained artillery companies at the island now; therefore it is that I ask for the transfer to my command of Captain Grandy’s company of artillery, now at Sewell’s Point.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

{p.134}

And on the same day, January 13, I addressed to the Secretary of War a letter of which the following is an extract:

NORFOLK, VA., January 13, 1862.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War, &c.:

SIR: It is very important that my Legion should be forwarded as speedily and in as large a force as possible. The defense of Roanoke Island, which is the key of all the rear defenses of Norfolk and its canals and railroads, is committed to my charge, and I have just returned from a reconnaissance of that point. It is now utterly defenseless. No preparations have been made there at all adequate. General Huger has given me a large authority to do whatever is necessary and has advised what he deems proper in my command; but we have very limited means, and not half time enough to prepare to meet an enemy who is now almost in our immediate presence in very formidable force. Twice the number of my Legion is necessary, and I beg that the place of my Third Regiment may be speedily filled or that it may be restored. If that cannot be done, or whether that can be done or not, I ask that the officers of the forces left me may be duly commissioned from the time they were nominated by me and that they have served. The incomplete report of the organization of my Legion, dated August 13 last, is in your office. On it, indorsed in pencil, I found your order for the commissions to be issued according to the report. They were not issued, and I found that the report was not indexed or recorded. The only excuse given me was that the report was not signed by me. It was signed by Assistant Adjutant-General Tabb by my order, and it was recognized by you in your order. That order has not been obeyed, and I ask that the commissions then ordered be issued, not to take effect from their respective dates of nomination and service.

Again, on January 14, I addressed to General Huger a letter of which the following is a copy:

ROLLISTON, NEAR NORFOLK, VA., January 15, 1862.

Maj. Gen. B. HUGER, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: Yours of January 11, 1862, assigning me to the command of my appointed military district, designated as the Fourth Brigade, Department of Norfolk, was received late last evening.

As reported verbally to you I have already visited the district, assumed command, and issued such orders as I was proud to find met with your approbation. You were also informed by memorandum, and since in writing, of the requisition for my command. I am now awaiting the arrival of a portion of my Legion. As soon as it is moved to Roanoke Island I desire to visit the War Department, to look after that portion of the Legion on its way and to attend to the issuing of commissions for certain of my officers. I am ordered to establish my headquarters, subject to your approval, at the most central and accessible point to the forces of my brigade. Permit me to call your attention, sir, to the fact that the most central are not the most accessible points in my command. Elizabeth City is most central and accessible by land from Norfolk; by water from Roanoke Island 45 miles either way; but there are times in foggy weather when the sound is impassable, and in stormy weather when it is unsafe, Currituck Court-House (called Crawford) is on the line of the Albemarle and Chesapeake Bay Canal and more accessible, but still remote from the main body of forces at Roanoke Island, and the Albemarle Sound has to be passed to and from the island. Hertford, Nixonton, or Edenton are still more remote, with the same objection of delay and danger by water navigation. The key of the whole command is Roanoke Island, and the only quarters yet erected near it are at Nag’s Head. With your approval I propose to adopt the latter as my headquarters, to be changed, of course, as necessity or experience may dictate.

I found a long wooden building erected at Roanoke Island for a hospital. The island is unsafe as a medical depot and hospital, and the spot selected is near a marsh and swamp, which must be, and is reported to be, unhealthy and beset in summer by mosquitoes. On consultation with Surgeon-General De Leon I have ordered Surgeon Lyons to proceed at once to Currituck Court-House and examine that place for a hospital site. It is both healthy and safe, and accessible to the forces at Roanoke Island and to medical supplies at Norfolk.

As soon as my forces arrive and I can make the selection I will detail a suitable officer from my brigade to report to your headquarters as acting assistant inspector-general.

I will also examine whether the provision returns of the respective regiments and posts of my brigade correspond with their morning reports, and I will see that the hospital and commissary returns do not exceed the whole force. This, though, can only be done when my forces shall have arrived and been posted.

{p.135}

General Orders, No. 50, shall be strictly observed. General Orders, No. 65, calls my attention to General Orders, No. 46, dated August 1, 1861, of which I have no copy and am not informed. I ask a copy, in order that it may be promptly obeyed. Are these orders explained by the letter of the Assistant Adjutant-General of January 9 instant?

Very respectfully, &c.,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

On the 15th I again addressed to General Huger a letter of which the following is a copy:

NEAR NORFOLK, VA., January 15, 1862.

Major-General HUGER, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: I ordered Lieutenant Bagwell to procure a boat, with oars, from the navy-yard fit for sounding the channels of Croatan Sound. He made the within request informally on his friend Captain Lee to save time, expecting to observe official forms afterward. It is absolutely necessary to have a boat belonging to the army, to be immediately and constantly in the sounding service for weeks. It may be sent with the First Regiment of my Legion (just arrived). I beg, therefore, that you will approve of my request to Flag-Officer F. Forrest, to order a proper boat, oars, &c.,to be transferred to the army for my command.

There are two brass boat howitzers, mounted as field pieces, at the navy-yard, which Captains Lee and Fairfax (in the absence of Flag-Officer Forrest, with the consent of Captain Lynch) said might be allowed to the commands of Captains Lynch and myself. Captain Lynch agreed that I might have one of them, and the two carriages, harness, &c., for my command, while he would take the other for his boats. They are the guns returned to the navy-yard by Colonel Wright from Roanoke Island; and there are also two 12-pounder guns, which Captains Lee and Fairfax said could be spared to the army, and which can be mounted soon in the yard. Will you please approve of my requisition on the flag-officer for these three guns, carriages, &c., and apprise him thereof. The brass howitzers and two carriages are ready now, and I ask that they may be obtained in time to be sent down with my First Regiment of Infantry.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

On the same day I ordered Col. W. J. Green as follows:

NORFOLK, VA., January 15, 1862.

Col. WHARTON J. GREEN, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: You will as early as practicable move your whole force from Wilmington, N. C., to Norfolk, Va., and there report to General Huger for transportation to Roanoke Island. Bring with your men all the outfit which you can procure at Wilmington, and make requisitions at Norfolk for deficiencies. Prompt movement is necessary, as the enemy are near in large force.

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

I returned from Roanoke Island to Norfolk on January 11, and on the 15th addressed to the Secretary of War a letter of which the following is a copy:

NEAR NORFOLK, VA., January 15, 1862

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War, &c.:

Yours of the 12th, in reply to mine of the 2d instant, is just received. I am sure you will not adjudge me importunate when I inform you that I returned from Roanoke. Island to Norfolk last Saturday. I hastened back, after a short reconnaissance, to apprise headquarters and the Department that there are no defenses there; no adequate preparations whatever to meet the enemy, and to forward all the means in my reach as speedily as possible to make the key of all the rear of Norfolk, with its canals and railroads, safe. Inside of Hatteras Inlet I found twenty-four vessels of light draught, eight of which, at least, are steamers, said to carry four guns each. They are, at farthest, but 30 miles from Roanoke Island, and can reach there in four hours or less, to attack five small gunboats under Captain Lynch and four small {p.136} land batteries wholly inefficient. Any boat drawing 7 feet of water or less can pass the Croatan Sound as far off as 1+ miles from any battery, and the enemy’s guns can silence our batteries there in a very short time. Neither battery is casemated, and our men now there are untrained to heavy pieces mounted on navy carriages. The moment the enemy passes Croatan Channel the North Landing River, North River, Pasquotank, Chowan, and Roanoke, Alligator, and Scuppernong Rivers, and the Dismal Swamp and Albemarle and Chesapeake Canals will be blockaded effectually, and Norfolk and Portsmouth will be cut off from supplies of corn, pork, and forage. The force at Hatteras is independent of the Burnside expedition. No matter where the latter is, the former is amply sufficient to capture or pass Roanoke Island in any twelve hours. Let me say, then, sir, that if we are to wait for powder from Richmond until we are attacked at that island, that attack will be capture, and our defeat will precede our supply of ammunition. The case is too urgent for me to delay speaking thus out plainly at once.

We have the navy-yard pile-driver. I took it down and put it to work. It can drive about twenty piles per diem, and can work, perhaps, not three days in the week; drives its piles 8 feet apart, and has at least 3 miles to pile. You can see, then, how slowly we can obstruct the channels with but one pile-driver. I can procure three others-one in a day or two and two in a week or two.

We want also a steam dredging-machine, to fix our floating batteries in the marshes. That I can procure here. We want a number of decked lighters and barges, on which to transport and mount heavy guns in the marshes and to use as “camels” for the pile-drivers. We want also large transport boats and steam-tugs, to throw infantry and artillery across wide channels from the island to the beaches on the main. We want ammunition and men. In a word, almost every preparation has to be made. To make them and to do the least that is necessary I ask, in the emergency, for plenary power, to order what is necessary and to procure what I can get without the delay of observing forms and without making special requisitions for every want. Delay is defeat now at Roanoke Island, and with present means Captain Lynch and I combined cannot guarantee successful defense for a day. I beg, sir, that you will urge this upon the Navy Department, and believe that I am not superserviceable in this urgency.

With the highest respect, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

At this time the First Regiment of Infantry of my Legion arrived in Norfolk, numbering nine companies, averaging about 45 men, making a total of about 405 privates; and on the 16th I issued to Colonel Richardson, of that regiment, the special order of which the following is a copy:

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 16.}

NORFOLK, VA., January 16, 1862.

Colonel Richardson, of the First Regiment of Infantry, Wise Legion, having reported the arrival of his regiment in Norfolk, he will proceed, as early as practicable, by the way of the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, to transport his troops to Roanoke Island, N. C. To that end, before moving, he will see that thirty days’ rations for at least 1,000 men are forwarded for the Legion and placed in charge of A. Kinney, acting commissary, in the place of Maj. William H. Thomas, during the absence of the latter; he will see that no provisions are drawn from the commissary of the Legion for more than his actual force, as reported by the morning and hospital returns; he will see the ordnance officer at Norfolk, and ascertain the amount of ammunition and ordnance stores in depot there or at Portsmouth for the Legion, and he will detail some one competent officer to take charge thereof, as acting ordnance officer of the Legion, who will act until further orders, and have the same conveyed to the post at Roanoke Island under guard of Colonel Richardson’s command, on its way there, and there put it in a magazine; he will also see the quartermaster at Norfolk, and ascertain whether the means of transportation have been provided, seeking information from Marshall Parks, the president of the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, as to the capacity and comfort of his steam-tugs and barges for transportation, and seeing that they are sufficiently heated and ventilated, and when he arrives at Roanoke Island he will report to Col. Hill Shaw, commanding, &c.; and if sufficient quarters are not in readiness on the island for his troops, he will land his men at the wharf of Nag’s Head, on the beach opposite the north end of the island, and take quarters in the cabins and cottages there erected, occupying such as maybe pointed out by the proprietor, Mr. Happer; he will take command there until further orders as of a separate post for the Legion, and as the east and central portions of the beach can be shelled by the enemy from the sea-side, he will, as far as practicable, occupy the west side of the beach next the Roanoke Channel or Sound; he will at once establish the strictest discipline of drill, guard, and vedette duty, keeping a vigilant lookout as far down as Oregon Inlet, and as high up {p.137} as Gallop’s, opposite Powell’s Point on the main, and keeping up a regular and ample ferry across the Roanoke Channel to the part of the island opposite; he will observe the accompanying orders from headquarters, and allow of no firing or ardent spirits in his camp, except what may be allowed by his own special permission. Owing to the scarcity of powder the order as to firing must be rigidly adhered to, and strong and intoxicating drinks must be issued by the sutlers under the strictest regulations, enforcing moderation and sobriety.

The enemy are near, within a few hours’ steaming; attack is hourly expected, and the camp must be in constant order and readiness; and to prevent attracting the enemy’s steamers the men must not be allowed to appear in any bodies by daylight, and no fires must be kindled day or night on the sea-side. Fuel must be regularly supplied on the sound side, and covered ways of logs and sand provided against the enemy’s shells behind the sand hills on that side. If the enemy attempts to land on either side of the beach north of Oregon Inlet within reach, he must be attacked by all means, and if our forces are obliged to retreat before superior numbers, they will either cross in the ferry to the forts on Roanoke Island or move northward on the western shore of the beach up to Gallop’s, and there cross in the ferry over Currituck Sound to Powell’s Point on the main. They will never retreat unless compelled, and then in good order, saving all stores and equipage

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

I then hurried to Richmond to forward the remaining corps of my Legion and to urge upon the War Department the necessity of expediting the defenses of Roanoke Island. I was allowed but a short and cursory interview with the Secretary of War, but pressed upon him the necessity of supplies and re-enforcements and of forwarding the whole force of my Legion; and on January 18 I ordered Colonel Henningsen to visit the Governor of North Carolina in person, with instructions and a letter of which the following are copies:

RICHMOND, VA., January 18, 1862.

Col. C. F. HENNINGSEN, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: You will take charge of the inclosed letter to His Excellency the Governor of North Carolina. You will confer with him on the defenses of that part of his State confided to my command. You will inform him fully of all the lack of preparations for defense, especially at Roanoke Island. You will impress upon him the importance of those defenses as objects for the enemy to attack. Their main aim is to shut up the rear of Norfolk and the forces there; attack on Wilmington is minor, but the forces of the enemy at Hatteras and with Burnside are ample for invading both Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds. You will urge upon him the necessity to obtain permanent recruits for my Legion, and arms and ammunition, barges, lighters, dredging-machines, pile-drivers, steam tug-boats, negro laborers, &c.

You will look at the within and note its purport as to his executive circular respecting corps formed from the North Carolina Militia, and as to the regret of Colonel Martin, of North Carolina, who, with his men (late prisoners at Hatteras), are now discharged from their paroles, &c. You will, in a word, obtain all the aid you can in any and every form from Governor Clark, and then as early as practicable report to me at Roanoke Island.

In the mean time you will turn over the command of the Second Regiment of the infantry of the Legion to Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson, and issue orders to him to have the Second Regiment in readiness to proceed to Norfolk on Tuesday next, January 28 instant, and to proceed on that day and there report to Maj. Gen. Ben. Huger, commanding, &c., not using his quartermaster and commissary for subsistence and transportation to Roanoke Island, N. C. If he arrives there prior to my return to the island he will report to Colonel Shaw, commanding, &c., at the posh and take quarters, as they can best be provided, either on Roanoke Island or at Nag’s Head, on the sea-beach. He will apply to Lieutenant-Colonel Richardson, of the First Regiment, for copies of the general orders of the Legion at Nag’s Head.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General, Fourth Brigade, Department of Norfolk.

RICHMOND, VA., January 15, 1862.

To His Excellency Governor CLARK, North Carolina:

SIR: I have made but a brief reconnaissance of the defenses of the counties of your Commonwealth under my command; but, brief as it was, it startled me with the conviction {p.138} that the large fleet of vessels and steamers inside of Hatteras Inlet can pass Roanoke Island at any hour and blockade all the waters of Albemarle and Currituck Sounds, shutting up the Dismal Swamp and Albemarle and Chesapeake Canals, cutting Norfolk and Portsmouth off from supplies, and North Carolina off from trade, and threatening the Seaboard and Roanoke and the Petersburg and Norfolk Railroads.

Roanoke Island is the key, of all these defenses, and is wholly unprepared, in every respect, to repulse an enemy as formidable as that inside of Hatteras Inlet. The fleet there is independent of the Burnside expedition. Eight of the ships are steamers and sixteen sailing vessels, unless those masted have steam propellers also. We want everything in the way both of personnel and materiel-men, laborers, organization, drill, ammunition, piles, pile-drivers, dredging-machines, barges, boats, steam-tugs, &c. I am here urging and hastening preparations. I appeal to you for aid, and with that view tend General C. F. Henningsen, colonel of the Second Regiment of the infantry of my Legion and commander of my corps of artillery, to confer with you in person.

The Burnside expedition and the fleet at Hatteras may threaten Wilmington, it is true, but my opinion is that the enemy’s two fleets are ample to endanger both Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds alike, and as the objects of attack upon the rear defenses of Norfolk and Portsmouth are the more important and vital, it is reasonable to suppose that the enemy will pursue the larger game with the larger force, and the lesser is ample to pass and capture all the present defenses of Albemarle Sound.

By circular, under your orders, I am informed that you gave power to call out the militia of certain counties, including those in my command, taking one-third of each regiment either by enlistment or allotment. Will you please say how I may make requisitions? How the men are to be called out and report for duty? And may I suggest, sir, that unwilling men-not volunteering really-are not reliable, and will you permit me and aid me in inducing companies, battalions, or regiments to enlist in my Legion for the war and to join the Confederate service under the liberal regulations of the late law of Congress? Permit me also to call your attention to the fact that there are three companies belonging to the regiment lately under Colonel Martin, fragments of the North Carolina regiment captured at Hatteras. Colonel Martin and the prisoners of his regiment are now released from their parole as prisoners and may reform their regiment. I saw Colonel Martin at Elizabeth City lately, and I ask that you will, with his consent, assign him to my command, and assent that his regiment may be incorporated in my Legion.

General Henningsen will present you with his views of the defense of North Carolina and with other of my views also, and I beg you to believe that, however much I may lack the ability, I will devote to your defense all my energy, faithfulness, and care.

With great respect, sir, I am, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General, Fourth Brigade, Department of Norfolk and North Carolina.

The Secretary of War replied verbally to my urgent appeals for re-enforcements that he had not the men to be spared for my command. I asked for the restoration of my Third Regiment, which had been taken from me, for the reason that they had been raised to defend Western Virginia and then had been sent to South Carolina. This was not granted. I then urged that General Huger had about 15,000 men in the front of Norfolk, lying idle in camp for eight months, and that a considerable portion of them could be spared for the defense of the rear of Norfolk, and especially as my district supplied Norfolk and his army with nearly or quite all of its corn, pork, and forage; that re-enforcements at Roanoke Island were as absolutely necessary to the defense of Norfolk as forces in its front, and that particular or special posts should not be allowed to monopolize nearly all the men, powder, and supplies. Failing to obtain any definite reply to this appeal, I then resorted to an attempt to procure the addition to my forces of a few men (about 150) at Norfolk, who had escaped from the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and addressed to the Secretary of War a letter of January 19, of which the following is a copy:

RICHMOND, VA., January 19, 1862.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

SIR: The regiment raised for service on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Accomack, and Northampton Counties, commanded by Col. Charles Smith, has been dispersed, as you know, by the weakness of its local position and the orders of its commander. {p.139} A portion of that regiment escaped to York River and Norfolk posts. The number of men would form two, perhaps three, good companies, but they consist of fragments of companies, under different company officers, who cannot or will not unite so as to form full companies, and it is certain that their regiment cannot be reconstructed or reformed. Most, if not all, of these men are assigned to the department of Major-General Huger, in which mine is the Fourth Brigade. Now, these men are natives of my native peninsula, are known to me, and I have a special regard for them, as I have reason to believe they have for me personally. I ask, by way of repairing the damage done to my Legion by taking from it fourteen companies, disbanding one, and nearly destroying two, in all seventeen companies, of which I have been deprived, that these companies may be transferred to my command. I will reorganize them into two or more companies, with the aid of some recruits, and then I propose that they may be discharged from their former service, on condition that they will elect their own company officers and enlist for the war under the late law of Congress. This, I am authorized to say, meets the approbation of General Huger, who will recommend the transfer, and I trust the whole proposition will be at once adopted by you.

Most respectfully,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

Instead of complying with this request to first transfer them to my command and then to allow them to be mustered out of service on condition that they would re-enlist, the Department ordered that they should first be mustered out of service, and then left it to their option to join my command or not. The consequence was, they were mustered out of service and were entirely disbanded and scattered.

From January 19 to the 22d, at Richmond, I was actively and constantly employed in issuing orders and in urging the forwarding of my artillery and other remaining corps of the Legion.

Dr. Thomas D. Warren, of Edenton, N. C., an active and efficient patriot, having tendered to me his services as a volunteer aide, on January 21 I addressed to him a letter of which the following is a copy:

RICHMOND, VA., January 21, 1862.

Dr. THOMAS D. WARREN:

DEAR SIR: Yours of the 17th instant is just received here. You are ordered to be announced as one of my volunteer aides. You will order Colonel Shaw, from me, to have the piles sent for as early and as fast as possible. You can always get a vessel at Elizabeth City. If the piles cannot be driven fast enough he will sink vessels. If the price is too high (the demanded price), he will have them appraised, and at all events will sink enough to obstruct the channels at material points next the piling, taking all he can get for that purpose and if all are not necessary to be used, he will use first the lowest price vessels. You will see to this, taking post at Edenton and superintending transportation and supplies.

Hastily, yours,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

Previously I had sent Captain Bolton and Lieutenant Bagwell to Roanoke Island, to superintend the pile-driving and to sound the channels of Croatan and Roanoke Sounds. They were ordered on this duty January 15.

On January 22, in reply to all my urgent appeals for the means of defense, I received the order of which the following is a copy:

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 17.}

ADJUTANT AND INSPECTOR GENERAL’S OFFICE, Richmond, Va., January 22, 1862.

...

XXXII. Brig. Gen. Henry A. Wise, Provisional Army, will immediately proceed to Roanoke Island, N. C., and assume command of the Confederate States troops at that place.

...

By command of the Secretary of War:

JNO. WITHERS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

{p.140}

I immediately replied by letter, of which the following is a copy:

RICHMOND, VA., January 22, 1862.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

SIR: Your order of to-day, to “immediately proceed to Roanoke Island, N. C., and assume command of the Confederate States troops at that place,” is received. I will proceed immediately, as commanded; but it is just to myself to say that I had proceeded heretofore to Roanoke Island and assumed command, but finding no adequate preparations whatever to meet an enemy at that place I hastened on to Richmond, to forward that portion of my Legion remaining here and to obtain necessary authority to procure the means of defense.

I am without an ordnance officer or an assistant inspector-general, and various requisitions are delayed here, so that my artillery cannot be forwarded.

I beg respectfully that the Department will expedite the forwarding of my troops and furnish them with the actual necessities of the service.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

The next day (January 23) I returned to Norfolk, and hastened home to prepare to execute the order of the 22d, which was peremptory, and left me no election but to go to Roanoke Island, assume command of that post, and defend it as best I could with or without men or means.

In reply to my order to Lieutenant-Colonel Green to report to me as early as practicable, he informed me that he had been detained by Brig. Gen. J. R. Anderson at Wilmington until he could get information from the Secretary of War whether to obey my order or not. I immediately, on January 25, sent him an order of which the following is a copy:

ROLLISTON, NEAR NORFOLK, VA., January 25, 1862.

W. J. GREEN, Lieutenant-Colonel, &c.:

SIR: I did not, of course, issue orders to you without conferring with the Secretary of War before you were sent to Wilmington as part of my Legion to recruit, and since when I was ordered to North Carolina. In both instances you were acknowledged as part of my Legion, subject to my orders. I therefore report to you the order to at once move from Wilmington to Norfolk, and thence to Roanoke Island, where you will report to me in person.

Your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

I also the same day addressed a letter to the Secretary of War of which the following is a copy:

NEAR NORFOLK, VA., January 25, 1862.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

SIR: I am detained here by stress of weather and want of transportation to Roanoke Island. To-morrow, probably, or next day, I depart for that post. To-day Lieut. Col. Wharton J. Green reports from Wilmington, N. C., that on reporting to General Anderson my orders to Colonel Green to move to Roanoke Island, General Anderson, commanding the Cape Fear District, objected, until he could communicate with the Secretary of War. I beg that you will at once inform General Anderson that Colonel Green’s command was sent to Wilmington simply to winter and to recruit; that they belong to my brigade (the Legion), and that they are essential to the defense of Roanoke Island; a more important point than Wilmington. This hinderance at this time is annoying and might prove fatal. Colonel Green reports to me seven companies, and the probable completion of his regiment in a week from the 23d instant. I have repeated my orders to him to move to Roanoke Island via Norfolk. I hope you will promptly sustain me in this.

With the highest respect, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

{p.141}

The Department ordered Colonel Green on, but his arrival at Roanoke Island was on the morning of February 8, while the, action was raging, in which his battalion of five companies, about 450 men, were not engaged at all, but they arrived quite in time to be captured. Thus by this interruption I was deprived of this re-enforcement. My Second Regiment, but eight companies (about 350 men), was not forwarded from Norfolk until the evening of January 25, and arrived at Nag’s Head on January 27.

On January 26, at home, I received from the Secretary of War a letter, dated January 23, of which the following is a copy:

CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, Va., January 23, 1862.

Brig. Gen. HENRY A. WISE, Norfolk, Va.:

SIR: I have your letter of yesterday, giving me information of your intended immediate departure for Roanoke Island. The terms of your letter imply the idea that you consider the order as being in some way a reflection on your absence from that post at this time. I write therefore to say, as due to you, that nothing was further from my thoughts. I knew you to be here on useful public service connected with your command, and my order was only issued because of receipt of information that an immediate attack was threatened on your post; and I well knew that in such case you would feel grateful for being allowed the opportunity of assuming your command and would be much mortified if accidentally absent. I will take pleasure in attending to your requests and help you to the best of my ability.

Yours, respectfully,

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

I immediately replied by letter of which the following is a copy:

ROLLISTON, NEAR NORFOLK, January 26, 1862.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

SIR: I express to you gratefully my acknowledgments for yours of the 23d instant. Your order to be at my post in the hour of apprehended danger was very proper, yet it relieves my absence from reproach to have it said that I hastened away from it only to return as speedily as possible with the means of its defense. The weather has delayed here the transportation of my Second Regiment of Infantry. They started yesterday for Roanoke Island, and I depart to-morrow, if a steam tug, through the canal, can be found. You, I am certain, would have me succeed triumphantly in my duties, and will excuse even eager, as well as anxious, appeals for the means of victory.

Wherever the Burnside expedition may be, the forces of the enemy already in the Hatteras Inlet are sufficient to overwhelm the present forces and means of defense.

I avail myself of your kindness in attending to my requests and helping me to the best of your ability, by asking that you will order commissions to be issued to the following officers: Maj. C. B. Duffield, of cavalry; Ordnance Officer James H. Pearce; Assist. Inspector-General H. Dugan; Adjutant (of the First Regiment of Infantry) Henry A. Wise, jr., and Second Lieuts. (in the Engineer Corps, Artillery) T. C. Kinney, C. Ellis Munford, and R. A. Wise, &c.

Please order the forces of my Legion under Colonel Green, at Wilmington, N. C., and the two companies at Staunton, assigned to the command of Col. N. Tyler, to be forwarded to me, and order my artillery corps at Richmond to be furnished with guns, carriages, and caissons and forwarded. I beg you also to order back to me the Third Regiment of Infantry taken from my command.

With the highest respect, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

On January 28 I addressed to the Secretary of War a letter informing him that at last I had procured transportation to Roanoke Island; that I would leave that evening at 4 p.m., and begging him to forward my artillery corps and pieces.

I had gone to Norfolk on Monday (the 27th) to start for the island.

{p.142}

The steam-tug could not promise to start before Tuesday evening, the 28th. At 1.30 p.m. we started, and the tug broke down before getting to Portsmouth, and had herself to be towed back to Norfolk by the ferry-boat. We were detained until the evening of the next day (the 29th) for repairs to the tug.

On January 28 I issued various orders in Norfolk to expedite preparations at the island, among others those of which the following are copies:

NORFOLK, VA., January 28, 1862.

Lieut. JAMES H. PEARCE, Ordnance Officer, &c.:

SIR: You will report to Major-General Huger as the ordnance officer of my Legion. You will ask him for orders to take a gun-carriage and limber, or 12-pounder, or 9-pounder, now at Kempsville. It is one of three artillery pieces, mounted at the navy-yard, and allowed, with carriages, &c., to be issued to me in the spring of 1861 for the defense of Lynn Haven shore. Two of the pieces, I am informed, were taken away from Kempsville, under orders from General Huger. The other is there under no command that I know of and I desire it to be restored to me. I am personally responsible for all three pieces, as they were issued to me by Flag-Officer Forrest before I was commissioned or had a command, and were taken in my absence at the West. I desire to have all three returned to me, and you will so request of General Huger; but you will especially request to be allowed horses by the quartermaster here to bring the gun from Kempsville to Norfolk, in order that it may be taken to Roanoke Island.

You will also call upon Flag-Officer Forrest, at the navy-yard, and ask for one brass howitzer, allowed to be taken by me, with the consent of Captain Lynch, to whose command it belonged. It is one of two pieces loaned by Captain Lynch to Colonel Wright, and returned by the latter to the navy-yard. Now, Captain Lynch consents that I shall have one of the pieces, with both carriages, caissons, harness; &c.

You will also apply at the navy-yard for two iron 12-pounder pieces, their carriages, caissons, &c. As fast as obtained you will forward these four pieces, &c., to me at Roanoke Island. To this end you will remain here not more than eight days, and within that time proceed to Roanoke Island as early as you can; and while here you will consider yourself detailed to look after and arrest deserters and stragglers from my command. I am informed that some of my men are now on board the Merrimac. You will take orders and proper steps to arrest them and send them on to Roanoke Island.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

NORFOLK, VA., January 28, 1862.

Maj. F. D. CLEARY, Quartermaster, &c.:

SIR: You will proceed as early as practicable to procure for the service at Roanoke Island, its marshes, &c., at Nag’s Head, the following implements and materials:

Pile-drivers-Three can be obtained: one from Capt. M. Parks, and one from Mr. Culpeper, at Norfolk, Va., and one from Dr. Thomas Warren, Edenton, N. C. Each will require a crew of six men.

Dredging-machine-One; to be procured from the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal Company, of Capt. M. Parks. They require a double crew of 24 men.

Lighters.-Eight; 50 or 60 feet long, 31 or 4 feet deep, and 12 or 15 feet wide, well calked and made water-tight.

Lumber.-Twenty thousand feet of 1-inch plank (sorted), from 12 to 20 feet long; 17,000 superficial, or 42,500 board measure; decking-plank, 2 1/2 inches thick. Scantling, 6 by 4 inches, 16 feet long; in all 12,000 feet long. Plank for wharves, 12 feet long, 2 inches thick; in all 26,000 feet, board measure. Piles, 1,500, 14 feet long; 1,000, 18 feet long; 500, 22 feet long; 1,500, 20 feet long.

Nails.-Whatever is necessary.

The piles, plank, and scantling you will get best, probably, through Dr. Warren, of Edenton, N. C., and the lighters from the Dismal Swamp Canal.

You will also procure such number of cooking and warming stoves as you may deem necessary for the Legion; and also such an assortment of axes, hoes, spades, shovels, and other implements as are necessary for constructing the works at Roanoke Island, and forward the same as early as possible to that post.

Very respectfully,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

{p.143}

On the night of January 28 Colonel Henningsen arrived in Norfolk with fragments of three companies of my artillery.

On the 29th, as I was departing from the wharf at Norfolk, I ordered him to send his men and horses by land over the sand bridge to the sea-side beach and thence by the shore to Nag’s Head-all except men enough to guard his guns, carriages, caissons, and ordnance stores-and these would be shipped on the barges and towed down to the lower section of the canal at Currituck Canal Bridge, where they would be met by tugs and barges from the island. This order could have been executed in two or three days at most, and the artillery could have reached me by February 1 or 2. I had previously sent my own private wagon the same route to the point opposite Knott’s and Crow Islands, and the beach road the whole way to Nag’s Head is not only practicable, but the very best and firmest road in all this section.

I found Lieutenant Gallop, of the Eighth North Carolina Regiment (son of Mr. Gallop, who keeps the ferry between the beach and Powell’s Point), on Roanoke Island, and from him got a minute description of the whole route, and gave a memorandum of the way to Lieutenant Pearce and Quartermaster Webb, of the artillery, for Colonel Henningsen, whom I saw at the wharf and to whom I gave the order and description of the route.

By the reports of Colonel Henningsen and Lieutenant Pearce, of which the following are copies, it seems that General Huger thought differently of the beach route; changed my order to Colonel Henningsen, and attempted to send the artillery by land to Powell’s Point, and the fatal consequence was that Colonel Henningsen, with more than 100 men and six field pieces, well mounted, did not reach me at all before the island was captured, and joined me not at all until after I fell back to Currituck Court-House, eight days after the action:

Extract from Colonel Henningsen’s report.

On Tuesday, January 28, about 12 p.m., reached Norfolk by rail, with Batteries B, C, and D, of artillery, of Wise Legion, with all the horses, five pieces, and five caissons. Horses fed in the cars that night because too dark to remove them.

On Wednesday morning, January 29, reported to Brig. Gen. Henry A. Wise, and received orders from him to march with the men and horses of artillery, by a route indicated by him to Lieutenant Pearce, who furnished a copy of these route orders to Captain Webb, quartermaster of artillery of Wise Legion. The guns, caissons, and wagons I was ordered by General Wise to leave in Norfolk, to be transported by water.

I gave marching orders for January 30, the condition of the horses, much injured by the cars, rendering it advisable to rest them twenty-four hours.

On Thursday (30th) was informed by Major Bradford that General Huger could not furnish water transportation for guns, caissons, or wagons, and that I must take them by land. There were now unexpectedly six guns (a sixth iron 6-pounder without caissons having been received at Norfolk), five caissons, and fourteen wagons to be transported by land, with only six horses that had been worked in harness, and between thirty and forty horses and mules which had never been broken to harness. Through consequent accidents occurring it took forty-eight hours before we could move from Norfolk. I ordered a march, however, for next morning, and after receiving General Huger’s orders, through Major Bradford, reported to General Huger. General Huger confirmed these orders and also ordered me to change the route laid down by General Wise; that is to say, he ordered me to proceed by the main-land road to Powell’s Point, instead of by the beach, he (General Huger) giving as a reason that guns and wagons could not be dragged along the beach, and that, in the then state of the weather, the road would be washed over by the sea. This view, which I have since found to be erroneous, was confirmed by several of General Huger’s officers and by others who professed to be acquainted with the locality.

On Friday, the 31st, attempted to march, but had much trouble and several accidents with the teams. One team ran away and damaged the forge wagon, breaking the pole. Though the forge wagon was new, being drawn just before leaving Richmond, the wood of the pole when broken was rotten half through. At 2 p.m., when {p.144} ready to start, found that, on account of the prevailing wind and high tide, the bridge over the East Branch was covered by two feet of water and deep holes reported on the other side. Low water not occurring till after dark, suspended march till next morning, Saturday, February 1. Fresh accidents with teams-one gun-carriage damaged, and harness so insecure, though drawn new in Richmond, that we were obliged to procure bolt-rope. This and waiting for repairs delayed us till 12 m., when we marched from Norfolk City.

C. F. HENNINGSEN, Colonel Fifty-ninth Regiment Virginia Volunteers, Commanding Batteries B, C, and D, Artillery, Wise Legion.

NAG’S HEAD, N. C., February 6, 1862.

Brig. Gen. HENRY A. WISE:

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to your commands, I read to Colonel Henningsen in Norfolk, your orders that all the artillery horses and men were to go by the beach route to this place, except such of the latter as were necessary for the protection of the field pieces, &c., which, with their carriages and caissons, were to go in tow of a steam-tug to the lower section of the canal. Capt. L. N. Webb, assistant quartermaster of artillery corps, wrote down, in Colonel Henningsen’s presence, the prescribed route, with all the material, as enumerated by Mr. Gallop and embodied in your orders to me. I saw Major Johnson, assistant quartermaster of this department, in order to procure the water transportation for the pieces, caissons, &c. He informed me they were not to go that way. I reported that fact to Colonel Henningsen, and he and I went to General Huger, who ordered Colonel Henningsen to take the horses, pieces, caissons, &c., by the inland route, as the beach was impracticable from inlets, high tides, and the probabilities of being shelled by the enemy’s gunboats.

I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant,

JAMES H. PEARCE, Lieutenant and Ordnance Officer.

When General Huger met me here on the 19th instant he was still incredulous about the route. I had ordered and promised to order a survey of it. Unfortunately the enemy are now in possession of Nag’s Head and the beach; how far up it is not known. I was myself driven in a two-horse wagon on the evening and night of the 8th as high up from Nag’s Head as Gallop’s Ferry, and was assured by all who knew that it was the only bad part of the beach route up to Cape Henry. The Currituck and other inlets have filled up long ago, and there is not a foot of the way not passable by horses, footmen, carts, and wagons.

On the evening of January 291 left Norfolk, and reached Nag’s Head the night of the 30th. I immediately issued Special Orders, Nos. 12 and 13, of which the following are copies:

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 12.}

HDQRS. FOURTH BRIGADE, DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Nag’s Head, N. C., January 30, 1862.

The quartermaster, or his brigade agent, for the post at Roanoke Island and Nag’s Head will immediately procure twenty lighters, as near 60 feet long, or longer, and 12 feet wide as he can get them, and have them well calked and water-tight, for the service of ferries and transportation across the Roanoke Sound; to and from the island and the beach and across Currituck Sound; to and from Gallop’s on the beach and the shore opposite Powell’s Point and across to Croatan Sound; to and from the island and marshes and Tyrrel shore opposite. And to this end he will at once dispatch the steam tug-boat Currituck, Capt. C. Bonton, to such places on the waters of the Albemarle Sound as such lighters can be obtained at, with orders to return as speedily as possible with as many as she can tow to the wharf at Nag’s Head; and Sergt. J. C. Gallop, of Company B, of the Eighth North Carolina Regiment, is detailed for the duty of accompanying Captain Bouton as pilot and to assist in obtaining the lighters. He will examine them, and those fit for service he will take at a fair valuation: and if he and the owner or owners cannot agree on the prices he will cause them to be valued by arbitrators, one to be chosen by him and one by the owner, and if they cannot agree, the two to call in an umpire. Upon the return of the steamer and the lighters to Nag’s Head he will report to me, or in my absence to the officer of the post there as to the lighters, and also to his commanding officer at Roanoke Island, {p.145} accounting for his absence by these orders, and Captain Bonton, of the Currituck, will await there for further orders.

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 13.}

HDQRS. FOURTH BRIGADE, DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Nag’s Head, N. C., January 30, 1862.

The steam tug-boat Roanoke, Captain Hobbs, will proceed as early as practicable to the great bridge over the northern section of the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, and there apply to Mr. Parks, the president of the canal company or his agent at that place, for a steam pile-driver and a steam dredging-machine, with their crews, to be employed on the defenses of Croatan and Roanoke Sounds. As soon as he can obtain them he will tow them to Roanoke Island, and report to me at Pork Point Battery for further orders. The brigade commissary, or his agent, will furnish the crews of the pile-driver and dredging-machine with rations for ten days; and if Captain Hobbs finds that either the pile-driver or the machine is ready and the other is not, and cannot be ready for two days or more, he will return immediately with the one which is ready, and report to me for further orders.

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

The next morning (January 31) I visited Roanoke Island, saw Colonel Shaw, and gave him special orders. The same day I returned to Nag’s Head and fixed my quarters.

On the morning of February 1, early, I issued and distributed various orders of my own and of headquarters,when, about 9 a.m. of that day, I was seized with a violent and acute attack of pleurisy, with high fever and spitting of blood, threatening pneumonia, from the bed of which I was taken and placed prostrate in a wagon late on the evening of the 8th instant, after the island was captured. I continued, however, to dictate all orders. The weather was one continual cold rain and high wind, and no work of consequence could be accomplished. I made, however, every disposition in my power.

I could not send to Colonel Shaw, as he requested, any field pieces of artillery, for mine had not arrived; but on the 4th I detailed Captain Schermerhorn and Lieutenant Kinney to report for duty to Colonel Shaw, for drilling and instructing in light artillery practice. Colonel Shaw had reported to me three field pieces of artillery-a 24-pounder, an 18-pounder Mexican piece, and a 12-pounder. I sent him from Norfolk a 5-pounder brass howitzer; but when I arrived there were but three pieces-the 24-pounder, the 18-pounder, and the 6-pounder. It is not yet explained to me how it came that there were but three pieces. For the 24-pounder and the 18-pounder there were no other ammunition than that for a 12-pounder.

On February 3 the Secretary of War addressed to me a letter, in reply to my appeals, of which the following is a copy:

CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, Va., February 3, 1862.

Brig. Gen. HENRY A. WISE, Roanoke Island, N. C., (Care of General Huger, Norfolk, Va.)

SIR: In response to your several letters, which it has not been in my power to answer separately, I now inform you that-First. The North Carolina Battalion was ordered by me to report to you, and I suppose it is now with you.

Second. I ordered Captain Clement to muster into service his own company of cavalry and to join your command.

Third. In relation to the several commissions asked for your Legion, I beg leave to state what I have done and can do, as follows, viz:

{p.146}

1st. Charles B. Duffield has been nominated for major, and his commission will be sent as soon as he is confirmed by Congress.

2d. Henry A. Wise, jr. has been confirmed as first lieutenant and adjutant, and his commission has been forwarded.

3d. J. H. Richardson will be promoted to colonel of the First Regiment of Infantry of your Legion as soon as the regiment of cavalry is filled up to ten companies, in order to justify the transfer to it of Col. J. Lucius Davis.

4th. M. Dimmock will be appointed adjutant of the cavalry regiment as soon as the ten companies are mustered in. The law does not allow an additional officer as adjutant to a battalion.

5th. You have a right to assign Lieut. J. H. Pearce to duty as ordnance officer if you choose. There is no such office provided by law as ordnance officer, and there can be no appointment. It is a mere assignment to duty.

6th. You cannot have, by law, more than one adjutant-general, who must also act as inspector-general. I cannot, therefore, appoint Hammond Dugan, as you desire; but you have no quartermaster for your cavalry, and you might confer that post on him if you desire.

7th. I will present the name of T. C. Kinney for a second lieutenancy in the Provisional Engineer Corps. This corps is too limited in number for me to be able to yield to your wish for any further nominations in it.

Fourth. I will send your cannon as promptly as possible. I would have had it ready for you before, but I was compelled to direct all my resources in light artillery to aid our army after its recent disaster at Somerset, Kentucky, where we lost all our artillery.

Your obedient servant,

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

February 3 General Huger sent to me an order of which the following is a copy:

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., February 3, 1862.

Brig. Gen. HENRY A. WISE, Commanding Fourth Brigade, Roanoke Island:

SIR: The steamer Roanoke towed down two barges, which were ordered by the quartermaster to proceed to Scuppernong and bring back corn to this place. If the Roanoke has been taken for other service, you will, on receipt of this, send her and the barges to carry out the orders of the quartermaster. I have to charter vessels to bring forage here, and will give vessels so employed by the quartermaster’s department certificates that they are employed by me, and such vessels are not to be interfered with by any one. You will direct the captains of all steamboats coming here from your command to report to the chief quartermaster and any officers coming up to report to headquarters. These orders are imperative.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General, Commanding.

Had I complied with this order I would have had no means of transportation whatever. The steam-tug Currituck had been sent for lighters and never returned to Nag’s Head.

February 3 General Huger inclosed to me a letter of the Secretary of War to him, inclosing a letter of Captain Lynch to the Secretary of the Navy:

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., February 3, 1862.

Brig. Gen. HENRY A. WISE, Commanding Fourth Brigade, Roanoke Island:

SIR: I inclose herewith copies of a letter, dated January 22, from Commodore Lynch to the Secretary of the Navy, and a copy of a letter of the Secretary of War addressed to me, dated January 31. I am sure you will with pleasure aid the naval officers as far as may be in your power. Without adopting the plans of Commodore Lynch for the defenses of Roanoke Island, I count upon your promptness and energy in rendering the defenses as formidable as possible.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General.

{p.147}

CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, Va., January 31, 1862.

Maj. Gen. B. HUGER, Norfolk, Va.:

SIR: I have the honor of inclosing for your information a copy of a letter from Captain Lynch to the Secretary of the Navy. This letter has excited the deepest solicitude of the President and myself, and you are requested to take the most prompt and energetic measures in your power to remedy the deficiencies in the defenses at Roanoke Island suggested by Captain Lynch, as well as to furnish him men to man his gunboats, even if necessary to detach temporarily some of the soldiers under your command.

Your obedient servant,

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

CONFEDERATE STATES STEAMER SEA BIRD, Off Roanoke Island, January 22, 1862.

S. R. MALLORY, Secretary of the Navy:

SIR: I have the honor to report that on the 20th instant, with this steamer and the Raleigh, I started on a cruise in Pamlico Sound and for a reconnaissance of Hatteras. Yesterday afternoon we looked into the inlet and there saw a large fleet of steamers and transports. We counted twenty-one of the former all inside the spit; a fog bank concealed those outside. Two large steamers were outside the bulkhead and one was being lightened over by two schooners. They are evidently prepared for a general movement.

The commanding officer at Middletown in Hyde County, learned through a deserter that the enemy’s force consists of twenty-four gunboats, seven large steamers and sixteen transports. To meet these I have two old side-wheel steamers and six propellers, the former possessing some speed, the latter slow in their movements, and one of them frequently displacing its shaft; but my greatest difficulty is in the want of men. So great has been the exposure of our crews that a number have been necessarily invalided; consequently the complements are very much reduced, some of them one-half. I have sent to Washington, Plymouth, Edenton, and Elizabeth City for recruits without success, and an earnest appeal to Commodore Forrest brought me only four from Norfolk. To meet the enemy I have not more than a sufficient number of men to fight half the guns.

In a former communication I have informed you of my appeal to Colonel Shaw, commanding the military forces here, for some of the North Carolina Volunteers who had been sailors and wished to enlist in the naval service and of my limited success. Inclosed I send a letter addressed this day to him, asking for 50 men, and detailing Lieutenant-Commander Parker to personally urge compliance. I request the letters to be placed on file, to be referred to in the event of calamity.

My opinion is that the North Carolina Volunteers will not stand to their guns. Men so devoid of energy are incapable of determined and long-continued resistance.

General Wise has sent troops to Nag’s Head, upon the sea-beach, where they can be driven from their position by a single gunboat, and is selecting points of defense in Currituck which can scarcely be reached in row-boats, owing to the shallowness of the water. Here is the great thoroughfare from Albemarle Sound and its tributaries, and if the enemy obtain lodgments or succeed in passing here he will cut off a very rich country from Norfolk market. His next aim, I presume, will be to obtain possession of the Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad.

Since the preceding page was written I have received a note from Colonel Shaw, wherein he promises to let me have some men temporarily, but declines increasing the garrison at the floating batteries. Those two batteries mounted together seven guns, manned by 70 men; on my last inspection only three and a half guns’ crews could be mustered. Thirty-two-pounders of 500 weight require 13 men each to work them, and when the sick and casualties are taken into consideration, it will be seen how very inefficiently those batteries are manned.

I mention these things to protect in a very probable event the reputation of the Navy. The Army now has the batteries in charge, as General Wise refused to allow the volunteers to remain unless the control was assigned to him. Not having any men to send I was constrained to comply, but have placed an officer there to train the men.

Should General Wise be in Richmond you cannot exert your great influence more patriotically than by urging him to come here at once or at least to send some energetic officer of rank to take command.

I have this moment received your communication of the 17th instant. General Huger is misinformed. When the propeller Powhatan was offered to me, Mr. Parks told me that another party had offered him $10,000 for her, but that he would not take less than $12,000. Understanding him to mean a private person, I told him I would telegraph {p.148} to you, and that the desire of individuals to purchase should not conflict with the wants of the Government. He did not undeceive me. I did telegraph to you; next day received your authority, and immediately sent my secretary, with a note to Mr. Parks, closing the purchase. Mr. Parks was not in his office, but my note was delivered to his brother, who transacts business for him. In the mean time the Powhatan had left for this island, and I overtook her in the Currituck Canal with Mr. Parks on board. I then told him of my note and claimed the Powhatan. He informed me that Major Johnson, quartermaster at Norfolk, was the one who had offered him $10,000, but that the offer was a conditional one, based upon the approval at Richmond of his application for authority to make the purchase. As Mr. Parks had told me that $12,000 was his very lowest price, and as the quartermaster’s offer, if sanctioned, would not be accepted (supposing Mr. Parks to be truthful), I felt justified (as there was a large force at Hatteras) in taking possession of the Powhatan.

If the enemy is coming this way; and there is every indication that such is his intention, his visit has only been delayed by the inclemency of the weather, and I submit to you whether I would not have been derelict to my duty if under the circumstances I had not availed myself of an auxiliary means of defense. The crisis will soon be over, and desirable as it is to keep the Powhatan until some of the new gunboats are ready, I have no wish to detain her unjustly. I do not think the claim of the Army as good as our own; yet, although we were treated unkindly in the matter of the Kahukee, I feel no disposition to retaliate.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

W. F. LYNCH, Flag-Officer.

No notice was given to me by the Secretary of War of this letter, but I presume it accounts in part for the order to me of January 22. As soon as I could write, and had time and opportunity, I replied to this letter of Captain Lynch by addressing General Huger a letter of which the following is a copy:

GREAT BRIDGE, NORFOLK COUNTY, VA., February 17, 1862.

Maj. Gen. B. HUGER, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: It has been utterly out of my power heretofore to reply to yours of the 3d instant, inclosing to me a copy of a letter from the Secretary of War, dated January 31 ultimo, addressing to you a copy of a letter from Capt. William F. Lynch, which excited, the Secretary says, the deepest solicitude of the President himself. Justice to myself demands that I should put upon the record a reply to this unwarrantable letter of Captain Lynch.

His report of the enemy’s force was wholly inaccurate, and he was not timely apprised of the enemy’s approach when they came. They were nearly up to the marshes, at the south end of the island, before his fleet were aware of it, as I have every reason to believe. Captain Lynch took his position opposite or between the batteries, instead of keeping a lookout at the marshes or even far below them.

His information, from the first, I found very inaccurate in respect to the waters of the Croatan Sound. His difficulty in the want of men took away forces from the island twice the number of which were wanted there, and he hindered operations of the army materially. He was furnished by Colonel Shaw with more men than ought to have been spared from the infantry, with which or at the batteries they would have been far more useful than with Captain Lynch’s useless and worthless gunboat fleet. The North Carolina Volunteers at the batteries did stand at their guns, and were able to do so much more firmly than did or could Captain Lynch’s fleet before the force of the enemy.

His letter was dated January 22, two days after I had sent my first regiment of infantry to Nag’s Head. My troops were not upon the sea, but upon the sound beach, where the men could not be shelled from their position by a force much superior to a single gunboat, or to even Captain Lynch’s fleet, from the sea. My men were sent there for three principal reasons:

1st. There were no quarters for my men on the island and there were ample quarters for them at Nag’s Head, and it was a comparatively safe place for ordnance and other stores; whence, indeed, nearly all were saved in the disaster which came, while none were saved on the island.

2d. It was a necessary position for part of the forces, in order to prevent the enemy from landing on the Roanoke Sound beach and crossing that sound, which they easily could to the island, unless the sound beach was guarded.

3d. It was the only position which could cover a retreat from the island and from which to construct a floating bridge or ferry of lighters, while it was convenient to re-enforce the island.

{p.149}

It was unauthorized intermeddling in Captain Lynch to criticise military positions without better information than he had, and it would have been well for the service to have employed his boats as tugs for transports, instead of vainly trying to turn tugs into gunboats to encounter a Burnside fleet of sixty vessels, any one large steamer of which could easily have taken his seven boats.

He asserts further that I was selecting points of defense in Currituck which could scarce be reached in row-boats, owing to the shallowness of the water. This statement is wholly untrue and without a shadow of foundation. I selected no place whatever for defense in Currituck except the landings of Pugh and Ashby, on the island, and at the latter the enemy did land under cover of the shot and shell of a heavy steamer, which ran in with her train of transports quite up to the landing. Captain Lynch’s fleet afforded not the least protection to any landing. He was far above them all. He could not have known where my points of defense were except from some idle rumor. My defenses were wholly on the island, and, weak as they were, for want of men, were incomparably beyond any Captain Lynch’s fleet could possibly render. While Captain Lynch was so jealous of the reputation of the Navy he should have been a little careful not to assail that of the Army. The truth is that the greatest assault upon the reputation of the Navy was the want of judgment and skill in getting up a tug-boat fleet of seven to meet a Burnside expedition of sixty vessels.

Captain Lynch does not precisely or accurately state the facts correctly when he says, “General Wise refused to allow the volunteers to remain unless the control was assigned to him.” This statement applies to all the batteries. It is not exactly correct as to one of them only. The Redstone Battery, on the Tyrrel side, was constructed of two vessels or barges, embanked in the mud of the marshes. There Captain White, of the North Carolina Volunteers, was posted with his company. A midshipman, Mr. Gardner, had been sent to drill the men at the guns of the battery. Captain Lynch chose to call this a floating battery, and claimed to command it as part of the naval armament, and that Midshipman Gardner should command the company of Captain White.

Colonel Shaw issued what I deemed a very proper order in the case. This he and Captain Lynch submitted to me, the latter claiming for the midshipman the entire command of the battery and the men. I declined to subject a captain of the Army to the orders of a midshipman of the Navy, but ordered Captain White, the officer in command to submit his men to the drill of Midshipman Gardner and to put him in charge of the keys of the magazine. With this Captain Lynch professed to be satisfied. When he threatened to take his drill-officer away unless he could command a captain of infantry and his company, I offered to give the battery up to him wholly, but said I must remove the company of infantry from the battery rather than have a midshipman of the Navy put in command of a captain of the Army, on the land at least. My record of orders and correspondence will sustain this correction of Captain Lynch’s statement. There was no controversy about any other battery. Captain Lynch, it seems, called for me to be sent at once from Richmond to Roanoke Island. This, I suppose, accounts for the sudden order which I received from the War Department to repair to the island. I was on duty in Richmond, urging my Legion to be sent; urging for supplies of ammunition and re-enforcements. It was extraordinary meddling with my movements in this instance also for Captain Lynch, of the Navy, to be asking for my orders from the War Department.

The truth is, I had just left Captain Lynch in Croatan Sound to go to Norfolk and to Richmond and apprise our superiors of the lamentable deficiency of defenses at the island. I was not more zealous in the mission than Captain Lynch was in urging me to go on to hasten supplies and re-enforcements He was urgent that I should do so. I had gone down in the large and comfortable tug Powhatan, to the surprise of her owner (Mr. Parks), who had already bargained to sell her conditionally to the Quartermaster of the Army. Captain Lynch, immediately on her arrival, sent an officer or agent on board of her to take an inventory of everything belonging to her, and he claimed to have purchased her for $12,000, when the Army had purchased her for $10,000. By his own statement he had not bargained, but said he had been so badly treated by Quartermaster Johnson in respect to another steamer (the Kahukee) that he was determined to have the Powhatan whether the bargain by him for her was legally binding or not. The Powhatan was given up to him, and I returned in the little Roanoke to Elizabeth City, and thence by land to Norfolk.

The truth undoubtedly is, that if Captain Lynch had never attempted to make the futile fleet he did make out of the Canal Company’s tugs, we could have had them for the purpose of transportation. The piles could have been brought, perhaps, in sufficient number to obstruct the channels; the wharves could have had timber brought for their construction and repairs, and the transportation of the troops and tools would have been in time. All this was a want of judgment only on the part of Captain Lynch. A braver, more earnest, and active officer is not to be found in either Army or Navy, but he was too vainglorious of the fleet that got the name of the Mosquito {p.150} Fleet, and really the enemy did not take time to brush it away while he was bombarding the batteries. It fought bravely and well for its size and construction, but had to run into a trap, where, when pursued, it was nearly destroyed. My only complaint of Captain Lynch is that he was superserviceable and overzealous; grasped at too much command and meddled too much with mine. But this complaint would never have been made by me against so gallant and patriotic an officer except in response to what I deem his injustice to me. I beg that you, sir, will forward this letter, or a copy, to the Secretary of War and President of the Confederate States. As Captain Lynch gave me no notice of his letter, but sent it to his Department, I follow his example by sending this to my Department without notice to him.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

On February 5 I ordered requisition to be made for free negro laborers, under the laws of North Carolina, and I required report from Colonel Shaw of the number of men stationed at each of the batteries on Roanoke Island and on the Tyrrel shore, &c. He reported to me on the 7th but 803 men left for infantry duty.

On the 5th I ordered Colonel Henningsen to send my artillery horses to Gallop’s Ferry, and to transport them thence by the beach to Nag’s Head. The guns were to be left at Elizabeth City, whither he had gone, until I could tow them to Roanoke Island.

On February 6, at 4 p.m., I dispatched Lieut. R. A. Wise to General Huger with my letter of that date, of which the following is a copy:

HEADQUARTERS FOURTH BRIGADE, DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Camp at Nag’s Head, February 6, 1862.

Major-General HUGER, Commanding Department of Norfolk:

SIR: A messenger from Col. H. M. Shaw, commanding at Roanoke Island, has just arrived (10 p.m.), bearing a dispatch, of which I have the honor to inclose you a copy, by order of General Wise. The officer who brought the dispatch reports that he saw four steamers, about 9 a m. this day, which had passed the marshes, going up Croatan Bound. He likewise brings information that Captain Cook, C. S. Navy, reported seven steamers in sight about the same hour. The general directs me to request that steam-tugs, with lighters suited for the transportation of troops between the island and the beach, may be forwarded as early as practicable.

General Wise has been very sick since Friday last, from a violent attack of pneumonia. He is better to-day, but unable to leave his bed. He is, however, issuing orders, and will do everything in his power, with the means at his command, to repel the advance of the enemy. It is very much to be regretted that the means of communication between the island and beach are so limited and insufficient at this time.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. B. DUFFIELD, Assistant Adjutant-General.

On February 6, also, I dictated an order to Colonel Shaw, of which the following is a copy:

HEADQUARTERS FOURTH BRIGADE, DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Camp at Nag’s Head, February 6, 1862.

Col. H. M. SHAW, Commanding, &c., Roanoke Island:

COLONEL: Your dispatch dated 2.30 o’clock, inclosing report of Lieutenant Loyall, has been delivered by Lieutenant Simmons. I am directed by the general to say in reply that you will obtain reports from the pickets at Pugh’s and Ashby’s Landings. You will move all your field pieces to the points commanding these two landings and divide them between the two at your discretion. The general, however, recommends that you place two at Ashby’s and the like number at Pugh’s. You will move the whole of your infantry, except what is ample for the batteries, stationing one-third at Pugh’s, one third at Ashby’s, and the remaining third at the breastworks called Suple’s Hill. If the enemy attempt to land at Pugh’s the force at Ashby’s will re-enforce that at Pugh’s, and fight every inch of ground at the water’s edge as long as prudence will permit. Under no circumstances fail to save your field pieces, retiring them first always and covering their withdrawal with the infantry.

{p.151}

You will fall back to the first eligible position and fight again as long as prudence will allow. Then, if compelled to, retreat to the breastworks, and there make a final stand. If the enemy do not land at Pugh’s, but pass the marshes, the force at Pugh’s will join the force at Ashby’s, and there they will, if possible, prevent the landing of the enemy. There is a point just in the rear of Ashby’s house, on the road, where the field pieces may be masked and the enemy may be ambuscaded. If driven from that point, you will fall back to the breastworks and there make your first stand. If the enemy pass the sound without attempting to land, your aim then will be to withdraw the forces to such point on the eastern side of the island as will be most practicable for ferrying them across the Roanoke Sound to the beach. The steamer Currituck is hourly expected; but if she fails to arrive, all the means at our command will be used to prevent their being cut off. There is but one tug now here to do the entire service for the army, and she (the Roanoke) must be kept for the purpose of towing the barges and ferry-boats.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. B. DUFFIELD, Assistant Adjutant-General.

At the earliest moment on February 7 I sent to the island ten companies-two of the First and eight of the Second Regiments-and additional orders to Colonel Shaw, of which the following is a copy:

HEADQUARTERS FOURTH BRIGADE, DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Camp at Nag’s Head, N. C., February 7, 1862.

Col. H. M. SHAW, Commanding Roanoke Island:

COLONEL: I send you, as promptly as possible, ten small but efficient companies, under Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson, who will hand you this and show to you his instructions, which you will consider, as far as they are pertinent, additions to those sent you yesterday. He is a brave officer, has trained and seasoned men, and you may rely on him implicitly. While you will send a portion of your most efficient men to the south end, who may be relied on to fall back with order and precision, you will be particular in reserving an equally good portion of your best men to maintain the post at Suple’s Hill. They must be such picked men as will not fire on our own forces when retreating to that post. At Suple’s Hill you will make your breastworks for the infantry right and left by felling trees and brush and covering with earth as sufficiently as time will permit. You will detail a proper reliable officer with a small detachment to mark the best and most solid road over the marsh to the battery on Roanoke Sound, and he will there mark on that sound the narrowest portion of it convenient to the fort at the Hommock where a ferry of lighters may be placed across to the beach. He will on the island side place a signal of the narrowest part of the channel where the ferry ought to terminate on that side. If the enemy’s gunboats pass the batteries on the Croatan they may easily prevent our steam-tugs from towing off our troops from Weir’s Point or the north end of the island. Your only retreat may be by the ferry of lighters. To establish that ferry you will collect all the lighters and barges you have to spare at Weir’s Point and notify me when to send for them. The Currituck is expected to-day with a sufficiency, but may not arrive. Report to me all you know of the enemy this morning and everything new as soon as it occurs. I dispatched to Norfolk yesterday a messenger announcing the approach of the enemy. The road across the marshes and the ferry across the Roanoke Sound are all important. Inculcate upon your men deliberate coolness, and make them work night and day, to hold on until we can re-enforce them or withdraw them in safety. Furnish Colonel Anderson with all needed requisitions. I am still confined to my bed.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

On the same day the 7th; I gave the following instructions to Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson:

HEADQUARTERS FOURTH BRIGADE, DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Camp at Nag’s Head) N. C., February 7, 1862.

Colonel ANDERSON:

SIR: On yesterday orders were sent to Colonel Shaw, commanding at Roanoke, as to the disposition of his forces and guns to repel the enemy, who are now in sight of the island in strong force, to which you will refer for your instructions. Have a small but efficient guard at Hommock Landing, at the extreme south end of the island, as the enemy can approach there in the lightest-draught gunboats. The guard must be {p.152} directed to give the earliest notice of the approach of the enemy at that point to the force at Pugh’s Landing. If no enemy is approaching Pugh’s for a landing at the same time, the force at Pugh’s will re-enforce the guard at the Hommock. If not, the guard at the Hommock will act as vedettes and prevent the enemy from falling in the rear of Pugh’s.

Of the artillery, you will leave the heaviest pieces at the breastworks and at Ashby’s, and take the lighter pieces to Pugh’s and the Hommock, as you will have no artillery horses. Under every emergency save your field pieces, in order to fall back, if compelled, to the breastworks. They will be the only pieces you will have for the defense at Suple’s Hill, where the breastworks are. If any fights at the landings, let them be sharp, close, and hot, but not continued too long against great odds. Fall back timely, slowly, and continue to fight and fall back till all the forces at the landings are concentrated at Suple’s Hill. There will be in all about 1,350 effective infantry to repel the landing of the enemy and to maintain the post at Suple’s Hill. One-third of that force will be posted in reserve at Suple’s Hill. That force will at once be employed in constructing right and left flank breastworks at Suple’s Hill Battery. To do that work, take with you all the available spades, shovels, and axes, and apply to Shaw for all that he can furnish. You will let the senior captain of the Forty-sixth Regiment take command of the companies from that regiment as a battalion, subject, however, to your command. You will ask Colonel Shaw for the loan of all the spare tents and cooking and other utensils of which you have not sufficient. You will make requisitions upon the quartermaster and commissary at the island for whatever you may need. You will report these instructions immediately on your arrival to Colonel Shaw, and be subject to his orders as commandant.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

On February 7 I also sent to General Huger and to Colonel Shaw the following letters:

HEADQUARTERS FOURTH BRIGADE, DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Camp at Nag’s Head, N. C., February 7, 1862.

Major-General HUGER, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: I send you, by direction of General Wise, copies of the dispatch of Lieutenant Loyall to Colonel Shaw, with the colonel’s note forwarding the same to these headquarters, and of the dispatch of Colonel Shaw, received about daybreak this morning. The officer who brought the dispatch first-above mentioned reports that of the enemy’s fleet twenty-eight are gunboats, seven are towing steamers, and the rest are transports. A re-enforcement of ten companies was sent from this place this forenoon to Roanoke Island, leaving about 300 men here to cover the retreat of our forces to the beach, should they be compelled to withdraw from the island. Owing to continued sickness the general was unable to accompany the troops sent to Roanoke. He is very much prostrated from the illness which still confines him to his bed, and which, in all probability, will compel him to keep his room for some days to come. At 10.20 a.m. a single gun was heard, which the general supposed to be the signal-gun of Flag-Officer Lynch.

At 11.161 a.m. of this day firing in the Croatan Sound commenced, and from that time till the period of closing this dispatch from two hundred and fifty to three hundred guns have been heard, showing a furious battle to be raging between our forces and the enemy. It is now 12.25 p.m., and the firing is very rapid and heavy.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. B. DUFFIELD, Assistant Adjutant-General.

P. S.-1 p.m. The firing still continues most furious. A cannon is heard every second.

HEADQUARTERS FOURTH BRIGADE DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Camp at Nag’s Head, N. C., February 7, 1862.

Col. H. M. SHAW Commanding, &c.:

SIR: Your brief dispatch, announcing that the enemy have landed on the island, has been delivered by Captain Robinson. I am directed by the general to say that he very deeply regrets that the enemy were allowed to land without resistance. The orders heretofore given you required that the enemy should be attacked while attempting to land; that you should fight every inch of ground at the water’s edge as long as prudence would permit, and, if compelled to fall back, to do so fighting, and make a final stand at the breastworks.

Captain Robinson reports that you expected to be attacked at the breastworks in {p.153} the morning. The general directs that you will fight until retreat becomes a necessity that cannot be resisted. The very great importance of preventing the enemy from getting possession of the island requires that the most desperate and determined resistance be made, and that you continue to fight as long as there is a possibility of repelling them. If you are compelled to retreat, you will do so in good order, guarding your rear by a sufficient number of your coolest and most reliable men, detailed for that purpose. You will also feel the enemy at Ashby’s, and if they are not too strong you will attack them.

The general further directs that you will have provisions conveyed to some point near the breastworks in the morning, and direct that they be cooked, so that the men may refresh themselves during the progress of the anticipated fight.

Lighters will be sent to the battery on Roanoke Sound to facilitate the withdrawal of the troops from the island should the necessity therefor arise.

A re-enforcement of four companies will be sent you in the morning. Keep a vigilant watch on your flanks, and strengthen the breastworks as much as you can.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. B. DUFFIELD, Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS FOURTH BRIGADE, DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Camp at Nag’s Head, N. C., February 8, 1862.

Major-General HUGER, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: The dispatch sent you yesterday afternoon announced that a fight was in progress between the enemy’s fleet and our batteries at the Croatan Sound. A brief pencil note from Colonel Shaw, dated 7.15 p.m., received during the night, states that the fight commenced at Pork Point Battery, no other batteries being engaged; that at no time could more than four guns of that battery be brought to bear upon the enemy, and that when he left, at 4 p.m., two of the guns there had been disabled. The firing commenced, as announced in my previous dispatch, at 11.16 1/2 o’clock, and ceased only with the approach of night, having continued six hours and thirty-eight minutes, rapidly and unremittingly, from guns of heavy caliber. It is estimated that about three thousand discharges from cannon took place during the time mentioned, yet our loss at the batteries, so far as ascertained, is only two killed. Nothing is known of the damage sustained by the enemy.

Certain information has been received at these headquarters that the enemy landed on Roanoke Island yesterday afternoon. Colonel Shaw reports that they landed above Ashby’s, up a small creek, and it is expected that they will get their field artillery on shore during the night. Orders were given to Colonel Shaw to resist their landing; to fight at the water’s edge every inch of ground as long as prudence would permit, and, if compelled, to fall back fighting to Suple’s Hill, and there make a stand. Why the enemy were allowed to land without resistance has not been satisfactorily explained by Colonel Shaw. Our forces are now posted at the breastworks at Suple’s Hill to receive the attack of the enemy, and orders have been sent to Colonel Shaw to make a most determined and desperate resistance.

There are now about 1,350 infantry on the island to protect the batteries and meet the enemy at the breastworks, who will in all probability advance with from 3,000 to 5,000 men and field artillery likewise. This number of infantry is so entirely insufficient for these purposes that four other companies have been sent to the island, leaving only three small companies at this post, comprising in all about 130 men to guard the commissary stores and construct a ferry for our forces on which to retreat from the island should that necessity occur. Lighters have been collected and will be sent to the redoubt on Roanoke Island this morning to transport our troops across should we be beaten and compelled to retreat. Arrangements have been made to remove to some place of security as much of the stores and equipage as there is transportation for. It is confidently anticipated our men will fight most bravely; yet the very great disparity of numbers renders the result exceedingly doubtful.

The loss of the island, or the passage by the enemy of the Croatan Sound, will enable them to ravage the whole of the Albemarle country, and subject the people there residing to the most terrible of disasters.

The general further directs me to say that a very large additional force is necessary for the successful defense of the district assigned to him. Prostrated by disease, and issuing orders from his sick bed, he is striving with the very limited means at his command to arrest the advance of the enemy. The fleet of Flag-Officer Lynch, doing all that it can, can be of no use to us in the expected conflict. Should the enemy, landing above our breastworks at Suple’s Hill take our batteries in the rear, it would prove a most lamentable want of men for the defense of the island. If they defeat us in the anticipated fight at Suple’s Hill, or pass the island unless very speedily or strongly re-enforced, he can do but little toward giving protection to the people of the counties on the Albemarle Sound and its tributaries.

{p.154}

On yesterday our men fought with deliberate coolness. All the work that could be has been performed in the time allowed us. The commissary reports that large supplies are on the way. The only want to enable us to drive back the enemy and hold the island is that of more men.

Since the above was written the fighting has recommenced. The enemy’s bombardment commenced this morning at 8.47 o’clock with apparent vigor and continued until 9.15 o’clock. Contemporaneously, and since the cessation of the cannonading, volleys of musketry, with the discharges of field artillery, have been distinctly heard from the island. The smoke and firing receding toward the south end of the island, accompanied by cheers, supposed to be from our men, seem to indicate that the enemy are being driven back in that direction.

A steamer is reported as having arrived at the island during the night with troops, supposed to be Colonel Green’s regiment; if so, this will furnish, in addition to the four companies sent from this post this day, a re-enforcement of eleven companies since my last dispatch.

The general further instructs me to say that he very deeply regrets that the change made by you of the orders given by him for the transportation of his artillery has entirely deprived him on this occasion of that arm of service.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. B. DUFFIELD, Assistant Adjutant-General.

On February 8 General Huger addressed to me a letter of which the following is a copy:

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., February 8, 1862-11 a.m.

Brigadier-General WISE, or COMMANDING OFFICER:

Lieutenant Smith has just arrived with your dispatch of yesterday, reporting the attack of the enemy. He reports that firing continued till dark.

The Arrow is just going off, and I write a line. I have no time to send anything by her.

As the firing was stopped by dark, I count the enemy did no damage to signify. Long shot will not destroy batteries. If we keep cool and serve the guns well, light gunboats will get hurt. Stand to the guns. I may communicate later by land.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General.

On February 9 General Huger addressed to me the following:

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., February 9, 1862.

Brigadier-General WISE, Commanding Fourth Brigade:

GENERAL: I have your letter of the 8th. I have ordered the only boat left here to be got ready at once. I will have ammunition ready to go on board, and consult Commodore Forrest as to what he can send. I hope to hear soon what more I can do. I consider every hour you hold out as most favorable to us.

I send Lieutenant Smith back, and have placed a company of cavalry along the route to Powell’s Point to carry dispatches.

You are in error when you say Colonel Henningsen was diverted from following the route you ordered him to take by me. I gave him no order, but not to send one company by the beach, as you ordered. In all other respects he was to obey your orders.

Your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General.

P. S.-I much regret to hear of your sickness. It is really unfortunate.

In correcting my error General Huger admits that he did change my orders to Colonel Henningsen, and that change did divert hint from his true course, and prevented my artillery from arriving at all at Roanoke Island.

On the 9th also the following orders were addressed to me:

{p.155}

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., February 9, 1862.

To the SENIOR OFFICER, Commanding any Troops at Currituck Bridge or Neighborhood:

SIR: I will dispatch a regiment to Currituck Bridge and the mouth of the canal as soon as possible. Obstruct the canal by any means in your power, and get the guns at the battery at the bridge in order. Powder will be sent with the troops for these guns. Order out the militia, and order all the citizens to protect the canal with shotguns or what they can get.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General, Commanding.

Send back the steamer Roanoke, with the four barges, at once.

By order of General Huger:

FRANK HUGER, Captain, Aide-de-Camp.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., February 9, 1862.

To the SENIOR OFFICER At Currituck Bridge or Neighborhood:

SIR: I am directed by the major-general commanding to give you the following instructions:

1. He will dispatch a regiment to Currituck Bridge and the mouth of the canal as soon as possible.

2. Obstruct the canal by any means in your power. Get the guns at the battery and at the bridge in order. Powder will be sent with the troops for these guns.

3. Order out the militia, and get all the citizens to protect the canal with shot-guns or what they can get.

4. Send back the steamer Roanoke, with the four barges.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

S. S. ANDERSON, Assistant Adjutant-General.

On the 10th I addressed to General Huger a report in full, of which the following is a copy:

POPLAR BRANCH, CURRITUCK, N. C., February 10, 1862-9 a.m.

Maj. Gen. B. HUGER, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: I was delayed in Norfolk for want of transportation until Wednesday, January 29, and arrived at Nag’s Head on the night of Thursday (30th). My two regiments (the First and Second of the Legion, numbering seventeen companies and less than 800 men) had preceded my arrival, and for want of quarters on Roanoke Island occupied Nag’s Head. It was absolutely necessary to maintain some sufficient force there to make and protect a ferry across the Roanoke Sound to the island to secure a comparatively safe depot for provisions, stores, &c., and to guard the beach against the landing of the enemy north of Oregon Inlet. We commenced immediately to procure lighters for the ferry, to repair the bridge, and to make a magazine. Early on Friday I visited Roanoke Island, meeting Colonel Shaw at Weir’s Point. I gave him the necessary orders to forward the pile-driving, to construct breastworks at Suple’s Hill, and to keep strong guards at Hommock, Pugh’s, and Ashby’s Landings, on the south end of the island. I returned then to Nag’s Head on Friday, and ordered every preparation there. At neither post were any tools to work with. No axes, shovels, spades, nails, &c., and requisitions had been made in vain for them both at Richmond and in Norfolk. Neither place had any teams, except two pairs of broken-down mules at the island and some weak and insufficient ox-carts. The consequence was that men had to carry everything on their shoulders, and no work could be accomplished, and in the evening of Friday a cold, hard rain and storm set in, which lasted until the evening of the 5th instant.

On the morning of Saturday, the 1st instant, I was seized (while attending to duty) with a high fever, resulting in an acute attack of pleurisy, threatening pneumonia, from which I was unable to rise until late on the evening of the 8th instant, but from bed continued to issue orders and to dispatch preparations for the enemy, and on the morning of the 6th the enemy appeared off the southern end of the island. I immediately ordered ten companies (eight companies of the Second Regiment and two {p.156} companies of the First Regiment), under Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson, to re-enforce Colonel Shaw’s force. We had but one tug and two barges for transports. They were landed early on Friday morning. Colonel Shaw was ordered to divide his forces into three divisions. He had for infantry duty, independent of the detachments for the batteries, but 803 men, and the ten companies added made 1,250 effective infantry. He had but three pieces of field artillery-a 24-pounder, an 18-pounder, and a small 6 pounder brass howitzer-with no teams for the guns, and with 12-pounder ammunition only for the 24 and 18-pounders. I sent Captain Schermerhorn and Lieutenant Kinney to assist Lieutenant Selden in commanding these, but there was no artillery company to work them. The artillery of the Legion, under Colonel Henningsen, had not arrived. Colonel Shaw was ordered to leave one-third of his force at Suple’s Hill, and to post one-third at Ashby’s and one-third at Pugh’s Landing, to concentrate his forces wherever the enemy might land, and to fight them at the water’s edge as long as prudent, and by all means to save his field pieces, with which to fall back upon Suple’s Hill, and there to make his final stand. Colonel Jordan was stationed at Ashby’s.

On the morning of the 7th, about 9 a.m., the signal was given of the approach of the enemy, and exactly at 11.16 1/2 a.m. the enemy opened upon our batteries. The fire at first was slow, but rapidly increased to a continued roar of the heaviest artillery, which continued exactly six hours and thirty-eight minutes and until after sundown. But little damage was done to any of the works except those at Pork Point (Fort Bartow). Its walls were dilapidated much, but no guns disabled; 1 man killed and 3 wounded. It was repaired by the next morning. About 3.30 p.m. of the 7th the enemy ran up to Ashby’s Landing a three-masted heavy steamer, and covered the landing of their troops with mounted artillery from a long train of transports, and Colonel Jordan retired before them without a struggle to Suple’s Hill.

The next morning I got over four more companies of the First Regiment, about 180 men, under Major Fry, and the battalion of Lieutenant-Colonel Green arrived, but neither were in the action; why, is not explained. But the enemy early, on the morning of the 8th, advanced on Suple’s Hill, and were met by about 1,250 men only. They brought up a 24-pounder and two 12-pounder howitzers, at least, well mounted and worked. The fight began in earnest between 7 and 8 a.m., and continued unintermittingly until about 1 p.m.; about 10,000 against 1,250. Twice the enemy were repelled with great slaughter, but they fell back and took to the marshes and swamps on either hand, and by wading through mud and water to their knees outflanked us. The fight on the flanks was hot and close, the Richmond Blues, under Captain Wise, leading the left skirmishers, and Lieutenant Haslett leading the Ben. McCulloch Rangers on the right. As soon as the flanks were thus attacked the enemy rallied a third time, charged, and took the three field pieces. Colonel Shaw then ordered a retreat, and the Eighth North Carolina Regiment broke, but the other forces fought on, and the fighting continued irregularly until night.

I ordered Colonel Richardson, with his three companies, to rally and rescue those who escaped. The enemy had cut them off from crossing the Roanoke, and advanced at once on the redoubt at Midgett’s Hommock. Its commandant spiked its guns, and with his force escaped to Nag’s Beach; a number of others escaped by boats-in all, thus far, about 150. With these we came to Gallop’s Ferry, 15 miles above Nag’s Head, the night of the 8th, having sent all the heavy baggage, stores, &c., we could by the tugs Roanoke and White in safety (we now know) to the canal bridge. This morning the remnant of my forces will reach there, where I shall await your orders.

It is impossible to state the loss of killed and wounded on either side, but the number must be great. But few of the casualties are yet reported. Sergeant Metzler, of the McCulloch Rangers, escaped about 5 p.m. on the 8th, and has just reported to me that the swamp to our right at Suple’s Hill, which Colonel Shaw and all had reported to be impassable to infantry, was easily passed by the enemy in quick-time; that Lieutenant Selden, in command of the 6-pounder brass howitzer, behaved with exemplary coolness and courage, and three times mowed a lane through the ranks of the enemy, killing, he thinks, at least 200 in the three fires, and was killed himself as he was sighting his gun with its last charge; that Captain Wise, on the night of the 7th, was in command of 10 of the Blues and 10 of the Rangers on picket duty; that upon returning from picket he joined the guard to the company of Rangers and drove in the enemy’s picket. This was the commencement of the action. On returning from this duty he was ordered in command of his own company of the Blues to prevent the enemy from turning our left flank, Colonel Shaw saying that if the left could be guarded the right was protected by the swamp. Early in the action he was wounded severely, and while wrapped in his blanket, being taken off the field, was struck twice again; was carried to the hospital, and is there reported to have died; that Captain Coles of the Albemarle Rangers, was killed fighting firmly and bravely; that all the men of the Legion, about 450, in the action were cool and firm and fought to the last; that most of the North Carolina regiments were kept in reserve, and finally fell back under orders of Colonel Jordan; that the artillery exhausted its ammunition before it was taken, and the 24-pounder and 18-pounder were not so efficient as the 6-pounder, {p.157} owing to having ammunition for 12-pounders only. The Pork Point Battery is said to have discharged every round of ammunition but one. Twenty of the enemy’s steamers are said to have passed up the sound yesterday evening, and this morning we hear heavy firing toward Elizabeth City, where it is feared Captain Lynch’s fleet retired.

I regret to say that the vessels, with our provisions on board for thirty days, which escaped in safety from Roanoke Island, went to Elizabeth City, and will there, I fear, be taken, unless they can escape by the Dismal Swamp Canal. I am now here with three companies of my First Regiment and about 150 men who escaped and about 200 militia without arms or ammunition. I have called in all their spades, shovels, and tools of all sorts for obstructing the canal. My ordnance officer, Lieutenant Pearce, passed on to Norfolk with many of my ordnance stores, which I hope you will have returned to me and order him to return with them. I await anxiously all the re-enforcements you can send me, and beg you will furnish provisions for, say, 300 men.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

On February 11 General Huger addressed to me the following:

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., February 11, 1862.

General HENRY A. WISE, Currituck Bridge:

GENERAL: I received this morning your letter from Poplar Springs yesterday. I hope you met Colonel Corprew, with the Sixth Regiment Virginia Volunteers, at Currituck Bridge. I regret you had suffered from so severe an attack of illness. I would recommend you as soon as you have organized your forces to place them under command of Colonel Corprew, and return home and get your health re-established.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General.

FEBRUARY 11, 1862-11 a.m.

No further news from Elizabeth City or South Mills. I have sent a battery of artillery and re-enforcements down there.

B. H.

On the same day I replied as follows:

CANAL BRIDGE, N. C., February 11, 1862.

Maj. Gen. B. HUGER, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: I wrote my report under such inconvenient circumstances that I omitted to add that, on the second day of the bombardment, the enemy, on the 8th instant, opened about 9 a.m.; fired irregularly for an hour and ceased. They opened again about 12 m., and fired for about half an hour and ceased.

The fight with small-arms was continued by the men of my Legion all the day of the 8th, and they renewed the fight again on the 9th. I am now convinced that the defense would have been made better if the troops which had been posted there had been removed out of the way entirely. Colonel Shaw ordered retreat before he was justified in doing so, and Colonel Jordan’s Thirty-first Regiment was hardly in the fight at all, and he demoralized them by ordering them to take care of themselves while they were in reserve, and they were never led into the action at all. He is said to have escaped, to be in Norfolk or Portsmouth, and, if so, I ask for his arrest. Colonel Shaw is a prisoner. Colonel Corprew arrived this evening between 3 and 4 o’clock with five companies.

I have obstructed the canal by sinking one old barge across the North River end of it, and will add more obstructions, as the enemy now have the dredging-machine which was taken to Roanoke Island, and may remove easily any ordinary obstructions. I shall try to obstruct the channels at the Narrows of the Currituck Sound, also at Poplar Spring. The militia have been called out, but they have but few indifferent arms and no ammunition. I will feed those who will work efficiently, and send the rest home. They are, in fact, in the way.

Yesterday I sent my official aide, Captain Bacon, and a volunteer, Captain Doland, to Elizabeth City. They were there last night and have just returned, reporting that about two-thirds of the town is burned, and fourteen heavy war steamers are lying off Cobb’s Point. The inhabitants have all left and burned the town themselves. Several schooners, with the provisions sent to Roanoke Island, a large supply, are lying up Sawyer’s Creek, about 8 miles above the floating bridge. Captain Bacon stationed a {p.158} picket at the latter, and ordered that, upon the appearance of the enemy, the bridge should be let down, and a schooner all ready to be sunk, so as to obstruct the creek upward.

To-morrow morning I will dispatch him with a detachment of cavalry to procure teams, and have our stores hauled to a place of safety. If the enemy approach to seize them, orders were given to destroy them. This morning, upon her arrival from below, I dispatched the tug Currituck with a flag of truce, in charge of Major Duffield and Captain Robinson, to Roanoke Island, to inquire for killed and wounded; to take clothing and other comforts to the latter, and, if possible, to obtain the bodies of Captains Wise and Coles and Lieutenant Selden, and get all the information they could. I expect the tug back to-morrow evening.

It is reported that Colonel Henningsen, with my artillery, has moved toward Edenton. I shall order him back. He is needed both at South Mills and here. I beg you to order him to join me at Currituck Court-House or Indiantown. I trust also that you will urge the forwarding of my cavalry-they are very much needed to head these streams-with dispatch, and there is a vast amount of forage to sup ply them which cannot be got to market and is in danger of being taken by the enemy. My artillery and cavalry are needed to prevent the enemy from landing and from reaching Currituck Court-Rouse from Elizabeth City or South Mills and from cutting us off. Indeed, the cavalry is indispensable on these peninsulas.

I thank you, sir, gratefully for the leave, after organizing my forces, to return home for the sake of my health. Providence sharply prohibited me from sharing the fate of my brave, devoted troops, but I can sit in my saddle now. I am happier at the post of duty than I could be at a home now wailing for its best scion, cut down in its full vigor; and, God willing, I never mean to leave the remnant of my men again until I see them recruited again and proudly reanimated. I humbly think that now I may ask your co-operation in building up a corps which more than attempted to obey your orders to be cool, to work, and to fight hard. They have done so nobly and devotedly up to the muzzle, to wounds, captivity, and death, against such odds only as were irresistible by their numbers.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

On February 11 I detailed William G. Wilson, esq., of Indian Ridge, Currituck, with a sufficient force of laborers to cut trees across the Indiantown Creek and otherwise obstruct it by all the means in his power 4 miles below the creek bridge. On the 11th also I sent a flag of truce to the enemy, to obtain the bodies of officers killed in action and to ascertain the number of killed and wounded and to take comforts to the latter. Our killed and wounded were 10 of the former and 30 of the latter; the enemy’s loss was from 300 to 500 killed and wounded; the former number they admitted.

On the 12th I received orders from the War Department showing that my cavalry was sent to Garysburg. Not a company of mine has joined my command in this district.

February 13 General Huger addressed to me the following:

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, February 11, 1862.

Brigadier-General WISE:

I have received your letter of the 11th. I am glad to hear you are recovering. I will inform you further what I can do on the several subjects you mention when I get a little more certain information. Captain Tabb reported to me a few days ago, and not being able at this time to forward him to you, I ordered him to collect all the stragglers of your Legion, officers and men, and require transportation and forward them to you. Every one who can is escaping to this town, and I desire to get them back to their duty as soon as possible. Shall I continue Captain Tabb on this service? At this time I have no report from any company of cavalry of your command, and I do not know exactly where Colonel Henningsen is. I hear he is moving toward South Mills. This separation of your troops was one reason why I thought you might assist in collecting and reorganizing them, and I leave it to your judgment at what point you can be most usefully employed. Provisions for ten days for 300 men have been sent to-day.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

B. H.

{p.159}

CURRITUCK BRIDGE, N. C., February 13, 1862-12 noon.

I have received a message from Edenton by a Mr. Haughton, who left there yesterday. He states that the enemy landed at Edenton yesterday morning, estimated 5,000. I have many stragglers of your Legion here. All effective men should move toward Suffolk, and non-effective west of Suffolk, to come back when ready. By this movement up the river they are passing around your position. The report of the landing at Edenton is fully confirmed. I send this by my messenger in haste.

Your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General.

P. S.-I hope to hear from your flag of truce this evening or to-morrow.

This gave me fall discretion to select whatever position I could occupy most usefully, and intimated that there was apprehension the enemy would, by moving up the river, pass around my position. I immediately replied as follows:

CURRITUCK COURT-HOUSE, N. C., February 13, 1862.

Maj. Gen. B. HUGER, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: Seeing the position at the Canal Bridge utterly indefensible by my force without field artillery, and that the men had no quarters and the heavy artillery exposed to capture, I this morning shipped them in a schooner, and have ordered them to the Great Bridge, on the Virginia section of this canal, with all my extra ordnance and commissary stores. I have ordered the unarmed escaped men of the North Carolina regiments to Norfolk. They are unfit for service. Just as we were moving from the canal bridge three of the enemy’s steamers appeared at the North River end of the canal and opened with a few round shot and shell, which all fell short. We moved slowly away while they were landing at the mouth of the canal. We by land and the transports by water have all arrived here safely. Colonel Henningsen is reported as not far off-some 5 miles-with his artillery. This will give me eleven companies of infantry and artillery and one of cavalry. I have ordered vedettes down to the bridge and westward near to Sawyer’s Creek. I shall be governed by the movements of the enemy. I sank a barge at the mouth of the canal and a steam dredging-machine higher up, so as effectually to delay for a day or two, if not to effectually arrest, the entrance or passage of the canal. I beg that Captain Tabb may detail another officer to collect and send to me the stragglers of the Legion. I do not want any of the Eighth and Thirty-first Regiments of North Carolina. Captain Tabb’s services as my assistant adjutant-general are needed very much. Please send the Legion men to me, not to Suffolk. The enemy cannot get around my position by passing up the sound and rivers. I fear they mean to move on the Great Bridge. Captain Robinson has taken full report of the flag of truce.

Very respectfully,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

On the same day I also addressed to him the following:

CANAL BRIDGE, CURRITUCK COUNTY, N. C., February 13, 1862.

Major-General HUGER, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: The Currituck, with flag of truce, has just returned. She brings the bodies of Captains Wise and Coles and of Lieutenant Selden, and a copy of Major Duffield’s report is herein inclosed. Captain Robinson bears to you the letter of General Burnside. I send also the copy of his to me. I beg most earnestly that his proposition be at once accepted and my men released on parole. The messenger must return immediately to Elizabeth City. Send Captain Robinson, if you please, back with a favorable answer. The enemy have about 15,000 men; they landed about 10,000; had 5,000 in the action; 5,000 in reserve. We had not over 500 in action. Our killed, about 15; the enemy’s, about 400.

Edenton has fallen. This place is wholly indefensible by the force under my command here. I have determined to move the guns to Currituck Court-House, and, after getting quarters there, to advance toward Elizabeth City and join my forces on the line between Edenton and Currituck. We are to-day throwing more obstructions into the canal and will block it effectually.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

{p.160}

On February 15 I addressed to General Huger the following:

NEAR NORTHWEST BRIDGE, VA., February 15, 1862.

Maj. Gen. B. HUGER, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: I have forwarded all extra baggage and stores (saving just what is necessary of commissary stores) to the Great Bridge. Had determined to take post a while at the Northwest River, but finding no quarters, and the weather being very bad in which to expose my men, I concluded it best to fall back to Great Bridge, there to erect quarters, intrench myself, and thence move upon the enemy in case he attempts to penetrate the country and seize on the little canal leading from Northwest River to the Dismal Swamp Canal. I shall try to obstruct Northwest River and Tull Creek, and will fight the enemy at both points. If he passes or crosses south of me before I can obstruct him, I will block the streams and canals behind him and harass his rear.

I beg you to order Col. J. Lucius Davis, at Garysburg, to send three, if he can (two, at all events), of his companies of cavalry, by the shortest route, via South Mills or Sawyer’s Creek, to me at North West River Bridge. With his remaining companies (six, if he has them, or as many as he has) he will take the most eligible position northeast of Edenton, as near that place as prudent, so as to communicate both with South Mills or Colonel Wright’s command and mine.

Captain Belsches’ company is overtaxed in vedette service from Currituck Court-House to Norfolk and to Elizabeth City and South Mills. I ask that you will order Colonel Davis to scout the enemy’s cavalry, said to be 150, landed at Edenton, to their saddle-girths. He must not let them penetrate the country beyond cannon range.

The enemy has left the Currituck Canal Bridge and Elizabeth City. No report of them to-day. They said at the bridge their purpose was to attack the rear of Norfolk from several points simultaneously.

I will arrange the defenses of Great Bridge. Send Colonel Henningsen on there today. He joined me yesterday. I follow with a rear guard of infantry, in charge of baggage and stores, to-morrow morning.

My march is necessarily scattered to get quarters. As soon as I make matters safe and systematic at Great Bridge I will return and establish a post at Northwest and Falls Bridges, obstruct these streams, and endeavor to join Colonel Davis, Cavalry is our only means of communication now.

I inclose orders to Colonel Davis, which I hope you will approve.

I received your acceptance of General Burnside’s proposition, and forwarded it to Elizabeth City immediately, in charge of Captain Belsches, having no steam-tugs to convey it to the island.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

P. S.-From personal inspection and all reliable information it is certain there is an abundance of forage and provisions in the country between this and Edenton.

Meeting General Huger here at the Great Bridge on the 19th, he expressed his surprise that I should have fallen back to this point, after having left me full discretion to select whatever position I could occupy most usefully; after warning me that the enemy might pass around my position at Currituck Canal Bridge; after being regularly informed of my intention to fall back, and after knowing that the enemy had already appeared at the North River end of the Currituck section of the canal, might remove the obstructions there, and by passing up Currituck Sound cut me off sure enough, or might attack the Northwest or Little Canal and gain the Dismal Swamp Canal, or land at North Landing and seize this section of the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal and seriously threaten the rear of Norfolk, and after being informed that there were no quarters for my men at a very bad season, and no defensible position by a small force between this and Currituck Canal Bridge!

The same day (19th) I received an order from the War Department, to which I replied as follows:

{p.161}

GREAT BRIDGE, NORFOLK COUNTY VA, February 19, 1862-5 p.m.

Maj. Gen. B. HUGER. Commanding, &c.:

SIR: I was within the current hour surprised by the following order:

“SPECIAL ORDERS “No. 40.}

“ADJUTANT AND INSPECTOR GENERAL’S OFFICE, “Richmond, Va., February 18, 1862.

...

“XVIII. Brigadier-General Wise, with the Legion under his present command, exclusive of the eight battery companies, will proceed, with the least practicable delay, to Manassas, and report to General Joseph E. Johnston, commanding the Department of Northern Virginia.

...

“By command of the Secretary of War:

“JNO. WITHERS, “Assistant Adjutant-General.”

It is not for me to murmur at any military order commanding my prompt obedience. I am bound to regard it as not meant to do me any injustice and to obey it implicitly; but I trust that under the circumstances of my case and my command I may be allowed a little reasonable time to make arrangements and inquiries necessary to be made under so sudden and unexpected an order.

1st. My men cannot properly be moved to Manassas until they are provided with clothes, blankets, and outfits generally, of which many were wholly deprived by the late disaster at Roanoke Island.

2d. I require some short time to prepare a full report of my command in the district assigned to me in North Carolina attached to your department.

3d. I desire a few days of time to attend to my private family affairs.

4th. I beg time to inquire of the War Department its purpose in respect to my Legion, and respectfully to protest against detaching the companies of the light batteries. The remnant of the Legion, without these companies, is so small, that it will be inefficient as a distinct force. I wish also to inquire whether by present command the Department means to include the men only whom I have with me here at the Great Bridge, excluding my men to be exchanged as prisoners and my cavalry.

5th. I wish respectfully to inquire whether this order, weakening your defenses in the rear of Norfolk meets with your approbation, or has been issued at your instance or with your cognizance, and to inquire of the Department whether any censure upon my command here is intended by this order.

With great labor and sacrifice I raised the Legion to 2850 men, and left 2,400 efficient men at Camp Defiance when my command in the West was transferred to General Floyd. I had the repeated promises of the President and of the Secretary of War to have my Legion restored to me, all except the companies raised in Western Virginia, which were desirous of remaining to defend their homes; but four companies elected to remain in the West. Six were ordered to be left there and ten were taken from both the Legion and from the West, where they were wanting, and sent to South Carolina. Less than 900 men, 750 infantry and 100 artillery, have been forwarded to me. My cavalry has been sent to Garysburg, N. C., and has just been ordered by me to this district. Several of my companies have been left in the West and not tarnished with transportation, and nineteen of my companies have been captured and are now prisoners of war. I left nine pieces of light artillery in the West. Four were taken from me, with the express promise of General Lee and the Department that they or their equivalent should be restored to me in the East, and now, if it be the design of this order to take from me all my companies and pieces of artillery, I desire to be so informed distinctly, in order that I may understandingly determine upon the course which self-respect demands of me to pursue.

With the request that you will forward this communication to the War Department, I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

GREAT BRIDGE, NORFOLK COUNTY, VA., February 19, 1862.

His Excellency J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

SIR: The foregoing letter, addressed to General Huger, touching your Special Orders, No. 40, Extract XVIII, 18th instant, I have, as you see, requested time to forward to the War Department for information upon certain points and for answers to certain {p.162} inquiries which concern my personal rights and self-respect. I protest that my motives are founded upon the most anxious desire to serve my country on terms consistent with a sense of honor and of justice to myself and to the brave and faithful officers and men who have joined my command. They have served arduously and faithfully from one extremity of the State to another, and at last have been compelled to fight against all odds without support of re-enforcements and without adequate means of defense; and have fought well, firmly, and nobly. They have never yet been provided with winter quarters; were removed from the western part of Virginia, where their services were urgently required, at a very inclement season, without a proper allowance of transportation, and now ordered in the depth of winter again to change quarters to Northern Virginia, while their services are again urgently required here.

Very respectfully,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

To these I have as yet received no reply from either General Huger or the Secretary of War. But yesterday, the 21st, I received the following papers, one of which is not signed:

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., February 21, 1862.

Brig. Gen. HENRY A. WISE, Provisional Army Confederate States:

GENERAL: Major-General Huger directs me to say to you that Extract XVIII of Special Orders, No. 40, Adjutant and Inspector General’s Office, Richmond, February 18, 1862, renders it necessary that he should make a different arrangement of the brigade in this department. I therefore, by his directions, inclose you an extract of General Orders, No. 14, from these headquarters, for your information and guidance.

I am, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

- -, Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Inclosure.]

“GENERAL ORDERS, “No. 14.}

“HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, “Norfolk, Va., February 20, 1862.

“Until further orders the following will be the arrangement and designation of the brigades in this department:

...

“II. The Second Brigade, the country east of the Elizabeth River (South Branch), and extending southeast of the Dismal Swamp, in Virginia and North Carolina; headquarters Norfolk, Brig. Gen. William Mahone commanding.

“By command of Brigadier-General Huger:

“S. S. ANDERSON, “Assistant Adjutant-General.”

To these I have to-day (the 22d) replied as follows:

GREAT BRIDGE, NORFOLK COUNTY, VA., February 22, 1862.

Maj. Gen. B. HUGER, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: Yesterday evening late I received the inclosed papers, purporting to come from the headquarters Department of Norfolk. As the letter professing to communicate General Orders, No. 14, is not signed, non constat that the order was intended to be issued. But, if it was so intended, I respectfully submit that this has been ordered to be issued before you have replied to mine of February 19, and before a reasonable time has been allowed to receive an answer from the War Department to the same.

I respectfully ask whether I may expect an answer from you to the inquiries of that letter? If not, I will immediately demand a court of inquiry upon my defense of Roanoke Island and upon the previous preparation for its defense. At our last personal interview at this place you said verbally that you would order a survey of the sea-beach on the coast of Virginia and North Carolina, to ascertain whether horses moving from Norfolk could be led down that beach to Nag’s Head. In case of such a survey I beg to have notice; and in case of a court of inquiry I claim the justice of not being separated from my artillery corps.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

{p.163}

I am thus (after obeying all orders to the letter and, without men or means being furnished at all adequate to meet an ordinary superior force, fighting for two days one of the most formidable expeditions ever fitted out on this continent, and giving my men, and more than my men, as martyrs to military law and obedience, and suffering, by sickness, care, and grief more pangs than bullets could inflict) left in an anomalous state of doubt whether I am censured or superseded or not, or am a commander without a command or not.

FEBRUARY 23, 1862.

To-day I received the following letter and order:

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, February 23, 1862.

Brig. Gen. HENRY A. WISE:

SIR: The general commanding has received your letter, addressed to him, acknowledging the receipt of special order, dated Adjutant and Inspector General’s Office, Richmond, February 18, 1862, (paragraph XVIII). As requested by you, it was immediately forwarded to the War Department.

The general has no reply to make to your letter. The order is imperative, and, being sent through him, it is his duty to see that you obey it, and he directs, if you have not already made the necessary arrangements, that you call at once on the proper departments to provide transportation, &c., and give the necessary orders to move your troops to the point indicated.

The pieces of light artillery and the company or detachment serving them will remain at its present position, unless otherwise ordered by the War Department.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. S. ANDERSON, Assistant Adjutant-General.

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 14.}

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., February 20, 1862.

Until further orders the following will be the arrangement and designation of the brigades of this department:

...

II. The Second Brigade, the country east of the Elizabeth River (South Branch), and extending southeast of the Dismal Swamp, in Virginia and North Carolina; headquarters Norfolk, Brigadier-General Mahone commanding.

By command of Major-General Huger:

S. S. ANDERSON, Assistant Adjutant-General.

In reply I addressed to Asst. Adjt. Gen. S. S. Anderson a letter of which the following is a copy:

GREAT BRIDGE, VA., February 23, 1862-1 p.m.

S. S. ANDERSON, Assistant Adjutant-General:

I have just received yours of this day. Please say to the general commanding that I have drawn from his silence in declining to reply to my letter the only inferences which seem to me fair and logical, and I shall immediately demand a court of inquiry upon the defenses of Roanoke Island and his conduct of them as well as mine.*

I have obeyed the imperative order of the War Department, and turned the command of this post and that of the light battery of my Legion over to Brig. Gen. William Mahone.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

* This was forwarded by Major-General Huger with the following indorsement:

“Respectfully forwarded for the information of the Secretary of War. Brigadier-General Wise has the right to ask a court of inquiry on himself, but I am not aware of his right to ask the favor for me.”

{p.164}

FEBRUARY 28, 1862.

Having forwarded my remaining troops to Norfolk for transportation to Manassas I arrived at home the 26th instant and yesterday received from the Secretary of War the following:

CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, Va., February 23, 1862.

Brig. Gen. HENRY A. WISE, Norfolk, Va.:

SIR: I am in receipt of your letter of the 19th instant, forwarded by General Huger, as well as of a duplicate sent directly to this Department. I have no objection to answering your inquiries in relation to Special Orders, No. 40.

The recent disaster at Roanoke Island, having completely broken up the organization of your Legion, left you without a command sufficient to justify your retaining the office of brigadier-general, the act of Congress having provided that the officer should hold his rank only while his brigade is in service. (Section 6, Act of March 6, 1861.)

General Huger notified the Department that in the organization of the brigades of his department you were supernumerary. General Joseph E. Johnston was urgent with the President to send him additional general officers. Your Legion was reduced to a few companies of infantry, two companies of artillery, and an incomplete regiment of cavalry, not sufficient for an independent command. Under these circumstances the President deemed it advisable that the remainder of your Legion should be sent to the Army of the Potomac, in order to replace a regiment of North Carolina Cavalry, under Colonel Ransom, which it was thought proper to send into North Carolina, and to order you to the same army, in order that General Johnston might assign to you the command of a brigade, thus enabling the President to retain you in the service without loss of rank in the only manner allowed by law.

In regard to your application for a short leave of absence, on the grounds stated in your letter, the Department willingly accords you a leave of twenty days, as it is not believed that during the interval any active operations will occur in the Army of the Potomac.

I am, your obedient servant,

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

In reply to the foregoing letter, permit me to say that by the recent disaster at Roanoke Island the organization of my Legion was not completely broken up. It was reduced to three companies of the First Regiment of Infantry, under Colonel Richardson, two under Colonel Tyler, two under Lieutenant-Colonel Green (not captured), Captain Lowry’s company, which had been attached to the artillery (now a full company), and to the fragments of companies-men who escaped from Roanoke Island, about 70 men, now organized-making in all the equivalent of nine companies of infantry; to two companies of artillery, with five pieces; and to nine companies of cavalry; in all, twenty companies, numbering at least 1,000 men. Besides these there are two companies of infantry still at Lewisburg belonging to my Second Regiment; nineteen companies captured at Roanoke Island, soon to be exchanged, I hope, and my Third Regiment of Infantry, ten companies, which I still claim to be restored to me from South Carolina.

With this force, which can easily be put at once, or soon, under my command, I cannot consent that my Legion is completely disorganized; and especially I insist upon this, when I refer to my first appointment to a brigade. I was commissioned after the act of March 6 was passed, and then had not a single company of the Legion mustered into service. But it may be said that I was assigned to the command of a district. True, but the entire number of volunteers under Colonel Tompkins did not then exceed 600 men, and for months my entire brigade did not number 1,000, the force I now have. If, then, my brigade might exist at first, before a sufficient number was raised for an independent command, I cannot see why it may not continue now, with many more forces than I had at first, and when, too, the Department may speedily {p.165} restore the Legion, as it was promised me, to its full force. Instead of this I respectfully complain that the two companies and five pieces of artillery have been ordered to be detached from my Legion and to be retained in this department under General Huger. I earnestly insist that I may be allowed to take all my Legion to the command of General Johnston.

I had been assigned to the Chowan District, North Carolina, as an independent command, attached to the department of General Huger. His notification, then, to the Department, that in the organization of the brigades of his department I was supernumerary, was without any meaning; except that he desired a new organization and to exclude my command from his department. He might have taken a more direct and ingenuous way of getting clear of me, and I would have heartily co-operated with him. Nothing could be more agreeable to me than to be removed from his command to that of General Johnston. Please, then, express to the President my grateful acknowledgment for his order for the change of my command to the Army of the Potomac; and when you tell me that the motive of this order is that General Johnston may assign to me the command of a brigade, thus enabling the President to retain me in the service without loss of rank in the only manner allowed by law, it relieves me from much oppression of feeling and from all apprehension of his censure for my part in the defense of Roanoke Island, and I will with alacrity obey his orders and report cheerfully to General Johnston. Indeed, had it been otherwise, and if I had been driven from both rank and command, I would have volunteered in the ranks rather than have been driven from the service; but I deem it my imperative duty to the country, in justice to the President, the War Department, General Huger, and myself to demand a court of inquiry, which I do, as to the defenses of Roanoke Island, involving the conduct thereby of all who are accountable for their conduct, or at least my own responsibility. By the President’s late message to Congress I see that he is awaiting official information respecting the humiliating surrender of Roanoke Island. I now, as early as I could, send to you ample official information, and beg you to lay it before him, with my request to give it his critical attention. If I have been lagging or lacking in duty let me be condignly punished. I leave judgment upon the conduct of all others to the proper authorities and tribunals. I ask only for stern justice-court of inquiry-and am ready to make any more sacrifices which may be required of me for the public defense.

For your kind leave of absence for twenty days please accept my thanks. I wish only a few days to protect my family and property from approaching danger, and will at the earliest moment within twenty days report to you in person.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN. Secretary of War.

[Indorsement.]

ADJUTANT AND INSPECTOR GENERAL’S OFFICE, August 23, 1862.

Respectfully forwarded to the Secretary of War for the information of Congress.

JASPER S. WHITING, Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Not found.

** Diagram omitted.

*** Printed in General Huger’s report, p. 114.

{p.166}

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NEAR NORFOLK, VA., March 5, 1862.

SIR: The inclosed report of Col. H. M. Shaw [No. 25] was lately received, and as soon as copied is forwarded. I beg leave to comment upon all the reports so far only as is necessary for explanation and correction.

The first re-enforcements sent by me on the 7th were ten companies, numbering about 450 men. They landed on the north end of the island by beaching the barges and wading the men ashore. They did not stop to take their baggage out of the barges.

My artillery of the Legion not having reached me, owing to the interruption of my orders to Colonel Henningsen by General Huger, I sent to Colonel Shaw the two best artillery officers I had at Nag’s Head, Captain Schermerhorn and Lieutenant Kinney, who, notwithstanding the modest disclaimer by the former of “any particular knowledge on the subject” of artillery drill, worked their guns in battle with skill, courage, and great effect.

Colonel Shaw says: “Among these (the prisoners) are the battalions of Lieutenant-Colonel Green and Major Fry, who reached the island too late to participate in the battle.” I regret to be obliged to correct this part of Colonel Shaw’s report. Both battalions reached Roanoke Island in ample time to have participated for hours in the battle. Colonel Green did not report to me at Nag’s Head, but had orders to go, as he did, directly to the island. Had he obeyed my first order to move from Wilmington he would have been at the island more than a week before the battle. Had he not stopped his command on the 7th to go and return 20 miles and back before advancing, he would have been at the island before 7 o’clock on the 8th, and after reaching the island, about 9 o’clock, I think he could have reached the battle ground by 10 or 11 a.m. at furthest, if he had not stopped for several hours at the north end of the island to unload his baggage before advancing. He did not reach the island too late, but advanced too late to participate in the battle.

Major Fry, with his battalion, was sent over very early in the morning of the 8th, and reached the island, I am confident, by 8 or 8.30 o’clock. Instead of beaching his barges and wading to the land, as Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson did, he waited several hours, certainly more than two hours, for lighters and boats to land his men, and thus failed to get into action.

Most of the men who were missing escaped, and were of the Eighth and Thirty-first North Carolina Regiments, chiefly of the latter, and they escaped early in the evening of the 8th.

Col. J. V. Jordan did not obey his orders to fight the enemy at the water’s edge and to repel their landing, if possible, and his excuse is not satisfactory, except so far as that he had no teams for his artillery pieces, and he was ordered to save them. In his whole regiment there were but 2 (privates) killed and none wounded. The 70 who were missing escaped to me at Nag’s Head and Currituck Bridge, and were forwarded by my orders to Norfolk.

Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson’s report is confused and inaccurate in that part in which he says: “I immediately deployed Captain Wise’s company (A, Forty-sixth Regiment); Captain Coles’ company (Forty-sixth Regiment.); and Lieutenant Hazlett’s company (A, Fifty-ninth Regiment), on our left, in the swamp.” What he should have said is:

I immediately deployed Captain Wise’s company (A, Forty-sixth Regiment); Captain Coles’ company (Forty-sixth Regiment), to our left, in the marsh, and Lieutenant Hazlett’s company (A, Fifty-ninth Regiment), on our right, in the swamp, &c.

{p.167}

Major Fry’s report was written in pencil and underscored as copied. He does not report when he reached the island nor how long it took him to land nor when he reported to Colonel Shaw. His aggregate was more than 150; he had four companies, which averaged at least 45 men each, making his aggregate 180. He took several hours to land, and reached the island in full time to re-enforce our troops had he advanced at once. We had then but one tug and two barges, and he kept them waiting at least two and a half hours to land in lighters and boats, instead of beaching his barges and wading his men ashore. He, too, did not advance in time, but arrived at the island in full time to be in the battle and at a favorable moment.

Major Hill’s and Captain Taylor’s reports are clear and intelligible, and show that but three guns of all the batteries located on the island or its sounds could be brought to bear on the enemy. These reports embrace the full official accounts of the surrender of Roanoke Island. Of the causes of our defeat I have heretofore sent to the Department detailed official vouchers.

It is but just to about 400 or 500 of our infantry forces, and to the officers, and men in three of the batteries, particularly those at Pork Point, to say that they fought firmly, coolly, efficiently, and as long as humanity would allow, without a sufficiency of means of any kind; to Colonel Shaw to say that he acted bravely, and to myself to say that Providence did not permit me to share the fate of my men. I did all that time, weather, sickness, and my superiors would permit in the way of preparations, and none whatever available were made. The consequence was a defeat, which I had again and again foretold in vain, and which grieves, but does not humiliate or subdue, me.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

[Indorsement.]

There are some remarks on the report of Brigadier-General Wise, dated March 5, which require explanation from me:

First. “My artillery of the Legion not having reached me, owing to the interruption of my orders to Colonel Henningsen by General Huger,” seems to convey the insinuation that the officious interruption of General H. was the cause of the artillery not arriving. My intention was to expedite its arrival, not to prevent it, as his paragraph seems to imply. Colonel Henningsen states that he was ordered by General Wise to march with the men and horses of the artillery by a route indicated by him (the sea-beach to Nag’s Head). “The guns, caissons, and wagons I am ordered by General Wise to leave in Norfolk, to be transported by water.” Now, every tug, barge, and vessel that could be procured was engaged to transport troops, &c., to Roanoke Island, and if the men and horses were separated from their guns they would probably never meet again. I therefore ordered Colonel Henningsen to carry his artillery with him to the nearest point to Roanoke Island. My object was to get it there; not to detain it. This was on the 29th and 30th of January.

Second. The remark that Major Hill’s and Captain Taylor’s reports show that only three guns of all the batteries located on the island or its sounds could be brought to bear on the enemy is disingenuous. The enemy selected a position in which only three guns bore on them, and {p.168} these reports show that these three guns did repel their whole fleet, and, though the battery was exposed to a heavy fire, no material injury was done to the battery.

Third. The closing remark, “I did all that time, weather, sickness, and my superiors would permit in the way of preparations, and none whatever available were made.” The War Department and myself must be the superiors alluded to. We could not control time, weather, or sickness, but what available preparations asked for by General Wise that could be made by his superiors and refused him I do not know and they are not stated by him. I intended and endeavored to do all in my power to aid and assist him, and am not aware in what particular he intends to accuse me of thwarting him.

Respectfully submitted.

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General, Commanding.

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WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond, Va., March 14, 1862.

Brig. Gen. HENRY A. WISE, Norfolk, Va.:

SIR: I received on the 7th instant your letter covering copies of the reports of your subordinate officers of the affair at Roanoke Island and immediately called on General Huger for the report, which ought regularly to come through him to this Department.

In return, I learn from General Huger that you have made no report through him, and from your letter to him it seems that you propose to furnish him also copies of the reports of your subordinates. I am much disappointed at the delay which has occurred. Congress is impatient for these reports, and the delay is occasioned by the informality of your proceedings, doubtless entirely unintentional. Under the regulations it is necessary that you should make to General Huger your report of the affair at Roanoke Island, inclosing the original of the reports of your subordinates. You may indorse on these originals or annex to them any remarks you please. General Huger will then forward to me all the originals, including your report, and will indorse on it whatever remarks he thinks proper, and thus the Department will be able to communicate to Congress complete information of what is said by all the officers. The originals of all reports belong to the archives of this office, and when you sent me copies I supposed it was a mere measure of precaution after sending the originals through General Huger. Your letter to him, of which a copy has been forwarded to me, discloses the fact that you retain the originals, and that he has never seen either originals or copies. I beg your most prompt attention to the forwarding now of all these reports in proper form. I have received two calls for them from Congress, and could not, till I received the last letter of General Huger, comprehend the cause of the delay.

Your communication of February 21 was also received by me, but its very great length has prevented my reply. I find, however, that it contains a great deal which ought to have passed through General Huger for his remarks, and have therefore sent it to him.

Permit me, however, to call your attention to the fact that it is not necessary in an official report to copy into its text documents and letters. They may be appended, if necessary. The vast length of your report of the 21st is mainly due to this fact, and the brief moments {p.169} allowed for reading reports while the war is pressing on us renders it peculiarly necessary to adhere to the rule that a military report is to be a succinct statement of facts. All copies of letters, orders, documents, &c., supposed to be necessary for rendering it intelligible, may be presented in a separate paper or papers as inclosures.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

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ROLLISTON, NEAR NORFOLK, VA., March 17, 1862.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

SIR: Yours of the 14th instant was received late last night. I immediately addressed to General Huger a report, and requested him to forward it to you, with the original reports of the surrender of Roanoke Island. I had made reports previously to him, but they preceded the reports of Colonel Shaw to me. These he may not have regarded as full, and copies have been sent to the Department in mine of the 21st ultimo, sending a detailed report of the causes of the disaster at Roanoke Island. I regret the errors on my part of sending copies instead of originals, and of reporting directly to the Department instead of through General Huger. They were unintentional, as you do me the justice to suppose. I thought the originals addressed to me were mine, and that as I had been ordered from the department of General Huger I was no longer required to report to him. I meant no disrespect to him, and especially regret that what I intended as dispatch should have caused delay from mere informality. I trust my report now will conform to your instructions. I forwarded my report to General Huger last night immediately on reception of your orders.

In my communication of 21st. February I intended to give a detailed account of the causes of the surrender of Roanoke Island. I endeavored to do so in the shortest way and in a way to insure the reading of the report. To have given a history first and to have appended the vouchers, for the statements, would have increased the volume of the communication. I beg you to remember that I am demanding a court of inquiry, and that I could do no less than state the reasons, and the shortest and fairest possible mode was to state them in the language and order of official correspondence. Besides this, Congress is calling upon all for information, and I deemed it my duty to furnish the fullest in my possession. The mere delay of reading the reports of facts could not excuse the delay or the denial of justice to officials involved in a question of doubt as to their discharge of important duties. The committee of the House of Representatives has called on me for answers to certain interrogatories, and I have requested them to call for this report of the 21st February and that of the 5th March to the Department. You say that you have sent that of the 21st ultimo to General Huger “for his remarks.” In case he makes any remarks upon it, I beg to be furnished with a copy of them.

In yours to me of the 23d February you say “General Huger notified the Department that in the organization of the brigades of his department you were supernumerary,” &c. I ask for a copy of that notification by General Huger. I ask also that you will order him to furnish me with copies of his orders to Colonel Wright and others of his subordinates touching my command of the district assigned to me east of {p.170} the Chowan River in North Carolina. I have respectfully applied to General Huger for these copies in vain, and they involve issues of fact and of responsibility which are important to the public service to him, and to myself.

The leave of absence given me expires in a day or two, and to-morrow or the next day I will report to you in person at Richmond. I would have reported earlier but for the illness of my wife.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General.

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No. 25.

Report of Col. H. M. Shaw, Eighth North Carolina Infantry.

CURRITUCK COUNTY, N. C., February 24, 1862.

GENERAL: I submit the following report of the battles on Roanoke Island on the 7th and 8th instant between the Confederate forces, under my command, and those of the United States, commanded by General Burnside and Commodore Goldsborough. I also transmit herewith the reports of Colonels Anderson, Jordan, and Green, and Majors Hill and Fry, and Capt. J. S. Taylor, who was on detached service at the batteries:

On the morning of the 6th instant the enemy made his appearance, reconnoitering in the neighborhood of the marshes. Four or five steamers could be seen, but the atmosphere was so heavy the exact number could not be made out with certainty. I immediately pushed down two more companies to Ashby’s Landing, to support the two pieces of artillery which had been placed at that point some time before; sent off a dispatch to you, informing you of the enemy’s movement, and then repaired to the lower part of the island to obtain more definite information. Reaching Ashby’s Landing, I discovered a large, fleet of the enemy apparently at anchor below the marshes, and at a distance of about 8 or 10 miles from Ashby’s. With the aid of a glass about sixty steam and sail vessels could be counted. Returning to camp, preparations were made to move the entire effective force to the southern part of the island, in compliance with your orders received in the evening. Having detailed a sufficient number of men to guard my camp and that of Colonel Jordan, the balance was marched down. A part bivouacked near Ashby’s and the rest on the lower end of the island, in the immediate vicinity of Pugh’s Landing. Taking Maj. George Williamson and a strong picket guard I repaired at once to Pugh’s Landing, where I learned from Captain Pugh that the fleet of the enemy, numbering about seventy vessels, gunboats and transports, was anchored in the sound, about 4 miles from his landing.

The fog being very heavy, it was 9 o’clock in the morning before the fleet could be seen with any sort of distinctness. At about 10 o’clock the movement of the fleet commenced. I remained at Pugh’s until several of the steamers had passed through the marshes at the main pass, and as there was no indication of an intention on the part of the enemy to effect a landing at that place, I directed Major Williamson to remain with the picket guard to watch the movements of the enemy, and if he should find that no landing would be attempted at that place to return to Ashby’s, taking with him the troops and the field piece, {p.171} and then, accompanied by Lieutenant Talcott. Provisional Army Confederate States, who had kindly volunteered his services to me, I repaired to Ashby’s Landing, and having remained there until it had become apparent to my mind that the enemy designed the reduction of Pork Point Battery before attempting to land his troops, and having repeated to Colonel Jordan the order to fight the enemy at the water should he attempt to land, but to fall back to the redoubt should such a movement become necessary to save the field pieces, I proceeded with Lieutenant Talcott to Pork Point Battery, which we reached at 12 m.

Soon after the battle had begun Major Hill, who was in immediate command at that fort, having given a detailed account of the battle of that day as well as that of the succeeding day at that fort, in his report, herewith submitted, it is not my purpose to add to it further than to indorse all that he has said in praise of the coolness, courage, and persevering efforts of the officers and men of his command, who seemed to be inspired by the noble example set them by Major Hill, as well also by that of Captain Taylor and Lieutenants Talcott and Loyall, who were present at both battles at that place, having been sent to the island a short time before by General Huger on temporary detached service.

At 4.15 o’clock, having observed some indications which induced a belief on my part that the enemy designed landing some troops below the battery for the purpose of making a flank movement upon it by land, and the small-arms of the two companies in the battery having been lost by the destruction of their quarters, I left the battery to rejoin the infantry and send re-enforcements to the battery. Having met Major Williamson, who was hastening to communicate with me, I ordered him to return and move two companies to Pork Point, to be at hand if needed. He did so, taking up Company A, Captain Hinton, and Company G, Captain Yellowley, both of the Eighth Regiment North Carolina troops. Soon after I fell in with Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson, having with him portions of the Forty-sixth and Fifty-ninth Virginia Volunteers-about 400 re-enforcements sent over by you. Reaching the redoubt across the main road, I found, what Major Williamson had already apprised me of that Colonel Jordan had withdrawn the artillery from Ashby’s without resisting the landing of the enemy and had taken position at the redoubt. He informed me that the enemy had effected a landing above Ashby’s and beyond the reach of the pieces. In his own report you will find his reasons for thus falling back fully set forth.

By this time it was night, and nothing remained but to make a stand at the redoubt. Pickets were put out and the troops bivouacked on the low and wet ground adjacent to the breastwork, where they passed the tedious hours of a cold and rainy night without a single murmur or complaint. About day reconnoitering party was sent out and information obtained of the approach of the enemy in large force.

I then ordered Colonel Anderson to put out a part of his command on the left of the breastwork, and Captain Wise being in command of the companies selected for that service, I instructed him to take position under cover of a small piece of swamp on that flank, and to assail the advance guard of the enemy, directing his fire to the artillery, should the enemy attempt to plant any within reach. Soon after I received a message from that officer saying that a position could not be obtained at the point indicated, and I then directed him to take the most favorable position he could.

At 7 a.m. the battle commenced, and as soon as the enemy gathered {p.172} in force, which was in a very few minutes thereafter, our battery opened fire. This battery was composed of three pieces-one 24-pounder howitzer, one 18-pounder field piece, and one 6-pounder. For the 18-pounder the only ammunition we had was 12-pounder ammunition. The artillery detachments may be said to have been almost totally uninstructed. Having in my command no officers acquainted with that practice save Major Hill, whose duties confined him to Pork Point Battery, I applied to Colonel Richardson, upon his arrival at Nag’s Head, for so me officers to instruct the men. He had none. Upon your reaching that place I made a like application to you. Captain Schermerhorn and Lieutenant Kinney were sent. The former disclaimed any particular knowledge upon the subject. They were immediately sent to Ashby’s; but the enemy made his appearance so soon, little time was allowed them to drill the men.

Captain Schermerhorn was placed in charge of the 18-pounder, Lieutenant Kinney of the 24-pounder, and Lieut. W. B. Selden, Engineer Department, who had patriotically volunteered his services in the line, was assigned to the 6-pounder, and, notwithstanding the men had received so little instruction, these pieces were handled in such a way as to produce immense havoc in the enemy’s ranks; especially that of Lieutenant Selden, whose conduct elicited the unbounded admiration of all who witnessed it. Unhappily at about 11 o’clock that gallant officer received a rifle-ball in his head, and he fell without a groan, a willing sacrifice to a cause which he had espoused with all the ardor of his generous nature.

In the mean time the fire of the musketry had been kept up front the commencement of the action with unabated vigor by the following companies under cover of the breastwork: Company B, Captain Whitson, Eighth Regiment North Carolina State troops; Company B, Captain Liles, and Company F, Captain Knight, Thirty-first Regiment North Carolina troops; Company B, Captain Dickinson, and Company K, Lieutenant Roy, Fifty-ninth Virginia Volunteers; and Company E, Lieut. J. R. Murchison, Eighth Regiment North Carolina State troops, whose second lieutenant, N. G. Munro, a promising young officer, fell on his approach near the redoubt.

By the gallant officers and brave men of the above-named companies an unceasing and effective fire was kept up from 7 a.m. until 12.20, when, our artillery ammunition having been exhausted and our right flank having been turned by an overwhelming force of the enemy, I was compelled to yield the place.

The entire available force of my command, exclusive of the companies on duty at the several batteries, amounted to 1,434, rank and file. Of these 568 were of the Eighth North Carolina State troops, 456 of the Thirty-first North Carolina troops, and the balance of the Forty-sixth and Fifty-ninth Virginia Volunteers, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson, who, together with Major Lawson, was at the redoubt during the most part of the action, and rendered efficient service. The enemy’s force amounted to 15,000 men, with several pieces of artillery. With the very great disparity of forces, the moment the redoubt was flanked I considered the island lost. The struggle could have been protracted, and the small body of brave men which had been held in reserve might have been brought up into the open space to receive the fire of the overwhelming force on our flank, which was under cover of trees; but they would have been sacrificed without the smallest hope of a successful result.

The mules and horses attached to the artillery had been killed during {p.173} the action; the pieces had to be abandoned, and believing it utterly impossible to make a successful stand against such an overwhelming force, I deemed it my duty to surrender.

A verified roll of the prisoners has gone to General Huger, through Major Allston, Provisional Army Confederate States. The number, I believe, is about 2,500. Among these are the battalions of Colonel Green and Major Fry, who reached the island too late to participate in the battle. Colonel Green, however, had a skirmish with the enemy, an account of which is given in his report.

The loss on our side in killed, wounded, and missing, is as follows:

Killed, 23; wounded, 58; and missing, 62. The loss of the Forty-sixth and Fifty-ninth Virginia Volunteers is 6 killed, 28 wounded, and 19 missing; that of the Eighth, Thirty-first, and Second North Carolina troops is 16 killed, 30 wounded, and 43 missing; of the Engineer Department, Lieutenant Selden was killed.

Two companies at Fort Forrest are reported to have blown up the fort and made their escape. A detachment of 17 men, under Lieutenant Pulley, of the Thirty-first North Carolina troops, stationed at the battery at Midgett’s Hommock, also escaped.

In addition to the officers killed, whose names have already been mentioned, the country will deplore the loss of Capt. O. J. Wise, of the Forty-sixth Virginia Volunteers, who fell bravely fighting at the head of his company, and whose last utterances as he was borne from the field were words of encouragement to his fellow-soldiers. Captain Coles, of the same regiment, also proved himself a gallant soldier, and was killed upon the field.

While I bear testimony to the bravery and good conduct of the officers and men generally who were under my immediate observation during the long protracted action, it is my duty to express the decided belief that, had an opportunity offered, the officers and men so long held in reserve under the most trying circumstances would have shown themselves worthy the confidence of the country. The loss of the enemy in killed and wounded was very great.

I cannot close this report without giving expression to the deep grief which I feel on account of the disaster which has befallen us, and at the same time expressing the earnest hope that the Great Being who holds the destinies of nations in the hollow of His hand will soon enable us to retrieve the losses we have sustained.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. M. SHAW, Colonel Eighth North Carolina State Troops.

Brig. Gen. HENRY A. WISE, Commanding Fourth Brigade, Department of Norfolk.

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No. 26.

Report of Capt. James M. Whitson, Eighth North Carolina Infantry.

FEBRUARY 6, 1862-8 p.m.

Received orders to-night to muster all the available strength of my company, with one day’s ration, and march to Pugh’s Landing, distant 9 miles from the camp.

At 2 o’clock on the following morning we arrived at the church near {p.174} the entrance of the road leading to and half a mile from the intended destination of our troops. Here we were halted and ordered to remain till further orders.

At the dawn of day orders reached us to resume our march for the landing. Immediately our forces were under arms and wading through the ponds of water that intercepted our march; but we had not proceeded far when another order from the commanding officer met us, directing us to fall back again to the spot that we had just left, where we remained till 1 p.m.

At 12 o’clock the enemy’s fleet engaged our fort on the shore, and one hour after the cannonading commenced our forces were ordered to gain Ashby’s Landing with all possible speed, 3 miles in our rear; but before we reached the landing we were again halted. It was now about 4 o’clock, when we saw two or three companies retreating from the landing last mentioned in double-quick time, with two or three field pieces, which I supposed had been previously planted at the landing to prevent the landing of the enemy’s troops. Again we were ordered to reform and retire to the little intrenchment at Suple’s Hill, a point still farther to our rear.

By the time we reached this last point, after the reception of a few shot and shell from the enemy’s fleet, the day had nearly reached its close. While darkness was gathering over us the firmament was becoming thickly condensed with cloud, threatening us with storms of rain, which fell incessantly before day. At the battery, while Colonel Shaw, of the Eighth North Carolina State troops, and Colonel Jordan, of the Thirty-first North Carolina Volunteers, were probably concerting their plans for the defense of the works, our troops were waiting for the next order, and apparently in eager expectation of the arrival of the enemy. At length the conclusion came, when Colonel Jordan, of the aforesaid volunteers, was left in command at the battery. My company having been detached from its regiment by order of Colonel Shaw, to remain with the forces under Colonel Jordan at the battery, was ordered by the latter (Colonel Jordan) to take position on the right of the battery and to defend it, whereupon I immediately moved my men in position, ordering them to stack their arms for the purpose of executing another order from Colonel Jordan to me relative to overlaying the battery with pine bushes, which was soon accomplished in good order; but finding the length of the breastwork from the gun and embrasure on the left of my company to the extreme right totally insufficient to admit my company in two ranks, I applied to Colonel Jordan for spades, that I might both lengthen and turn the battery to the rear so as to facilitate a disposition against a flank movement of the enemy should they attempt it, but unfortunately the spades could not be had. The night passed, and a dark night it was.

The morning came, February 8, and we were all wet with the rain of the previous night, and soon our pickets were driven in and reported they were coming. Scarcely fifteen minutes had elapsed before the balls were whistling thick and fast about our ranks from the long-range rifles of the invaders. A vast number of shots were fired at us, taking but little effect in our lines, before we answered or returned the fire, with the exception of what firing was done by a few of our skirmishers deployed against them.

At length an attempt was made by the enemy as if to charge our battery, but it was at this crisis of the action that we poured a deadly fire into them, repulsing them, as we supposed, with considerable loss, as we did on several other subsequent occasions. Finding it impossible {p.175} to carry our works by means of charging them in front, the enemy next determined, if possible, to gain the right and left flanks of our line, which they succeeded in doing after a five hours’ struggle, having to ford a deep, boggy swamp, which compelled them to move very cautiously and very slowly. During the movement through the swamp to our right Colonels Shaw and Jordan, both being in the latter, urged me to watch the movement, which I did with the utmost precaution, causing my men to fire on the enemy at every opportunity.

Half an hour before the retreat took place, seeing that my company on the right was occupying a critical position, becoming more and more exposed to the fire of the enemy, I passed quickly from my position to Colonel Jordan, informing him of the enemy’s movements, and having done this, I passed quickly back to my company. Up to this time I had lost 2 of my men killed and 4 or 5 others wounded.

The fire was now becoming intense, the right flank of my company being the most hotly attacked. Believing that a change of position was really necessary, and that in a few moments more we should be swept with an overraking fire, I threw the right wing of company to the rear, in order to diminish its front. I again went to Colonel Shaw and informed him of the position gained against us.

About this time a retreat had been determined, Colonel Shaw having informed me that we should have to evacuate the works. A few minutes more and all our forces were retreating in the direction of the camp.

I had not left the battery but a few paces when I received a slight wound from a ball which passed through the leg of my pants, cutting my leg, but very shallow, though it prohibited me from walking for several days.

Many of my command, being near their homes and thoroughly acquainted and familiar with the vicinity of the island and the region of country around, succeeded in making their escape from the island after the action was over, and some after the surrender was made, before they could be taken prisoners-some leaving their baggage and others carrying both baggage and guns with them. These men, about 35 or 40 in number, are liable to do service, and I have instructed several of them that I have seen to report to those officers of my company who were not taken prisoners for duty. Enoch F. Baxter, brevet lieutenant, Sergts. Lewis N. Simmons and Caleb Toler, and four corporals made their escape. The other commissioned officers and sergeants were made prisoners and paroled.

Respectfully submitted.

JAMES M. WHITSON, Captain Company B, Eighth Regiment N. C. State Troops.

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No. 27.

Report of Col. John V. Jordan, Thirty-first North Carolina Infantry.

STEAMER SPAULDING, February 17, 1862.

SIR: I herewith submit to you a report of the part taken by my regiment in the late engagement on Roanoke Island between the forces of the Confederate States and those of the United States.

The first appearance of the enemy was on the morning of the 6th instant, about 8 o’clock, as seen from Ashby’s Landing by the forces stationed there, consisting of two companies (B and F, infantry) of {p.176} my regiment, under command of Captains Liles and Knight, with two pieces of artillery, one 24-pounder navy howitzer, and one 18-pounder field gun, the whole force, including the artillery, under Captain Liles, he being the senior officer present. Under an order from you to proceed to Ashby’s Landing I arrived there at 12 m. on the 0th, and discovered by aid of a glass a large number of the enemy’s fleet, consisting of steam and sail vessels, then apparently lying at anchor at a point 10 miles below the southern point of the island. I left Ashby’s at 2 p.m. and met you, in company with Captain Taylor, of the Navy, and reported the information I had received.

Upon your return to the camp I received an order from you to prepare one day’s rations for all the available forces under my command, with the exception of one company, which was to be left in charge of the camp, and that portion of Captain Godwin’s company which was then in quarters and which you ordered to be sent to the western side of the sound, at a point called Fort Forrest, then in charge of Captain Whitty, with instructions to Captain Godwin to support Captain Whitty in protecting that point. The remaining portion of my available forces, with one day’s provisions, was ordered to take up the line of march to Ashby’s Landing or that vicinity. On arriving at Suple’s Hill, about a mile and a half above this landing, the forces were ordered to bivouac for the night.

At a very early hour on the morning of the 7th myself; in company with Major Yeates, proceeded to the landing, leaving Lieutenant-Colonel Fowle in charge of the forces at Suple’s Hill, with a view of making further preparation to meet the enemy should a landing be attempted at that point.

About 10 a.m. I perceived that the enemy’s fleet was in motion, advancing up the sound, and at about 11.45 o’clock the leading steamer opened fire upon Fort Bartow. About 3 p.m. the engagement became general upon the part of the enemy’s vessels against Fort Bartow. At about 4 p.m. a small boat, containing about 15 men, left one of the transports of the enemy, apparently with a view of taking soundings at Hammond’s Landing, about half a mile above Ashby’s. As the boat approached the land I detailed a force of 25, under command of Captain Liles, to intercept it. The party in the boat had effected a landing, when Captain Liles ordered the men under his command to fire upon them, by which fire it has since been ascertained that 3 of the enemy were killed and 1 wounded. The remainder immediately retreated to the vessel in the sound. About 5 o’clock a large steamer and a number of smaller boats, carrying a force estimated at 8,000 or 10,000 men, with several pieces of artillery, and under cover of the gunboats in the sound, was seen approaching Hammond’s Landing, between which and the point occupied by my forces lay a large marsh impassable by artillery. Having no horses for our artillery, fearing that we might be cut off, or at least that the shells from the enemy’s guns in the sound might confuse and disconcert the men under my command and cause the eventual loss of the field pieces, which you enjoined upon me at all hazards to save, I considered it judicious to order a retreat. The infantry, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Fowle, was placed in rear of the artillery to protect it, and all the forces retired in good order to a redoubt thrown across the main road one mile and a quarter above Ashby’s, where the guns were placed in battery, the 18-pounder on the left and the howitzer on the right, under command of Captain Schermerhorn and Lieutenant Kinney, and a 6-pounder occupying the center, under command of Lieutenant Selden. The gun detachments {p.177} were immediately ordered to take position at their pieces. A picket guard was thrown out and a detail ordered from each company present, to mask the battery as effectually as the short time rendered practicable. Soon afterward you arrived and took command.

At about 12 o’clock at night I proceeded to obey your order to march all my forces, except those detailed for the support of the battery, mu connection with those of Colonel Anderson, to Fort Bartow but while awaiting at Suple’s Hill the arrival of Colonel Anderson I received an order, through Major Yeates, revoking your former order and remained there during the rest of the night, awaiting further orders, with the following companies of my regiment: Company C, Captain Betts Company D, Captain Manly; Company G, Captain Picot; Company H, Captain Jones; Company I, Captain McKay; Company K, Captain Whitty.

Early on the morning of the 8th I received orders from you to report myself to you in person at the battery then under your command, which I did, leaving the companies above named to act as a reserve, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel [Daniel G.] Fowle and Major [Jesse J.] Yeates. As you are entirely familiar with the part taken by me and those under my command during the action of the 8th, I deem a further report from me unnecessary. Appended you will find a statement of the number of men of my regiment engaged, killed, wounded, &c.*

I cannot close this report without especially mentioning the acts of coolness and manifest bravery of Captains Liles and Knight, with the officers and men under their command, who were in the fight at the battery. Lieutenant Pipkin, of Company G, was in charge of Fort Blanchard, and, with all of his command, evinced a spirit to faithfully and nobly discharge his duty had an opportunity offered. Lieutenant Pulley, Company H, in charge of Fort -, at Midgett’s, is supposed to have escaped with his command, not having been heard from since our defeat. I doubt not but he remained faithfully at his post, ready to do his duty, till he learned that our battery was flanked by the enemy and a retreat ordered.

Respectfully submitted.

J. V. JORDAN, Colonel Thirty-first Regiment.

Col. H. M. SHAW, Commanding Forces Roanoke Island.

* List shows 475 men in action; 2 killed, 8 wounded, and 76 missing.

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No. 28.

Report of Lieut. Col. Wharton J. Green, Second North Carolina Battalion.

ON BOARD STEAMER S. R. SPAULDING, Off Roanoke Island, N. C., February 18, 1862.

SIR: I herewith submit a report of the skirmish in which my battalion (Second North Carolina) was engaged on Saturday, the 8th instant:

In obedience to orders from Adjutant-General Cooper, received on the evening of January 30, I struck camp in the vicinity of Wilmington {p.178} on the morning of the 1st instant and proceeded hither with all possible dispatch. Owing to the want of transports we were detained two days and upward in Norfolk, leaving that place on Wednesday, the 5th instant, in tow of the canal tug-boat White.

On Friday, when about 30 miles distant from the island, continued discharges of artillery informed us of the progress of a fight between the Federal fleet and Confederate batteries. Being entirely ignorant of the topography of the island, and not knowing where or to whom to report, I left our transports about 20 miles hence and came on in the steamer for information. Having obtained which, I returned to my men and crowded them on the smallest number of transports that would contain them and then started. The night was very dark and stormy, with the wind against us, consequently our progress was slow.

After beating about until midnight our pilot declared that he had lost his reckoning, and as we had only a fathom and a half of water, thought it safer to wait for daylight.

About 2 a.m. Saturday a number of Confederate gunboats passed us from the direction of the island, one of them running into the schooner Beauregard (one of our transports) and seriously injuring her. In reply to our challenge and statement of our condition, all the answer we could get was that one of the boats was the Beaufort, the other the -. Had they stopped in their flight long enough to exchange pilots with us, or even to give ours the necessary instruction as to his course, my battalion would have reached the island in time to have participated in the entire action.

Failing to do so, it was 10 a.m. when we reached the island, and 12 o’clock before the men, arms, and ammunition could be got on shore, owing to their having to be taken on lighters. Having distributed all of my ammunition I started for the scene of action, but soon met scores of stragglers, who reported everything lost and the Confederate forces entirely dispersed.

Notwithstanding these discouraging reports, my men kept in good spirits and pressed on with animation. On reaching your camp, and having the worst reports confirmed, I called upon you for orders, and was told to proceed to a point some mile or two distant, under the guidance of Major Williamson, and take position.

After proceeding about half a mile we came suddenly upon a Federal regiment, which I have since learned was the Twenty-first Massachusetts. The two advanced companies of the respective commands were about 75 paces apart, I being some 20 paces in advance of mine. I gave the command “By company into line,” when the officer in command of the Federal regiment threw up his hand and cried out, “Stop, stop, colonel; don’t fire; you are mistaken!” Believing it to be a trick, I repeated my command. Thereupon the Federal officer gave the command, “Fire.” My advanced companies returned the fire, firing at will after the first volley. Finding that there was some confusion, and not knowing the ground, I soon became satisfied that I could not form my men in line of battle to any advantage on the ground that they then occupied, so I ordered them to fall back a short distance and form behind the log houses occupied by Colonel Jordan’s regiment as quarters. This they did in good order. The Federals fell back immediately after. Immediately after forming behind the houses Lieutenant-Colonel Fowle, of the Thirty-first North Carolina, passed by with a white flag, and stated that a surrender had been determined upon.

My loss was 3 men killed and 5 wounded, 9 of whom have since died. I am happy to be able to report favorably of the action of both officers {p.179} and men. The enemy’s loss, as I learned from themselves, was between 20 and 30.

I marched my entire command, with very few exceptions, in good order back to your camp.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WHARTON J. GREEN, Lieutenant-Colonel, Second North Carolina Battalion.

Col. H. M. SHAW.

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No. 29.

Report of Maj. H. W. Fry, Forty-sixth Virginia Infantry.

STEAMSHIP S. R. SPAULDING, Off Roanoke Island, N. C., February 18, 1862.

In obedience to instructions received from Col. J. H. Richardson commanding forces at Nag’s Head, I proceeded with my command (Companies B, D, G, and K, aggregate 150) to Roanoke Island, landed, and with my command reported to Col. H. M. Shaw, who ordered me to countermarch my command and save them if possible; but on arriving at the point where we had landed there was no transportation, the tug and barge that brought us over having left for Nag’s Head.

Respectfully submitted.

H. W. FRY, Commanding Companies B, D, G, and K, 46th Va. Regt.

Col. H. M. SHAW.

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No. 30.

Report of Lieut. Col. Frank P. Anderson, Fifty-ninth Virginia Infantry.

ON BOARD STEAMER S. R. SPAULDING, February 15, 1862.

SIR: I herewith inclose you a report of the part taken by the Fifty-ninth Regiment Virginia Volunteers in the engagement of the 8th instant.

In obedience to orders from General H. A. Wise I left Nag’s Head on the morning of the 7th, and not being able to effect a landing at the wharf, I beached the boats at the north end of the island and there effected a landing, leaving the baggage and most of the ammunition on board the transports. My force-consisting of two companies of the Forty-sixth Regiment Virginia Volunteers and eight companies of the Fifty-ninth Regiment Virginia Volunteers, amounting in all to about 450 men, officers included-then proceeded to the earthwork, across the main road, where we arrived about 6 p.m., and found that the enemy had effected a landing in force at Ashby’s Landing.

Colonel Jordan, having fallen back from that point (bringing the artillery back to the earthwork), I immediately sent scouts to discover the position and force of the enemy. The scouts returned in fifteen {p.180} minutes, having shot one of their advance pickets within 500 yards of the earthwork, and bringing his gun. I immediately sent out a strong picket-10 Rangers, Company A, Fifty-ninth Regiment, and 10 Richmond Light Infantry Blues, Company A, Forty-sixth Regiment, Capt. O. Jennings Wise in command. Nothing occurred during the night.

Early in the morning of the 8th I ordered Company A, Fifty-ninth Regiment, Lieutenant Hazlett commanding, to proceed in the direction of the enemy, to relieve Captain Wise and his pickets. In about fifteen minutes they returned, reporting the advance of the enemy in force. I immediately deployed Captain Wise’s company (A, Forty-sixth Regiment), Captain Coles’ company (Forty-sixth Regiment), and Lieutenant Hazlett’s company (A, Fifty-ninth Regiment) on our left, in the swamp, I having been informed by you that our right was impassable from reports which you had received. The earthwork not being capable of sheltering more than 200 men, I then marched the rest of my command about 250 yards to the rear, there to be held in reserve.

After getting the reserve placed in position I dispatched scouts to the right for the purpose of discovering, if possible, a road by which we might flank the enemy or be flanked by them. They soon returned, reporting a passage impracticable. I then sent them farther to the right, when a messenger arrived from you requesting me to come to the earthwork. Arriving at the earthwork, I dispatched 10 more men to watch and skirmish on our right flank.

About 9.30 a.m., the firing being very heavy, I dispatched a messenger to Major Lawson to bring three companies to the earthwork to relieve those already engaged. He arrived with Company E, Captain Dickinson, and Company K, Lieutenant Roy, of the Fifty-ninth Regiment, and Company -, Captain Murchison, Eighth Regiment North Carolina State troops. They arrived under a shower of bullets, Lieutenants Miller, Pottier, and Walker receiving wounds. The engagement lasted until 12 o’clock, when, our ammunition being expended and our right flank (which had been reported impassable) being turned, I was obliged to leave the earthwork. My regiment retreated in good order.

After arriving at your quarters, and while in conversation with yourself, Colonel Green engaged the advance of the enemy. I immediately marched my regiment to the woods near the beach, and there placed them in position to receive the enemy. While in this position the report reached me that the white flag had been sent by you to the enemy, and that you had surrendered the forces on the island. I sent an officer to you to inquire into the truth of this report; he returned, informing me that the report was correct. I then countermarched my regiment to your encampment and there surrendered them.

The following is the list of killed, wounded, and missing from my command: Killed, 2 captains and 4 privates; wounded, 4 lieutenants and 24 privates; missing, 19 privates. Those missing are supposed to have escaped from the island.

The officers and privates under my command behaved gallantly against great odds.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

FRANK P. ANDERSON, Lieutenant-Colonel, Fifty-ninth Regiment Virginia Volunteers.

Col. H. M. SHAW, Commanding Roanoke Island.

{p.181}

No. 31.

Report of Maj. G. H. Hill, C. S. Army, Commanding Fort Bartow.

STEAMER S. R. SPAULDING, Croatan Sound, N. C., February 14, 1862.

COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the engagement between the enemy’s fleet and Fort Bartow on the 7th and 8th instant:

On the morning of the 7th, while the men under my command were at drill in the fort, we saw that the fleet of the enemy was coming up the sound. I immediately cleared the fort for action and made every preparation in my power to give them a warm reception.

About 11.30 o’clock their fleet, consisting of about thirty gunboats, advanced within range of the four guns on the left flank of my battery (consisting of No. 6, a 57-cwt. 32-pounder, on a navy carriage in embrasure; No. 7, a rifled 32-pounder, on navy barbette carriage, and Nos. 8 and 9, 41 and 47 cwt. 32-pounders, on columbiad carriages), and opened fire from about sixty guns, throwing 9,10, and 11 inch shell, with shrapnel, a few round shot, and every variety of rifle projectiles. We answered cautiously and slowly with the four guns that could be brought to bear upon them, and they soon fell back so as to mask gun No. 6, concentrating the fire on the three barbette guns, which now alone bore on them. We fired in all but fourteen shots from gun No. 6 this day.

Early in the action a shell exploded on the platform of the rifled gun, destroying a portion of the traverse circle, diminishing its traverse, so that it could be traversed only on those vessels of the fleet that were advanced farthest to the northward. The enemy maintained an uninterrupted fire for more than six hours, withdrawing at dark. We fired the last shot. The works, however, sustained but little damage. We fired 30 rounds from the rifle gun and 161 rounds from Nos. 8 and 9, making, with the 14 rounds from No. 6, a total of 205 rounds expended. The projectiles used by me were principally round shot.

Early in the action the quarters were fired by the enemy’s shells, and, notwithstanding the strenuous efforts of Lieutenant Gilliam, of Company I, who was sent with a detachment to rescue the property contained in them, nearly the whole of it, including the small-arms of my battalion, was destroyed.

While in this service Private Bagley, of Company I, was severely wounded by the explosion of a shell. Private Wilson, of Company L, was killed at the battery early in the action, and Private Baily, of same company, was mortally wounded. Sergeant Graves and Private Green, of Company L, were severely wounded at their guns, making the total of casualties 1 killed and 4 wounded.

The damage sustained by the work was repaired during the night by the negro laborers, under the direction of Lieutenant Talcott, who volunteered his services.

An additional supply of ammunition was sent to us from Fort Huger by Captain Taylor, which gave us, including amount on hand, 42 rounds for the rifled gun and 155 rounds for smooth-bore 32-pounders.

On Saturday, the 8th, my men were at their post by 5.30 a.m. in fine spirits, expecting a renewal of the attack.

At 9 a.m. the enemy’s fleet attempted an advance up Croatan Sound, with the apparent intent of cutting off our re-enforcements landing on the north end of the island. I opened fire on them with the rifled gun {p.182} and gun No. 6, checking their advance and bringing on a desultory engagement, which continued at intervals until 12.30 o’clock, when, receiving the intelligence that our land defenses had been forced and my position consequently turned, I abandoned Fort Bartow, destroying the ammunition and disabling the guns. During the morning we fired about 20 rounds of rifle charges and 20 more from smooth-bore 32-pounders.

In closing, I desire to state that both the officers and men under my command did their duty manfully and with skill and courage. Special commendation is due to Captain Fearing and Lieutenants Elliott and Hinton of Company L, and Lieutenant Gilliam of Company I; also to Sergeant Graves, Privates Black and Dawson of Company L, and Sergeant Barrow and Privates Jacocks and Stokes of Company I.

I here desire also to acknowledge the great service rendered by Captain Taylor, of the artillery; Lieutenant Loyall, of the Navy, and Lieutenant Talcott, also of the artillery. They did great service-cool, calm, and assisting in every way. Their conduct cannot be too highly commended.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. H. HILL, Major, C. S. Provisional Army, Commanding Fort.

Col. H. M. SHAW, Eighth Regt. N. C. Troops, Comdg. Forces Roanoke Island.

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No. 32.

Report of Capt. John S. Taylor, C. S. Army, in charge of Heavy Artillery.

ROANOKE ISLAND, N. C., February 9, 1862.

SIR: On Friday, the 7th instant, at about noon, the enemy’s fleet opened fire on our squadron and Fort Bartow. In obedience to your orders I took charge of Forts Huger and Blanchard, and awaited the approach of the enemy; but as they did not come within range of our rifled guns (which I fired eight times) and seemed to concentrate their fire on the left flank of Fort Bartow, I immediately rode to that battery, where I remained until the enemy ceased firing, assisting Major Hill, the commanding officer of that post.

On the morning of the 8th, about 10 a.m., Fort Bartow fired a shot at the enemy’s ships, to prevent what seemed to be an attempt to cut off re-enforcements approaching the island from the northward (the other batteries being manned to drive back the enemy should the attempt be persevered in), when their fleet commenced a desultory fire upon Fort Bartow. I immediately repaired to that post, where I remained until the battery was evacuated, in consequence of our land defenses having been forced by the enemy’s troops.

I then returned to Fort Blanchard, thinking the fleet would attempt to pass through Croatan Sound, which, however, they did not. Leaving orders to fire upon them should they attempt to pass or come within range, I went to Fort Huger, where I soon received your order to spike the guns and send the men to your encampment. This was done, the powder destroyed, and the gun-carriages somewhat injured, about 2.30 p.m.

{p.183}

I should have entirely dismantled the batteries at Forts Huger and Blanchard but for two reasons: First, because, in doing so, the enemy would have been made aware of it, and would, no doubt, have sent their ships up to take your position in the rear; and, second, because I had not time; for while we were throwing shells into the water a sharp conflict was heard in the direction of the encampment of the Thirty-first Regiment; so I immediately dispatched the companies to go by the beach and through the woods to your support.

While on my way to your headquarters I heard that a flag of truce had been sent out, and received orders not to spike the guns; but it was too late.

I do not hesitate to say, from the service done by the three barbette guns at Fort Bartow (the only guns brought fully into action), and the little damage sustained by that battery, notwithstanding the incessant and terrible fire kept up against it for more than six hours by perhaps sixty guns, that if all our batteries had been brought into action the enemy’s fleet would have been destroyed or beaten back.

I desire to say that the officers and men brought under fire behaved in a highly creditable manner, and that they seemed to be in better condition the second day, notwithstanding their fatigue and loss of rest, than they were during the first. I would also say that the officers and men at the batteries not engaged evinced a fine spirit; and I have to regret for them, for myself, and for our cause, that they had not an opportunity to illustrate their skill and patriotism against the gunboats of the enemy.

I understand that the loss in the enemy’s fleet was about five times as great as ours in the battery. Ours was 1 killed and 3 wounded. Major Hill will no doubt pay a just tribute to the services of Lieutenant Loyall, of the Navy, and Lieutenant Talcott, of the artillery, which cannot be too highly commended.

Allow me to join in the regret and mortification which I know you feel that our cause should have sustained a defeat while in our hands.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN S. TAYLOR, Captain, C. S. Army, in charge Heavy Artillery.

Col. H. M. SHAW, Eighth Regt. N. C. State Troops, Comdg. Forces Roanoke Island.

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No. 33.

Report of the Investigating Committee Confederate House of Representatives.

The committee, to whom was referred a resolution of the House of Representatives, instructing them to “inquire and report the causes and circumstances of the capitulation of Roanoke Island,” have had the same under consideration, and have given all the facts and circumstances connected with the defenses of the said island and its adjacent waters and of the capitulation on February 8, a most elaborate investigation.

The committee find that on August 21, 1861, Brigadier-General Gatlin was ordered to the command of the Department of North Carolina and the coast defenses of that State. On September 29 Brig. Gen. D. H. Hill was assigned to duty in North Carolina, and charged with the {p.184} defenses of that portion of said State lying between Albemarle Sound and the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound, including those waters, and was directed to report to Brigadier-General Gatlin. On November 16 Brig. Gen. L. O’B. Branch was directed to relieve Brigadier-General Hill in command of his district in North Carolina. On December 21 that part of North Carolina east of the Chowan River, together with the counties of Washington and Tyrrel, was, at the request of the proper authorities of North Carolina, separated from the remainder and constituted into a military district, under Brig. Gen. H. A. Wise, and attached to the command of Major-General Huger, commanding the Department of Norfolk. At the time, therefore, of the surrender of Roanoke Island, on February S. 1862, it was within the military district of Brigadier-General Wise, and attached to the command of Major-General Huger.

The military defenses of Roanoke Island and its adjacent waters, on the said February 8, 1862, consisted of Fort Bartow, the most southern of the defenses on the west side of the island-a sand fort, well covered with turf, having six long 32-pounder guns in embrasure and three 32-pounders en barbette. The next is Fort Blanchard, on the same side of the island, about 2 1/2 miles from Fort Bartow-a semicircular sand fort, turfed, and mounting four 32-pounders en barbette. Next, on the same side and about 1,200 yards from Fort Blanchard, is Fort Huger. This is a turfed sand fort, running along the line of the beach, and closed in the rear by a low breastwork, with a banquette for infantry. It contained eight 32-pounder guns in embrasure, two rifled 32-pounders en barbette, and two small 32 pounders en barbette on the right.

About 3 miles below Fort Bartow, on the east side of the island, was a battery of two 32-pounder guns en barbette, at a point known as Midgett’s Hommock. In the center of the island, about 2 miles from Fort Bartow and a mile from Midgett’s Hommock, was a redoubt, or breastwork thrown across the road, about 70 or 80 feet long, with embrasures for three guns, on the right of which was a swamp, on the left a marsh, the redoubt reaching nearly between them and facing to the south. On the Tyrrel side, on the main-land, nearly opposite to Fort Huger, was Fort Forrest, mounting seven 32-pounders.

In addition to these defenses on the shore and on the island there was a barrier of piles, extending from the east side of Fulker Shoals toward the island. Its object was to compel vessels passing on the west of the island to approach within reach of the shore batteries, but up to February 8 there was a span of 1,700 yards open opposite to Fort Bartow. Some vessels had been sunk and piles driven on the west side of Fulker Shoals, to obstruct the channel between that shoal and the main-land, which comprise all the defenses either upon the land or in the waters adjacent.

The entire military force stationed upon the island prior to and at the time of the late engagement consisted of the Eighth Regiment of North Carolina State troops, under the command of Col. H. M. Shaw; the Thirty-first Regiment of North Carolina Volunteers, under the command of Col. J. V. Jordan, and three companies of the Seventeenth North Carolina troops, under the command of Maj. G. H. Hill. After manning the several forts on February 7 there were but 1,024 men left, and 200 of them were upon the sick list.

On the evening of February 7 Brigadier-General Wise sent from Nag’s Head, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson, a re-enforcement numbering some 450 men. This does not include the commands of Lieutenant-Colonel Green and Major Fry, both of whom {p.185} marched to the scene of action after the battle was closed. The committee do not think there was any intentional delay in the landing of the commands of Colonel Green and Major Fry. The former (Colonel Green) exhibited great anxiety to get into the fight when he did land, and acted with great gallantry in the skirmish he, did have with the enemy in the vicinity of the camp-the whole under the command of Brigadier-General Wise, who, upon February 7 and 8, was at Nag’s Head, 4 miles distant from the island, confined to a sick bed, and entirely disabled from participating in the action in person. The immediate command, therefore, devolved upon Col. H. M. Shaw, the senior officer present.

On February 6 it was discovered by the companies on picket duty on the south end of the island that the enemy’s fleet was in Pamlico Sound, south of Roanoke Island, and apparently intending to attack the forces upon the island. Colonel Shaw immediately communicated the fact to Brigadier-General Wise, and issued orders for the disposition of his troops preparatory to an engagement. The points at which it was supposed the enemy would attempt to land troops were Ashby’s and Pugh’s Landings. Ashby’s is situated on the west side of the island, abort 2 miles south of Fort Bartow; and Pugh’s on the same side, about 2 miles south of Ashby’s.

On the night of the 6th, or early in the morning of the 7th, a detachment, with one piece of artillery, was sent to Pugh’s Landing, and one with two pieces of artillery was sent to Ashby’s, and the remainder of the forces were stationed in the immediate vicinity of Ashby’s.

On the morning of the 7th the enemy’s fleet passed by both of the landings and proceeded toward Fort Bartow, and the detachment of infantry stationed at Pugh’s immediately fell back to the vicinity of Ashby’s Landing and joined the detachments there, all under command of Col. J. V. Jordan.

In the sound, between Roanoke Island and the main-land, upon the Tyrrel side, Commodore Lynch, with his squadron of seven vessels, had taken position, and at 11 o’clock the enemy’s fleet, consisting of about thirty gunboats and schooners, advanced in two divisions, the rear one having the schooners and transports in tow. The advance and attacking divisions again subdivided, one assailing the squadron and the other firing upon the fort with 9-inch, 10-inch, and 11-inch shell, spherical case, a few round shot, and every variety of rifled projectiles. The fort replied with but four guns (which were all that could be brought to bear), and after striking the foremost vessel several times the fleet fell back so as to mask one of the guns of the fort, leaving but three to reply to the fire of the whole fleet. The bombardment was continued through the day, and the enemy retired at dark. The squadron under the command of Commodore Lynch sustained their position most gallantly, and only retired after exhausting all their ammunition and having lost the steamer Curlew and the Forrest disabled. Fort Bartow sustained considerable damage from the fire of the day, but the injuries were partially repaired by the next morning and the fort put in a state of defense.

About 3.30 o’clock on the morning of the 7th the enemy sent off from his transports about 25 men in a launch, apparently to take soundings, who were fired upon and retreated; whereupon two large steamers, having in tow each thirty boats filled with troops, approached the island, under the protection of their gunboats, at a point north of Ashby’s Landing, known as Hammond’s, and did effect a landing. The point selected was out of the reach of the field pieces {p.186} at Ashby’s, and defended by a swamp from the advance of our infantry and protected by the shot and shell from their gunboats. Our whole force, therefore, withdrew from Ashby’s and took position at the redoubt, or breastwork, and placed in battery their field pieces, with necessary artillerymen, under the respective commands of Captain Schermerhorn, Lieutenants Kinney and Selden. Two companies of the Eighth and two of the Thirty-first were placed at the redoubt to support the artillery. Three companies of the Wise Legion deployed to the right and left as skirmishers; the remainder of the infantry in position 300 yards in the rear of the redoubt as a reserve.

The enemy landed some 15,000 men, with artillery and at 7 a.m. of the 8th opened fire upon the redoubt, which was replied to immediately with great spirit, and the action soon became general, and was continued without intermission for more than five hours, when the enemy succeeded in deploying a large force on either side of our line, flanking each wing. The order was then given by Colonel Shaw to spike the guns in the battery and to retreat to the northern end of the island. The guns were spiked and the whole force fell back to the camps.

During the engagement at the redoubt the enemy’s fleet attempted to advance up Croatan Sound, which brought on a desultory engagement between Fort Bartow and the fleet, which continued up to 12.30 o’clock, when the commanding officer was informed that the land defenses had been forced and the position of the fort turned. He therefore ordered the guns to be disabled and the ammunition destroyed, which was done, and the fort abandoned. The same thing was done at Forts Blanchard and Huger, and the forces from all the forts were marched in good order to the camps. The enemy took possession of the redoubt and forts immediately, and proceeded in pursuit with great caution toward the northern end of the island in force, deploying so as to surround our forces at the camps. Colonel Shaw, having arrived with his whole force at his camp in time to have saved his whole command if transports had been furnished, but none being there, and finding himself surrounded by a greatly superior force upon the open island, with no field works to protect him, and having lost his only three field pieces at the redoubt, had either to make an idle display of courage in fighting the foe at such immense disadvantage, to the sacrifice of his command, or to capitulate and surrender as prisoners of war. He wisely determined upon the latter alternative.

The loss on our side in killed, wounded, and missing is as follows: Killed, 23; wounded, 58; missing, 62. The loss of the Forty-sixth and Fifty-ninth Virginia Volunteers is, killed, 6; wounded, 28; missing, 19. That of the Eighth, Thirty-first, and Second North Carolina State troops is, killed, 16; wounded, 30; missing, 43.

Of the engineer’s department, Lieutenant Selden (killed), who had patriotically volunteered his services in the line, was assigned to the command of the 6-pounder, which he handled with so much skill as to produce immense havoc in the enemy’s ranks and to elicit the unbounded admiration of all who witnessed it. Unhappily, however, that gallant officer received a rifle-ball in the head and he fell without a groan.

The loss of the enemy was in killed and wounded at least 900, and the probability is a much larger number.

The foregoing is a brief and concise view of the defenses of Roanoke Island and of the adjacent waters, the number of our troops engaged on February 7 and 8 and the circumstances of the capitulation thereof {p.187} on February 8. The committee are satisfied that Colonel Shaw held the possession of that post as long as he could have done without a useless sacrifice of human life; that on the 7th and 8th the officers and men in Fort Bartow displayed great coolness and courage and persevering effort to sustain their position and drive back the enemy’s fleet.

In the battle of February 8 at the redoubt the officers and men exhibited a cool and deliberate courage worthy of veterans in the service, and sustained their position under an uninterrupted and deadly fire for more than five hours, repulsing the enemy in three separate and distinct charges, and only withdrew from the deadly conflict after exhausting their ammunition for the artillery and being surrounded and flanked by more than ten times their number. Instead of the result being “deeply humiliating” it was one of the most brilliant and gallant actions of the war, and in the language of their absent commanding general, “both officers and men fought firmly, coolly, efficiently, and as long as humanity would allow.”

The committee are satisfied that the whole command did their duty, and they do not feel at liberty to designate any particular acts of companies or individuals. But in simple justice to Colonel Shaw-upon whom devolved the command by reason of the extreme illness of his superior, General Wise, and who has been censured for the result-the committee take pleasure in stating that there is no foundation for any just reflection upon him. He, upon February 7, after disposing of his infantry force and finding that the enemy did not intend landing, repaired immediately in person to Fort Bartow, where the bombardment was progressing, and made his way into the fort amid the most imminent danger from shot and shell, and there remained, encouraging the men and assisting, as far as he was able, until he discovered the enemy intended to effect a landing below, when he left the fort under the same dangerous circumstances of the morning, to take command of the infantry in person, and upon the 8th, at the redoubt, he commanded in person, sharing the dangers of his men for more than five hours with a firmness, coolness, and bravery worthy of the position he occupied.

Immediately upon the secession of the State of North Carolina from the Government of the United States and the adoption of the Constitution of the Confederate States of America, the authorities of that State commenced the construction of fortifications at Hatteras and Oregon Inlet and other points upon her coast, which were not completed when the State transferred her forts, arsenals, army, navy, and coast defenses to the Confederate Government. Shortly thereafter the attack was made upon Forts Hatteras and Clark, and they were taken, and the fortifications at Oregon Inlet were abandoned, and the armament, stores, and ammunition were removed to Roanoke Island. The enemy immediately appeared in force in Pamlico Sound, the waters of which are connected with Albemarle and Currituck Sounds by means of the two smaller sounds of Croatan and Roanoke. The island of Roanoke being situated between these two latter sounds, commanding the channels of either, became, upon the fall of Hatteras and the abandonment of Oregon Inlet, only second in importance to Fort. Monroe. That island then became the key which unlocked all Northeastern North Carolina to the enemy, and exposed Portsmouth and Norfolk to a rear approach of the most imminent danger.

In the language of Brigadier-General Wise–

{p.188}

That such is the importance and value, in a military point of view, of Roanoke Island, that it ought to have been defended by all the means in the power of the Government. It was the key to all the rear defenses of Norfolk. It unlocked two sounds (Albemarle and Currituck); eight rivers (the North, West, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Little, Chowan, Roanoke, and Alligator); four canals (the Albemarle and Chesapeake, Dismal Swamp, Northwest, and Suffolk); and two railroads (the Petersburg and Norfolk and the Seaboard and Roanoke). It guarded more than four-fifths of all Norfolk’s supplies of corn, pork, and forage, and it cut the command of General Huger off from all of its most efficient transportation. It endangers the subsistence of his whole army, threatens the navy-yard at Gosport, and to cut off Norfolk from Richmond, and both from railroad communication with the South. It lodges the enemy in a safe harbor from the storms of Hatteras, gives them a rendezvous, and large, rich range of supplies, and the command of the seaboard from Oregon Inlet to Cape Henry. It should have been defended at the expense of 20,000 men and of many millions of dollars.

The committee are of the opinion that the island of Roanoke was a military post of great importance; that it might have been placed in a state of defense against any reasonable force with the expenditure of money and labor supposed to be within the means of the Government; that the same was not done, and the defenses constructed were wholly inadequate for its protection from an attack either by land or water. And the committee have no difficulty in assigning, as the cause of our disaster and defeat on February 8, the want of the necessary defenses upon the island and the adjacent waters and upon the main-land upon the Tyrrel side; the want of the necessary field artillery, armament, and ammunition, and the great and unpardonable deficiency of men, together with the entire want of transportation, by which the whole command might have been conveyed from the island after the defeat at the battery.

But the committee have had much difficulty in locating the responsibility for the neglect of this exceedingly important point, owing to the fact that the command of that island has been transferred so frequently from one military commander to another between the time that the Confederate Government became responsible for the coast defenses of North Carolina and the attack upon the island on February 7, 1862. That island, upon the fall of Hatteras, was taken possession of by Colonel Wright, under the instruction from General Huger, and the principal defenses constructed under the authority and directions of General Huger, who assumed jurisdiction over the island, although it was within the military command of General Gatlin. Afterward Brig. Gen. D. H. Hill was assigned for a short time to the immediate command of that post, who immediately entered upon his duty, made an examination of the defenses in person, and was making active preparations for putting the island in a state of defense, when he was suddenly superseded, and Brigadier-General Branch given the command. It does not appear in evidence that General Branch ever visited the island or made any move toward its defense. He, however, was superseded by Brigadier-General Wise; about January 1, 1862, who immediately proceeded to the island in person about January 6, spent several days in a reconnaissance of the island and its defenses and in examining the adjacent waters, with a view of constructing obstructions in Croatan Sound and to prevent the passage of a hostile fleet, and from that moment up to February 7 the committee are satisfied that General Wise has devoted his whole time in a zealous, energetic, and indefatigable effort to place that island in a state of defense, and has done all and everything in his power, with the means he had at his command, to effect this important object.

At Norfolk, on January 2, upon his way to Roanoke Island, he met {p.189} an express from Colonel Shaw (who was then in the immediate temporary command of the island) to General Huger, informing him of the defenseless state of the island, and urging the necessity of strengthening Fort Bartow, by mounting other guns, obstructing Croatan Sound, and making requisitions for ammunition, pile-driver, and other things necessary. General Wise indorsed and approved of the requisition and seconded the demands of Colonel Shaw. General Wise arrived at Roanoke Island upon the 6th and assumed the command at that post upon January 7. After making a reconnaissance of the island and its defenses General Wise, on January 13, informed General Huger-

that Roanoke Island was in a defenseless condition and in presence of a very formidable enemy’s force. The Burnside expedition is reported to have sailed. Independent of that, the force now at Hatteras Inlet can pass or take Roanoke Island, and pardon me for saying that I respectfully differ from the opinion you expressed in your orders to-day, that to prevent the enemy’s gunboats from passing the marshes at the south end will also prevent any landing. Batteries at the marshes are vitally essential to prevent the gunboats from passing into Croatan Sound, but they will not prevent the landing on the south or east end of the island. At least 3,000 infantry are needed on the island, and a considerable force, say 1,500 men, are needed on the beaches, and if the enemy pass Roanoke, 5,000 at least are necessary to fight them on the tongue of land on the north side of Albemarle Sound. We need on the beach and on the island at least eight field pieces and the carriages and caissons necessary. We require thirty-two horses for the artillery. We need at least six heavy pieces at the south end marshes and two at least at Fleetwood Point.

On the same day General Wise addressed the Secretary of War, in which he says that-

it is very important that my Legion should be forwarded as speedily as possible. The defense of Roanoke Island (which is the key of all the rear defenses of Norfolk and its canals and railroads) is committed to my charge, and I have just returned from a reconnaissance of that point. It is now utterly defenseless. No preparations have been made there at all adequate. General Huger has given me a large authority to do whatever is necessary, and has advised what he deems proper in my command; but we have very limited means, and not half time enough to prepare to meet an enemy, who is now in almost immediate presence in very formidable force. Twice the number of my Legion is necessary, and I beg that the place of my Third Regiment may speedily be filled or that it may be restored.

On January 15, 1862, General Wise writes to the Secretary of War:

I am sure you will not adjudge me importunate when I inform you that I returned from Roanoke Island to Norfolk last Saturday. I hasten back after a short reconnaissance to apprise headquarters and the Department that there are no defenses there; no adequate preparations whatever to meet the enemy, and to forward all the means in my reach as speedily as possible, to make the key of all the rear of Norfolk, with its canals and railroads, safe. Inside of Hatteras Inlet I found twenty-four vessels of light draught, eight of which are steamers, said to carry four guns each. They are at farthest but 30 miles from Roanoke Island, and can reach there any four hours or less, to attack five small gunboats, under Captain Lynch, and four small land batteries, wholly inefficient. Any boat drawing 7 feet water or less can pass the Croatan Sound as far off as 11 miles from any battery, and the enemy’s guns can silence our batteries there in a very short time. Neither battery is casemated, and our men now there are untrained to heavy pieces mounted on navy carriages. The moment the enemy passes Croatan Channel, the North Landing River, North River Pasquotank, Chowan, Roanoke, Alligator, and Scuppernong Rivers, and the Dismal Swamp, and Albemarle, and Chesapeake Canals will be blockaded effectually, and Norfolk and Portsmouth will be cut off from supplies of corn, pork, and forage. The force at Hatteras is independent of the Burnside expedition. No matter where the latter is, the former is amply sufficient to capture or pass Roanoke Island in any twelve hours. Let me say, then, sir, that if we are to wait for powder from Richmond until we are attacked at that island, that attack will be capture and our defeat will precede our supply of ammunition. The case is too urgent for me to delay speaking this out plainly at once.

And in another part of the same letter he says:

We want ammunition and men. In a word, almost every preparation has to be made. Delay is defeat now at Roanoke Island, and with present means Captain Lynch {p.190} and I combined can’t guarantee successful defense for a day. I beg, sir, that you will urge this upon the Navy Department, and believe that I am not superserviceable in this urgency.

General Wise, finding that his written appeals for aid in the defenses of the island to headquarters at Norfolk and to the Department at Richmond were neglected and treated with indifference, repaired in person to Richmond and called upon the Secretary of War, and urged in the most importunate manner the absolute necessity of strengthening the defenses upon that island with additional men, armament, and ammunition. The Secretary of War replied verbally to his appeals for re-enforcements that he had not the men to spare for his command. General Wise urged upon the Secretary that General Huger had about 15,000 men in front of Norfolk lying idle in camp for eight months, and that a considerable portion of them could be spared for the defense of the rear of Norfolk, and especially as his (General Wise’s) district supplied Norfolk and his army with nearly or quite all of his corn, pork, and forage; that re-enforcements at Roanoke Island were as absolutely necessary to the defense of Norfolk as forces in its front, and that particular or special posts should not be allowed to monopolize nearly all the men, powder, and supplies.

In reply to all his urgent appeals for the means of defense General Wise, on January 22, received the following military order, No. 17:

Brig. Gen. Henry A. Wise, Provisional Army, will immediately proceed to Roanoke Island, North Carolina, and assume command of the Confederate States troops at that place.

By command of the Secretary of War:

JNO. WITHERS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

It is apparent to the committee from [that] the correspondence on file of General Wise with the Secretary of War, General Huger, his superior officer, the Governor of North Carolina, and others, proves that he was fully alive to the importance of Roanoke Island, and has devoted his whole time and energies and means to the defense of that position, and that he is in no way responsible for the unfortunate disaster which befell our forces upon that island on February 7 and 8.

But the committee cannot say the same in reference to the efforts of the Secretary of War and the commanding officer at Norfolk, General Huger. It is apparent that the island of Roanoke is important for the defense of Norfolk, and that General Huger had under his command at that point upward of 15,000 men, a large supply of armament and ammunition, and could have thrown in a few hours a large re-enforcement upon Roanoke Island, and that himself and the Secretary of War had timely notice of the entire inadequacy of the defenses, the want of men and munitions of war, and the threatening attitude of the enemy. But General Huger and the Secretary of War paid no practical attention to those urgent appeals of General Wise, sent forward none of his important requisitions, and permitted General Wise and his inconsiderable force to remain to meet at least 15,000 men, well-armed and equipped. If the Secretary of War and the commanding general at Norfolk had not the means to re-enforce General Wise why was he not ordered to abandon his position and save his command? But, upon the contrary, he was required to remain and sacrifice his command, with no means in his insulated position to make his escape in case of defeat.

The committee, from the testimony, are therefore constrained to report, that whatever of blame and responsibility is justly attributable {p.191} to any one for the defeat of our troops at Roanoke Island on February 8, 1862, should attach to Maj. Gen. B. Huger and the late Secretary of War, J. P. Benjamin.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

B. S. GAITHER, Chairman.

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FEBRUARY 10, 1862.–Action at Elizabeth City, N. C.

Report of Col. C. F. Henningsen, Fifty-ninth Virginia Infantry.

WINTON, N. C., February 12, 1862-12 p.m.

GENERAL: Finding at Currituck Court-House that provision and forage could not be obtained to proceed to Powell’s Point, or even to remain at the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal any nearer than Elizabeth City, [we] marched there on the 3d with artillery of Wise’s Legion and remained there till [the] 7th, breaking horses to fire and harness while waiting orders from General Wise. Received on February 7 one order from General Wise to leave guns and wagons at Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal and proceed with horses and men to Powell’s Point. Sent quartermaster to make arrangements. Same evening received second dispatch from Brig. Gen. H. A. Wise, dated from Nag’s Head, informing me that the Federal squadron in great force was advancing up the sound, and ordering me to remain and do the best I could for the defense of Elizabeth City.

I found a battery (about 2 miles by water and about 3 by land) with four 32-pounders and 28 rounds of ammunition; battery defective (magazine dangerous, if there had been any ammunition to put in it). General Mann promised to call out the militia, and Colonel Starke endeavored to do so, but it seems they would not come. I tried to obtain 150 negroes to throw up traverse (three of the guns being enfiladed) and otherwise improve [the] battery, but could only, by 2 a.m. on the 9th, obtain 30 hands, whom I impressed.

Early on the morning of the 8th Commodore Lynch, with six steamers, arrived; had fought the day before, exhausting all his ammunition. Proposed to man the battery with crew of the lost steamer Curlew; to place therein additional guns, and moor schooner with two guns alongside battery. Colonel Martin received 200 pounds powder from Norfolk and 100 pounds blasting powder was found and made up into cartridges.

On the morning [of the] 9th, Commodore Lynch, having found a few rounds, steamed out with two steamers to reconnoiter enemy. Returned, chased by enemy’s steamers, and determined to land crews and fight battery, expecting Captain Hunter with ammunition. It appeared that the militia would not come out without requisition from seven magistrates. This was obtained on the 9th The naval officers were of opinion that the enemy would not attempt to pass battery until silenced. I undertook, with promise of a regiment of militia and expectation of a few companies, to prevent its being turned for some time.

On the evening of the 9th I moved out four pieces to rear of the battery for that purpose, leaving two pieces and wagons in Elizabeth City ready to move.

{p.192}

Early on the morning of the 10th the enemy’s squadron hove in sight, and opened fire on battery, schooner, and steamers, and, as if aware of the helpless condition of all, steamed, after a few minutes, past the battery right up to the city.

Commodore Lynch told me in the battery that he, was informed that the enemy had landed below, and a naval officer, galloping up, reported, after I left the battery, that the enemy in large force had landed and formed about a mile below. There were no militia, no one whatever to support the artillery, who have neither fire-locks of any kind nor side-arms. Two pieces were placed to keep the enemy as long as possible at bay, but in a few minutes the Federal steamers were perceived rapidly advancing past the battery toward the city, which they reached before the artillery (now ordered back) had got half way.

As the enemy, after reaching the wharf, had the town at their mercy, I detached Sergeant Scroggs, of Captain McComas’ company, with a detail, to aid the citizens in destroying the place by fire, as I had been requested to do by some of the most prominent of them. They only partially succeeded, two blocks only having been burned and a few isolated houses in the suburbs. I retreated with the artillery by the old Edenton road, and halted on the night of the 10th at Newby’s Bridge, 2 miles from Hertford, accompanied and guarded by General Mann, of the militia. I opened communication with Edenton and Hertford and sent for some of the transportation of the Fifty-ninth Virginia Volunteers, which was unprotected at the former place. The militia had not been embodied at either place, though the next day I received a dispatch from Colonel Moore, of Edenton, stating that on the requisition of any Confederate general he was ordered to call out his regiment, and could assemble 200 men, armed with muskets and shot-[guns] and with 10 rounds of ammunition each. In this region the militia will not assemble until the enemy is dangerously near. Then it becomes impossible to assemble them until they have attended to the moving of family and property. After that they show a disposition to come out if there is any force to support them.

Generally the population appear to be very true; there are, of course, some traitors, but far less disloyalty than in Western Virginia. A painful instance of the latter occurred a few miles from Elizabeth City on our march to Newby’s Bridge. A man by the name of Lester deliberately shot a private who rode into his yard, and then barricaded himself in the upper rooms of his house, refusing to surrender. Captain Webb, quartermaster of artillery, went up to him unarmed and pledged himself to protect him from violence if he came out. After appearing to consent he suddenly and treacherously attempted to fire at the captain, and did fire afterward several times at the men. I ordered the house to be fired. He was driven by the smoke to the window and shot by one of the artillery. The man shot, Private Bransford, is in a very critical condition. Lester, it appears, was a very violent Union man, and had been waited on a month previous by a vigilance committee.

On the morning of the 11th I received a communication from Colonel Wright, of the Third Georgia Regiment, stating that he was 5 miles from Elizabeth City, with 400 of his regiment at South Mills, that 500 more were expected, and that he would wait to hear from me.

I marched on the 11th by what is called the Desert Road to this place with the artillery and a company of the Seventeenth North Carolina Volunteers, which (40 strong), under Lieutenant Lyons, reported to me the preceding night, being part of the force escaped from the naval battery opposite Roanoke Island.

{p.193}

On reaching Winton I found that Colonel Wright had left for Norfolk. This day I remained here, taking up positions and opening communication with Elizabeth City.

The remainder of Colonel Wright’s regiment arrived last night, and this afternoon a battery of artillery. I had ordered four companies of Colonel Wright’s regiment, with one gun, and was about to make a night reconnaissance of Elizabeth City, when I received the order from Brig. Gen. H. A. Wise to join him at the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, whither I proceeded with the artillery in the morning.

At 10 p.m. I received a note from Colonel Wright, informing me that he had arrived at South Mills, and desiring that his companies should not proceed to-night. In consequence of not knowing whether he ranked me or had any special orders from you I have abandoned the reconnaissance, but send a small party of artillery soldiers, with teams, to bring off, if possible, a wagon and caisson which had stalled in Elizabeth City, but had been dragged off and concealed about a mile on this side.

I would beg, respectfully, to call your attention to the case of Sergeant Scroggs. According to the report of the citizens Scroggs was double-ironed on board a Federal vessel in the river, and the Federal officers talked of trying and hanging him as an incendiary. Sergeant Scroggs, son of a Virginia senator, is a gentleman and a soldier, and was acting in obedience to orders from me, of which I am willing to assume the responsibility. I should have sent a flag of truce to-morrow to the enemy but for the fact of having to march. I leave his case, general, in your hands.

Very respectfully,

C. F. HENNINGSEN, Colonel Fifty-ninth Regiment Virginia Volunteers, Commanding Artillery of Wise Legion.

General HUGER, Commanding.

P. S.-

FEBRUARY 13, 1862-6 a.m.

The artillery detail has returned, bringing back the wagon, with baggage. They report only six Federal steamers in the river. The guns in the battery spiked and carriages burned.

[C. F. H.]

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FEBRUARY 18-21, 1862.–Expedition to Winton, N. C., and Skirmish February 19.

REPORTS.

No. 1.–Brig. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, U. S. Army.
No. 2.–Col. Rush C. Hawkins, Ninth New York Infantry.

No. 1.

Report of Brig. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, U. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Roanoke Island, N. C., February 23, 1862.

GENERAL: Since my dispatch of the 20th, of which I inclose a duplicate,* the expedition up the Chowan has returned, having reached as {p.194} far as Winton. On the approach of the gunboat Delaware to the town a negro woman was discovered on the shore motioning the boat to approach. On arriving within 300 yards of the landing a large ambush of from 600 to 1,000 men was discovered, and before the boat could be stopped she was within easy musket range of the men when they poured a volley into her, literally riddling the wheel-house and the upper joiner work, but fortunately no one was killed; nearly all the men were below. Several of those on deck had ball-holes through their clothes. Captain Rowan, who was on deck, and Colonel Hawkins, in the rigging, made most miraculous escapes. The gunboats in the rear immediately hurried up, and by the use of a few shells dispersed the force, when the Ninth New York, under Colonel Hawkins, was landed. It was ascertained, after landing, that this negro woman had been sent down by her master, one of the captains, for the purpose of deceiving the boats, which was readily done, as it had been reported to the flag-officer and myself that but a few days before 500 loyal people at that place had raised the American flag. It was determined by Captain Rowan and Colonel Hawkins to burn all the military stores that could not be removed, with the store-houses and the quarters occupied by the troops, which constituted almost the entire town, there not being over twenty houses in the place. In one of the store-houses there was a large quantity of bacon, that could not be taken away by our people and it was also burned, together with all the heavy camp equipage, and, in fact, everything that could not be transported by our gunboats. The winds shifting after the fire was started caused the destruction of some few houses not occupied by the soldiers. It was ascertained daring the stay at Winton that the Blackwater, the river up which the expedition was destined for the purpose of destroying the railroad bridge, had been effectually blockaded by the falling of trees across it at its narrowest parts, thus rendering it almost impassable. The expedition, therefore, returned, leaving some gunboats at Elizabeth City and at the mouth of the Chowan.

I have two expeditions organized in connection with the Navy to move upon Plymouth, at the mouth of the Roanoke, and Middletown, the outlet of Mattamuskeet Lake, the former commanded by Brigadier-general Foster and the latter by Brigadier-General Parke. They were to have started yesterday morning, but the dense fog that prevails here a greater part of the time prevented the possibility of the vessels moving in the sound. In my next I will send you duplicates of instructions given to these two generals. The enemy is, I learn, very much distracted by these frequent dashes on their coast, and seem to have but little idea where the next blow will be aimed. Before the end of the present week I hope to report to you some important movements, which are dependent upon the arrival of the naval ammunition, which has been hourly expected for several days. The health of the command continues excellent, and the drill and discipline is being perfected by the commanders of brigades.

Our supplies, particularly coal, are not arriving as rapidly as I could desire. Clothing sent to us from Philadelphia is now being issued, and we shall need an additional supply of fully the amount originally sent. The drawers and shirts are said to be very poor.

I have the honor to be, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. E. BURNSIDE, Brigadier-General, Comdg. Department of North Carolina.

Brig. Gen. LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.

* See “Correspondence, etc.-Union,” post.

{p.195}

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No. 2.

Report of Col. Rush C. Hawkins, Ninth New York Infantry.

STEAMER VIRGINIA, Off Roanoke Island, Y. C., February 21, 1862.

SIR: Agreeably to your orders of the 17th instant I called upon Captain Rowan, and made arrangements to embark my regiment on board of some of the gunboats of his division for the purpose of proceeding up the Blackwater and Nottoway Rivers and destroying the bridges of the Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad.

At 12 m. of the 18th instant the regiment embarked and the expedition got under way, and that night anchored off the mouth of the Roanoke River, where it remained until 10 a.m. of the 19th instant, and then commenced its journey up the Chowan River. Nothing of importance occurred until about 3.30 p.m. The flag-steamer Delaware was about 1 mile ahead of any of the other boats. I was on the cross-trees of the mainmast, where I had been on the lookout for about two hours. The steamer was within 350 yards of the wharf at Winton when I discovered the high bank, which we were nearing very rapidly, was covered with Confederate soldiers. I immediately gave the alarm, but not in time to change our course until the steamer had got within 100 yards of the shore, when we received the whole fire of about 700 infantry or more, which continued until we had passed out of range up the river, where we turned around and commenced shelling the town, the enemy returning the fire with four pieces of artillery from the shore.

In the mean time the gunboat Perry, having come within range, commenced firing from below. Soon after the enemy was dislodged and retired, when the Delaware returned down the river, receiving four shots as she passed the wharf. The whole fleet came to an anchor about 7 miles below Winton. A consultation was held, and it was agreed to return the next morning and burn the town if found to be occupied by the rebels.

About 11.30 a.m. of the 20th instant our gunboats arrived and took their positions, some above, some below, and others opposite to the town, when our guns commenced firing, and in twenty minutes after my regiment landed, accompanied by three boat guns, under the command of Lieutenant Flusser, of the gunboat Perry. The guns were placed in positions so as to command the approaches to the town; the regiment drawn up in line awaiting the attack of the enemy. In the mean time parties of observation were sent out in all directions. It was soon ascertained that the enemy had retreated as soon as our force appeared in sight that morning, leaving everything behind except their arms and accouterments. Six companies of my regiment took possession of the main approach to the town, and I commenced making a personal inspection of all the buildings. I found that nearly all of them had been taken possession of and had been occupied by the Confederate troops as quarters and store-houses (see Exhibits A and B)* I then ordered that every building containing stores for the enemy and occupied by them as quarters should be fired, and placed guards in the others to see that they were not disturbed or destroyed. The property destroyed belonging to the Confederate forces consisted of bacon, corn-meal, flour, sugar, powder, mess-pans, camp-kettles, knapsacks, {p.196} haversacks, canteens, &c., the whole worth not less than $10,000.

This, I believe, is the first instance during the war on our side where fire has accompanied the sword. It is to be regretted that such severe measures have to be adopted; they can only be justified upon two grounds-first, retaliation for trying to decoy us into a trap at the time of the firing into the Delaware. Evidence of this is that a negress, the property of one of the Confederate officers, was sent down to the wharf by her master to beckon the boat in to the wharf, when we were all to be slaughtered, or in the words of the negress, “bey said dat dey wan’t goin’ to let anybody lib at all, but was goin’ to kill ebery one of ’em.” I infer from this that we were to receive no quarter. Second, the buildings fired had been taken possession of by and were in the use of the rebel forces as store-houses and quarters, which forces had been raised, supported, and used by the States in rebellion for the purpose of subverting the Constitution and the laws of the United States.

From information obtained at Winton we came to the conclusion that it would be impossible for us to accomplish the original object and aim of the expedition, so it had to be abandoned.

The forces at Winton, as near as I could ascertain, consisted of the First Battalion North Carolina Volunteers (six companies), under the command of Lieut. Col. William T. Williams; one battery of light artillery; one company of the Southampton cavalry, and one or two companies of the North Carolina Militia, the whole under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Williams.

I am happy to inform you that none of our forces were injured. The enemy sustained some loss from the fire of our gunboats on the 19th, but I am not able to state how many were either killed or wounded.

The troops under my command and the officers and sailors on board of the gunboats behaved exceedingly well, and performed all of their various duties with great promptness and alacrity.

I feel greatly indebted to Commodore S. C. Rowan and the lieutenants of the U. S. Navy, in command of the gunboats, for their kind care and attention to the comforts and wants of my regiment, and also for their hearty co-operation in trying to carry out the object of the expedition.

I am, most faithfully, your obedient servant,

RUSH C. HAWKINS, Colonel Ninth Regiment New York Volunteers.

Brig. Gen. J. G. PARKE.

* Omitted as unimportant.

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MARCH 14, 1862.–Battle of New Berne, N. C.

REPORTS, ETC.

No. 1.–Brig. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, U. S. Army, with congratulatory order and communication from the Secretary of War.
No. 2.–Capt. Robert S. Williamson, U. S. Topographical Engineers.
No. 3.–Surg. William H. Church, U. S. Army, Medical Director.
No. 4.–Brig. Gen. John G. Foster, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade.
No. 5.–Lieut. Col. Albert W. Drake, Tenth Connecticut Infantry.
No. 6.–Col. John Kurtz, Twenty-third Massachusetts Infantry.
No. 7.–Col. Thomas G. Stevenson, Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry.
No. 5.–Col. Edwin Upton, Twenty-fifth Massachusetts Infantry.{p.197}
No. 9.–Col. Horace C. Lee, Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Infantry.
No. 10.–Brig. Gen. Jesse L. Reno, U. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade.
No. 11.–Lieut. Col. William S. Clark, Twenty-first Massachusetts Infantry.
No. 12.–Lieut. Col. Charles A. Heckman, Ninth New Jersey Infantry.
No. 13.–Col. Edward Ferrero, Fifty-first New York Infantry.
No. 14.–Col. John F. Hartranft, Fifty-first Pennsylvania Infantry.
No. 15.–Brig. Gen. John G. Parke, U. S. Army, commanding Third Brigade.
No. 16.–Col. Edward Harland, Eighth Connecticut Infantry.
No. 17.–Lieut. Col. Charles Mathewson, Eleventh Connecticut Infantry.
No. 15.–Col. Isaac P. Rodman, Fourth Rhode Island Infantry.
No. 19.–Maj. John Wright, Fifth Rhode Island Infantry.
No. 20.–Brig. Gen. L. O’B. Branch, C. S. Army.
No. 21.–Col. Reuben P. Campbell, Seventh North Carolina Infantry.
No. 22.–Lt. Col. Edw. Graham Haywood, Seventh North Carolina Infantry.
No. 23.–Col. S. B. Spruill, Nineteenth North Carolina Infantry.
No. 24.–Col. Zebulon B. Vance, Twenty-sixth North Carolina Infantry,
No. 25.–Maj. John A. Gilmer, jr., Twenty-seventh North Carolina Infantry.
No. 26.–Lieut. Col. Robert F. Hoke, Thirty-third North Carolina Infantry.
No. 27.–Col. James Sinclair, Thirty-fifth North Carolina Infantry.
No. 25.–Col. Charles C. Lee, Thirty-seventh North Carolina Infantry.
No. 29.–Lieut. Col. William M. Barbour, Thirty-seventh North Carolina Infantry.
No. 30.–Col. H. J. B. Clark, Special Battalion North Carolina Militia.
No. 31.–Lieut. J. L. Haughton Macon Mounted Guards.

No. 1.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Ambrose B. Burnside, U. S. Army, with congratulatory order and communication from time Secretary of War.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT NORTH CAROLINA, New Berne, March 16, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that after embarking the troops with which I intended to attack New Berne, in conjunction with the naval force, on the morning of the 11th, a rendezvous was made at Hatteras Inlet. Flag-Officer Goldsborough having been ordered to Hampton Roads, the naval fleet was left in command of Commodore Rowan. Early on the morning of the 12th the entire force started for New Berne, and that night anchored off the mouth of Slocum’s Creek, some 18 miles from New Berne, where I had decided to make a landing. The landing commenced by 7 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, and then, after a toilsome march through the mud the head of the column arrived within a mile and a half of the enemy’s stronghold at 8 p.m., a distance of 12 miles from the point of landing, where we bivouacked for the night, the rear of the column coming up with the boat howitzers about 3 o’clock next morning, the detention being caused by the shocking condition of the roads, consequent upon the heavy rain that had fallen during that day and the whole of that night, the men often wading knee-deep in mud, and requiring a whole regiment to drag the eight pieces which had been landed from the Navy and our own vessels.

By signals agreed upon, the naval vessels, with the armed vessels of my force, were informed of our progress, and were thereby enabled to assist us much in our march by shelling the road in advance.

{p.198}

At daylight on the morning of the 14th I ordered an advance of the entire division, which will be understood by the inclosed pencil sketch.* General Foster’s brigade was ordered up the main county road to attack the enemy’s left, General Reno up the railroad to attack their right and General Parke to follow General Foster and attack the enemy in front, with instructions to support either or both brigades.

I must defer for want of time a detailed account of the action. It is enough to say that after an engagement of four hours we succeeded in carrying a continuous line of field work of over a mile in length, protected on the river flank by a battery of thirteen heavy guns and on the opposite flank by a line of redoubts of over a half a mile in length for riflemen and field pieces, in the midst of swamps and dense forests, which line of works was defended by eight regiments of infantry, 500 cavalry, and three batteries of field artillery of six guns each. The position was finally carried by a most gallant charge of our men, which enabled us to gain the rear of all the batteries between this point and New Berne, which was done by a rapid advance of the entire force up the main road and railroad, the naval fleet meantime pushing its way up the river, throwing their shots into the forts and in front of us.

The enemy, after retreating in great confusion (throwing away blankets, knapsacks, arms, &c.) across the railroad bridge and county road bridge, burned the former and destroyed the draw of the latter, thus preventing further pursuit, and causing the detention in occupying the town by our military force, but the naval force had arrived at the wharves and commanded it by their guns. I at once advanced General Foster’s brigade to take possession of the town by means of the naval vessels, which Commodore Rowan had kindly volunteered for the purpose. The city was set on fire by the retreating rebels in many places, but owing to the exertions of the naval officers the remaining citizens were induced to aid in extinguishing the flames, so that but little harm has been done. Many of the citizens are now returning, and we are now in quiet possession of the city. We have captured the printing press, and shall at once issue a daily sheet.

By this victory our combined force have captured eight batteries containing forty-six heavy guns, three batteries of light artillery of six guns each, making in all sixty-four guns; two steamboats and a number of sailing vessels, wagons, horses, a large quantity of ammunition, commissary and quartermaster stores, forage, and the entire camp equipage of the rebel troops, a large quantity of rosin, turpentine, cotton, &c., and over 200 prisoners.

Our loss thus far ascertained will amount to 91 killed and 466 wounded, many of them mortally.** Among these are some of our most gallant officers and men. The rebel loss is severe, but not so great as our own, being effectually covered by their works.

Too much praise cannot be awarded to the officers and men for their untiring exertion and unceasing patience in accomplishing this work. The effecting of the landing and the approach to within a mile and a half of the enemy’s work on the 13th I consider as great a victory as the engagement of the 14th. Owing to the difficult nature of the landing our men were forced to wade ashore waist-deep march through mud to a point 12 miles distant, bivouac in low, marshy ground in a rain-storm for the night, engage the enemy at daylight in the morning, fighting them for four hours amid a dense fog, that prevented them {p.199} from seeing the position of the enemy, and finally advancing rapidly over bad roads upon the city. In the midst of all this not a complaint was heard; the men were only eager to accomplish their work. Every brigade, and in fact every regiment, and I can almost say every officer and man of the force landed was in the engagement. The men are all in good spirits, and under the circumstances are in good health. I beg to say to the General Commanding that I have under my command a division that can be relied upon in any emergency. A more detailed report will be forwarded as soon as I receive the brigade returns. The brigadier-generals, having been in the midst of their regiments whilst under fire, will be able to give me minute accounts.

I beg to say to the General Commanding the Army that I have endeavored to carry out the very minute instructions given me by him before leaving Annapolis, and thus far events have been singularly coincident with his anticipations. I only hope that we may in future be able to carry out in detail the remaining plans of the campaign. The only thing I have to regret is the delay caused by the elements.

I desire again to bear testimony to the gallantry of our naval fleet, and to express my thanks to Commodore Rowan and the officers under him for their hearty and cheerful co-operation in this movement. Their assistance was timely and of great service in the accomplishment of our undertaking.

I omitted to mention that there was a large arrival of re-enforcements of the enemy in New Berne during the engagement, which retreated with the remainder of the army by the cars and the country roads.

I have the honor, general, to be, your obedient servant,

A. E. BURNSIDE, Brigadier-General, Commanding Department North Carolina.

General LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army.

* Not found.

** But see revised statement, p. 211.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT NORTH CAROLINA, New Berne, March 21, 1862.

I have the honor to report the following movements in my department since my hurried report of the 16th instant. The detailed report of the engagement on the 14th is not yet finished, but I hope will be ready to send by the next mail:

As I reported, our forces occupied this city and succeeded in restoring it to comparative quietness by midnight on the 14th, and it is now as quiet as a New England village. I appointed General Foster military governor of the city and its vicinity, and he has established a most perfect system of guard and police. Nine-tenths of the depredations on the 14th, after the enemy and citizens fled from the town, were committed by the negroes before our troops reached the city. They seemed to be wild with excitement and delight. They are now a source of very great anxiety to us. The city is being overrun with fugitives from the surrounding towns and plantations. Two have reported themselves who have been in the swamps for five years. It would be utterly impossible if we were so disposed, to keep them outside of our lines, as they find their way to us through woods and swamps from every side. By my next dispatch I hope to report to you a definite policy in reference to this matter, and in the mean time shall be glad to receive any instructions upon the subject which you may be disposed to give.

{p.200}

General Foster’s brigade is still occupying the city and its suburbs, having pushed his advanced pickets on all the roads leading to Kinston between the Neuse and the Trent, some 9 miles out. I have also sent one regiment of his brigade, in conjunction with a naval force sent by Commodore Rowan, to make a temporary occupation of Washington. Scouting parties from his brigade have visited the country to the north of the Neuse and found everything quiet. Much Union feeling has been expressed, but the people are slow to take the oath of allegiance, evidently from a fear that we will not be able to maintain our position here, in which case they would be driven from their homes. Confidence is being restored, how ever, to a certain extent, and the people of the city are returning to their homes.

I have taken the responsibility, as I did at Roanoke, of issuing provisions to the poor, who were and have been for some time suffering for food. In fact, I have had to order issues made in some cases to persons who have but lately been in affluent circumstances, but who now have nothing but Confederate notes, city shin-plasters, worthless notes of hand, unproductive real estate, and negroes who refuse to acknowledge any debt of servitude. The suffering and anxiety is far beyond anything I had anticipated. It seems strange to me that these people will not perceive that this state of things has been brought about by their own injudicious and disloyal conduct.

General Reno’s brigade occupy the south side of the Trent, his advanced pickets extending down the railroad as far as Croatan out to the edge of the swamps and up the Trent some 4 miles to the first bridge above the railroad bridge, the draw of which was destroyed by the rebels, but has since been repaired by our men, thus opening communication with the city to our supply trains and artillery. I have also established a steam ferry, which runs every fifteen minutes, communicating with his headquarters. One of his regiments has been sent up the south side of the Trent, to burn all the bridges on the stream for 30 miles above the one held by us.

I have sent General Parke’s brigade to invest and, if necessary, besiege Fort Macon. A personal reconnaissance of Slocum’s Creek demonstrated that the railroad could be reached by our light-draught steamers at Havelock Station, thus saving more than one-half the march to Morehead City. The small hand cars brought with the expedition have been of great service in transporting his baggage, stores, &c. He has reached Morehead City by this time, and I shall go down to-morrow, and hope by the next mail to report considerable progress. His instructions are, first, to demand an unconditional surrender of the place, and in case of refusal to begin his work at once and reduce it in the shortest possible time. He has, I think, ample force and means to accomplish it, the General Commanding the Army having instructed me to prepare for it before leaving New York.

And I now beg to say that, in order to move upon the interior of the State, I will require considerable re-enforcements-a regiment of cavalry, two more batteries of artillery, and enough regiments of infantry to make a division out of each one of my brigades. I sincerely hope that the Department may deem it for the interest of the public service to promote each of my three brigadier-generals to either the actual or brevet rank of major-general and place them in command of the divisions. They are eminently qualified for the position, and have, by their untiring industry, their great skill, and conspicuous gallantry under most trying circumstances, earned the right to promotion.

You can scarcely imagine, Mr. Secretary, the amount of patient labor {p.201} that has been expended in bringing this little command up to this point. If we can have the regiments to make the divisions, we have the material here in the commanders of our regiments to command the brigades.

I see by a recent act of Congress that commanders of departments are allowed an increase of staff. I inclose herewith some nominations for your consideration.

I have the honor to be, sir, your very obedient servant,

A. E. BURNSIDE, Brigadier-General, Commanding Department North Carolina.

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington.

P. S.-We shall want with the re-enforcements the usual amount of wagons, horses, clothing, &c.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, New Berne, April 10, 1862.

I have the honor to make the following detailed report of the battle of New Berne, as promised in my hurried report of the 16th ultimo:

After embarking my command, consisting of the brigades of Generals Foster, Reno, and Parke, at Roanoke Island on the morning of the 11th, the transport fleet, in conjunction with the naval fleet, arrived without accident off the mouth of Slocum’s Creek, in the Neuse River, some 16 miles from New Berne, on the evening of the 12th, where we anchored for the night. Soon after anchoring I called the three general officers in council, and after consultation with Commodore Rowan we decided to land at the mouth of Slocum’s Creek on the following morning under cover of the naval guns, and proceed up the direct road to New Berne, our advance to be designated by signal rockets from the head of the column, thus enabling the Navy and our armed transport vessels to shell the road in advance of us.

At 6.30 the following morning I hoisted the preparatory signal. The naval vessels, with the gunboat Picket, moved in toward the mouth of the creek and shelled the woods some distance in advance of us. A reconnaissance was made to ascertain the depth of water by the gunboat Delaware, Captain Quackenbush, and by Mr. H. H. Helper, with the boat’s crew of the Alice Price. After receiving their reports the signal for landing was hoisted, the light-draught steamers and surfboats having been previously filled with our men, and in twenty minutes some three regiments were on shore. The steamers having grounded the men on them leaped overboard and waded to the shore, holding their cartridge-boxes out of the water. The enthusiasm with which this work was accomplished cannot be excelled. As the colors of each regiment were planted on the shore the men rallied to them, and their proper formations were soon made. The steamers and boats returned to the fleet for more troops, and the landing was continued, under the direction of my chief quartermaster, Capt. Herman Biggs, until the whole force detailed for the attack had reached the shore except the field artillery and some of the infantry that had not arrived from Hatteras Inlet.

In the mean time I had landed my staff, and detailed Capt. R. S. Williamson, Topographical Engineer, to move on in advance of the {p.202} column for the purpose of reconnoitering the positions of the enemy. I detailed my aides Lieutenants Pell and Fearing to accompany him, and requested him to call on General Foster for two of his aides, and Lieutenants Strong and Pendleton were detailed to accompany him.

The six naval boat howitzers, under command of Lieutenant McCook, having landed, I ordered a detail of a regiment from General Reno’s brigade to assist in hauling them over the road, which was so bad that it was impossible for them to be dragged by the gunners. The Fifty-first Pennsylvania was detailed for this service. I then moved on to the head of the column, and found it had reached the first intrenchment at Otter Creek, some 6 miles up, which had been deserted by the enemy. Captain Williamson, having discovered this fact and previously reported it to General Foster, proceeded on with his party to make a further reconnaissance. After obstructing the railroad at this point, I ordered General Foster to move up the main county road with his brigade and General Reno to move his brigade up the railroad, leaving orders for General Parke to follow with his brigade up the county road. Soon after starting the columns Captain Williamson reported to me that a line of breastworks, broken by a redan for field pieces, along the bank of the river a mile in advance, had also been deserted by the enemy. I visited this work, accompanied by Generals Foster and Reno, where we communicated with the fleet.

Overtaking the head of the column, the march was continued until my own staff officers and those of the different brigades who were acting as escort to Captain Williamson came in contact with the enemy’s pickets. It then being nearly 8 o’clock, I ordered a halt, and directed General Foster to bivouac on the right and left of the county road in a line at right angles to it, ordering one regiment to occupy the road leading down to the fortifications on the river. General Reno’s brigade occupied a corresponding advanced position across the railroad a half mile to the left and General Parke occupied a position immediately in rear of and parallel with General Foster. It rained all night, as it had done during the day, so that our men passed a most cheerless night. The Fifty-first Pennsylvania, with the naval boat howitzers, under Lieutenant McCook, together with two guns landed from the Cossack and Highlander, under Captains Bennett and Dayton, did not reach my headquarters till 3 o’clock in the morning. Too much praise cannot be awarded to the officers and men who performed this very arduous service, as these eight pieces constituted our entire artillery force during the engagement of the next day.

Soon after leaving the landing I determined not to land the light batteries of Captains Belger and Morris and our wagons at Slocum’s Creek, and sent an order to Captain Biggs to move up the river and land them at the deserted intrenchment above the mouth of Otter Creek, but the dense fog that prevailed during the afternoon and night made it impossible to land anything, and it was equally impossible to communicate from shore with the fleet by signals, as agreed upon.

On the following morning I ordered Captain Williamson to move forward and reconnoiter the position of the enemy, which was known to be not far in advance of our pickets, from information obtained during the night from negroes and others, to the effect that they were posted behind a long line of intrenchments leading from the river across the county road to the railroad. The brigades were formed and ordered to advance as follows: General Foster to move up the county road and attack the enemy’s front and left, General Reno to move up the railroad and, if possible, turn the enemy’s right, and General Parke {p.203} to move up the county road as a reserve. I also ordered General Parke to detail the Eleventh Connecticut to relieve the Fifty-first Pennsylvania in dragging up the boat howitzers, and their work was done in an efficient and prompt manner. The head of the columns very soon came within range of the enemy’s artillery, and the following dispositions were made: General Foster placed the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts, Colonel Upton, and the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, Colonel Stevenson, in line of battle on the right of the county road parallel with the enemy’s intrenchments; the six navy boat howitzers, Linder Lieutenant McCook, with the howitzers of Captains Dayton and Bennett, across the road, and the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts, Colonel Lee, and the Twenty-third Massachusetts, Colonel Kurtz,, in line of battle on the left of the road.

The enemy then opened fire, both musketry and artillery, upon General Foster’s lines. General Reno then, moving briskly forward with his brigade along the railroad, ordered a charge of the right wing of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, on the brick-kiln, just in the rear of the main line of intrenchments, which was entirely successful. He at the same time ordered the left wing of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Major Rice; the Fifty-first New York, Colonel Ferrero; the Ninth New Jersey, Colonel Heckman, into line of battle on the left of the railroad, with a view of supporting the Twenty-first Massachusetts, holding the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, Colonel Hartranft, in reserve; but he soon found that instead of the enemy’s right being on the railroad it extended to a point some three-quarters’ of a mile beyond, and they were posted along the whole line in a series of redans separated from him by fallen trees and an almost impassable swamp. He soon found himself engaged along the whole line, and was unable to support Colonel Clark, who was soon after compelled to return from the brick-kiln from the attack of an overwhelming force. General Foster ordered the Tenth Connecticut-Colonel Drake, to interline on the left of the Twenty-third Massachusetts. I then ordered General Parke’s brigade to take a position in the intermediate space between General Foster and General Reno, and to support whichever brigade needed it. His brigade was formed in the following order, beginning at the left: The Fourth Rhode Island, Colonel Rodman; the Eighth Connecticut, Colonel Harland; the Fifth Rhode Island, Major Wright. The Eleventh Connecticut, which had brought up the boat howitzers, I held as reserve. Soon after this, learning from General Foster that the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts had exhausted its ammunition, I ordered the Eleventh Connecticut, Colonel Mathewson, to report to General Foster for their support.

The engagement was now general all along the whole line. It had been previously ascertained, by the reconnaissance of Captain Williamson, that the enemy had many pieces of field artillery behind their intrenchments, and on their left flanks there was a river battery with four 32-pounders, pivot guns, which enfiladed our lines. Having ordered to General Foster the last of my reserve, I sent word to General Parke to push on through the timber and pass the enemy’s right. I then proceeded to the left of our lines to communicate with General Reno, where I found his brigade very hotly engaged with the enemy.

In the mean time Colonel Rodman, of the Fourth Rhode Island, had met Colonel Clark, of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, who informed him that he could get in rear of the enemy’s intrenchments by charging down the railroad directly upon the brick-kiln, which he at once did, under a galling fire from the rifle pits in front of General Reno, {p.204} and was supported by the remainder of the brigade, by order of General Parke, planting their colors upon the parapet.

The brigade then moved rapidly down the line of intrenchments, the Fourth Rhode Island leading, clearing it of the enemy as they advanced and capturing their guns. General Foster, seeing our forces inside of the enemy’s lines, immediately ordered his brigade to charge, when the whole line of breastwork between the railroad and the river were by this combined movement of the two brigades most gallantly carried, the enemy retreating in the greatest possible confusion. After the cheers of our men had subsided it was discovered from the sharp firing on our left that General Reno was still engaged with the enemy, upon which General Parke moved back, with a view, if possible, of getting in the rear of the enemy’s forces in the intrenchments to the left of the railroad. General Foster also moved forward with one of his regiments farther to the right, with a view to getting in their rear. General Parke, having reached an advantageous position to the right of the brick-kiln and in rear of the redans, by a heavy fire very much staggered the enemy, when General Reno ordered the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, Colonel Hartranft, to charge the enemy’s line, which charge was supported by the remainder of his brigade, causing the enemy to desert his works in great confusion.

At this juncture General Foster appeared in their rear with one of his regiments, thus cutting off their retreat, and received from Colonel Avery an unconditional surrender of himself and over 200 men. The Twenty-first Massachusetts was left in charge of the prisoners. The remaining force at that point moved along the railroad directly for New Berne. In the mean time I had conducted the four regiments of General Foster’s brigade on the county road in pursuit of the enemy, and at the crossing of the county road and railroad the column came together, General Foster’s brigade consolidated and moved on, General Reno’s brigade following. I ordered General Parke’s brigade to follow the county road, and if possible save the bridge over the Trent from destruction. I then joined the head of General Foster’s brigade, and soon after discovered that the railroad bridge and part of the city were on fire. Upon arriving at the head of the bridge I halted the brigades, and after visiting the city, in company with Generals Foster and Reno and consulting with Commodore Rowan, I ordered General Foster to move across to the city and occupy it. Having discovered that the draw of the county bridge had been destroyed, I sent an order to General Parke to proceed no farther, but to bivouac for the night.

Of what has happened since that time I have already sent you detailed accounts. For a more perfect understanding of the exact movements of the different brigades I beg to refer you to the very accurate reports of my brigadier-generals. I also beg to refer you to the report of Captain Williamson and to the accompanying sketch* for a more accurate knowledge of the nature and position of the enemy’s intrenchments as well as our own position in the battle. The endurance and courage displayed by our officers and men from the moment they landed at Slocum’s Creek until they reached New Berne was beyond anything I could have expected. The road from the landing to Croatan, a distance of 6 miles, was newly cut, and consequently almost impassible, and continually rendered worse by the rain, the march of the troops, and the wheels of the artillery.

I have before mentioned that the rear of the column, with the artillery, {p.205} did not reach our position in front of the enemy’s until 3 o’clock in the morning. Both officers and men bivouacked in the open fields and swamps in order of battle, catching such rest as they could, the rain falling constantly during the night. At daylight the next morning the regiments were in line, and soon the brigades commenced filing off to take their positions closer to the enemy’s works. When I started from my headquarters for the head of the column I felt that we were going to the fight under most unfavorable circumstances, and expected to find the men fagged and leg-weary, but as I passed regiment after regiment their hearty cheers and firm step convinced me that I had underestimated them.

On reaching the turn in the road where they first came under fire of the enemy’s cannon the only change I could perceive in their demeanor was an over-anxiety to keep their ranks well closed, and they filed to their positions, under the direction of their brigadier-generals, with all the regularity and steadiness of veteran soldiers. For more than three hours the contest continued, the fog being so dense at times that the position of the enemy could only be ascertained by the rattle of their musketry and the roar of artillery. The result has proved what work they can do under such trying circumstances. In the midst of all the privations since we left Fortress Monroe the most marked feature that has been demonstrated in the character of these men is their extreme patience. With men of less patience and subordination the work could not have been accomplished.

I cannot mention personal instances of gallantry where all have behaved so nobly. To the reports of Generals Foster, Reno, and Parke, who were always with their brigades in the thickest of the fight, as well as to the reports of the colonels of the regiments, who commanded by example as well as authority, I beg to refer you for details. To them and their brave officers and men the country owes every success which has been obtained during the campaign, and I am sure their services are appreciated.

By the inclosed report of Brigade Surg. W. H. Church, our medical director, it will be seen that our loss was overestimated in my hasty report the day after the battle. The accompanying lists show 88 killed and 352 wounded.** Among these names are some of our most valuable officers and men. They are sad losses to us and to their relatives and friends. They nobly gave up their lives in defense of their country, and a debt of gratitude is due from every American citizen to the wives, mothers, and fathers who have laid such sacrifices on the altar of their country. They have my heartfelt sympathy, and I constantly pray that but few more such sacrifices will be required for the breaking up of this unholy rebellion. The memories of the brave dead will ever be green in the hearts of their countrymen and the scars of the wounded will be honorable passports for them through life.

As indicated in the beginning of my report, the plan of attack contemplated the co-operation of the Navy, which was most successfully carried out. As we moved along the road their shells fell in advance of us, and as we approached the rear of each rebel fortification their shells dropped inside the parapets, and by this combined movement the enemy was forced to fly in the greatest confusion. In this instance as well as in every other where it has been needed the most perfect understanding and co-operation have existed between the two arms of {p.206} the service since we joined the naval fleet at Hatteras Inlet. I need hardly say that these brave officers and sailors are bound to us by the strongest ties of friendship and companionship in arms.

The armed transports of the fleet in this instance, as in every other, have shown that they have been most efficiently managed, and in speaking of the services of this command I always include all the transports of the fleet. The gunboat Picket, Capt. T. P. Ives, rendered marked service in this engagement as well as at Roanoke and elsewhere.

The duties of the officers and attendants of the medical staff have been most arduous both during and since the battle and most nobly have they fulfilled their mission, displaying in all instances both skill and courage.

Some of the results of this battle may be enumerated as follows: The capture of nine forts, with forty-one heavy guns; two miles of intrenchments, with nineteen field pieces; six 32-pounders not in position; over 300 prisoners; over 1,000 stand of small-arms; tents and barracks for 10,000 troops; a large amount of ammunition and army supplies; an immense amount of naval stores, for which I refer you to Commodore Rowan’s report; the second commercial city in the State of North Carolina; the entire command of the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds; the capture of Beaufort, Carolina, and Morehead Cities, and the complete investment of Fort Macon, which we hope soon to reduce. The prisoners belonging to this city I have released on their parole, together with the sick and wounded. The remainder, some 160, I have sent to New York. I hope my course in releasing the sick and wounded and the citizens of this place will meet the approval of the Department, and I should have been glad to have released them all had the enemy fulfilled their engagement made with me when I released the Roanoke prisoners.

I cannot close this report without paying a just tribute of praise to the members of my staff, who have so nobly aided me in every effort in the accomplishment of this work. Dr. Church, after designating the positions for hospitals and performing other duties devolving upon him as medical director, rendered me most efficient service in directing troops and carrying orders. Captain Richmond, my assistant adjutant-general, and Lieutenants Pell and Fearing accompanied me on the field, where they displayed great gallantry and skill.

Capt. Herman Biggs, my chief quartermaster, rendered most important service in directing the debarkation of troops and the movement of our supply transports. From the organization of this expedition in New York last September his work has been arduous and unremitting, and the fact that no call for anything which appertains to his department has been unsatisfied is sufficient evidence of the efficiency with which he has performed his work. He has been and was in this instance most nobly seconded by Captains Cutting and Loring. Capt. R. S. Williamson, chief topographical engineer, made some most daring reconnaissances, and by his skill and courage has commanded the respect of and endeared himself to the whole command, Capt. E. R. Goodrich, my chief commissary, and Captain-D’Wolf, in this instance as in all others, have shown marked efficiency in the discharge of the duties of their department under the most trying circumstances. Lieutenant Flagler, my chief ordnance officer, has constantly managed his department with great skill, and rendered most important aid in this instance. My private secretaries, Messrs. Larned and French, here as at Roanoke, accompanied the army on the field, ever ready to perform the duties required of them.

{p.207}

I mentioned in my first dispatch that the loss of the enemy was less than our own, but subsequent information has convinced me that it was much greater; that a large number of their killed and wounded were carried off in the cars there is no doubt, but in the absence of accurate information I refrain from making an estimate. It is never a source of pleasure to me to exaggerate the loss of either side, and could the same results have been obtained without the loss of a man it would have been a source of great gratification. Happily I have the opportunity of decreasing my former estimate of our own loss.

I have the honor to be, your very obedient servant,

A. E. BURNSIDE, Major-General, Commanding Department North Carolina.

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington.

* Not found.

** But see revised statement, p. 211.

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GENERAL ORDERS, No. 17.}

HDQRS. DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, New Berne, March 15, 1862.

The general commanding congratulates his troops on their brilliant and hard-won victory of the 14th. Their courage, their patience, their endurance of fatigue, exposure, and toil cannot be too highly praised. After a tedious march, dragging their howitzers by hand through swamps and thickets; after a sleepless night, passed in a drenching rain, they met the enemy in his chosen position, found him protected by strong earthworks, mounting many and heavy guns, and although in an open field themselves, they conquered. With such soldiers advance is victory.

The general commanding directs with peculiar pride that, as a well-deserved tribute to valor in this second victory of the expedition, each regiment engaged shall inscribe on its banner the memorable name, “New Berne.”

By command of Brig. Gen. A. E. Burnside:

LEWIS RICHMOND, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, D. C., March 22, 1862.

Major-General BURNSIDE:

GENERAL: The report of the late brilliant success of the United States forces under your command at New Berne has afforded the highest satisfaction to the President and to this Department and to the whole nation, and thanks for distinguished service are again tendered to you and to the officers and soldiers of your command.

Inclosed I have the pleasure to transmit your commission as a major-general, so gallantly won.

Re-enforcements have been ordered, and it will be the pleasure of the Department to strengthen and support you to the utmost extent within its power. If anything more than you have be needed for the safety of your command, the success of its operations, or the care, comfort, and attendance of the sick and wounded, you will please communicate to this Department, in order that it may be supplied.

The Adjutant-General has been instructed to communicate with you fully upon other subjects.

Respectfully, yours, &c.,

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

{p.208}

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No. 2.

Report of Capt. Robert S. Williamson, U. S. Topographical Engineers.

NEW BERNE, N. C., March 19, 1862.

SIR: In obedience to instructions from the general commanding the Department of North Carolina I have the honor to submit the following report of the reconnaissances made previous to the battle of March 14, near New Berne, together with a sketch of the defenses of that town:*

The fleet arrived near the mouth of Slocum’s Creek, about 16 miles below New Berne, on the evening of the 12th instant, and the troops landed the next day on the northern bank of the creek. At 2 p.m. the whole force was on shore, and I was then directed to go in advance, to ascertain the position of the enemy. No cavalry had landed, but I was furnished with a horse, and Lieutenants Pell and Fearing, aides to General Burnside, being also mounted, were directed to accompany me. Taking a northwesterly direction, we soon came to the county road, which leads to the town, and followed it for five or six miles, when we reached the first of the enemy’s works, consisting of a long breastwork at right angles to the road. This we found to be deserted. Passing on, we found at the distance of a quarter of a mile a well-traveled crossroad leading to the river, about a half a mile distant. This we examined, and found it to terminate at a house near the river bank, on which was a line of breastworks broken by a redan for field pieces. This was also deserted, but according to the statement of a negro at the house it had been occupied by the rebel troops with field artillery during the night previous. I then returned to the head of the advancing column, where I found General Foster, to whom I reported, after which I again advanced on the road.

At various times I was joined by some of the staff officers of the different brigades, among whom were Lieutenants Pell and Fearing, of General Burnside’s staff; Captain Potter, Lieut. Ed. N. Strong, Lieut. James H. Strong, and Lieut. James M. Pendleton, of General Foster’s staff, and Lieutenant Reno and Lieutenant Morris, of General Reno’s staff. There may have been others whose names I have inadvertently omitted, but having been but ten days in this department I have not yet learned the names of all the staff officers. Those whom I have mentioned cheerfully assisted in the reconnaissances. At one time, a little before sunset, Lieutenant Reno and myself rode at a gallop a couple of miles in advance, when suddenly, at a turn of the road, we came within 50 yards of a column of rebels in retreat, upon which we again returned and reported. Finally when some distance in advance and accompanied by several staff officers, we came upon a small rebel advance guard of 3 or 4 mounted men, who hailed us when we again returned to the head of the column. It being then after dark, the order was given to bivouac for the night. During the whole day it was cloudy, with rain at frequent intervals. The country traversed was in open pine timber.

In the morning there was a dense fog. Shortly after daylight I again went in advance to reconnoiter, accompanied by several staff officers. After going for a short distance through the pine woods we came to an open place, where the trees had been felled, which gave us a view of the enemy in force. They were in line behind an intrenchment perpendicular to the road, and extended as far as I could see on either hand-that is to say, about a half mile to the left and a quarter {p.209} of a mile to the right. The distance from them, as shown by a subsequent measurement, was 350 yards. I dismounted and examined them with a glass, but the fog was so dense it was difficult to determine the number of guns in sight, but one brass field piece was plainly to be seen immediately in front, which commanded the road. The number of infantry in sight I estimated to be from 3,000 to 4,000. We therefore turned back, but very soon met General Foster, at the head of the advancing column. In a few minutes General Burnside was on the spot, and immediately arranged for the attack. The firing commenced at about 8 o’clock and continued until about 1 p.m., when the intrenchments were in our possession. During the battle I acted as aide to the generals-particularly to General Burnside.

After the capture of this line of works the enemy was no longer to be seen, and in the afternoon our brigade occupied New Berne. Subsequently I rode with my assistants, Mr. H. C. Fillebrown and Mr. E. S. Walters, over the principal portion of the captured works, and prepared the accompanying hasty sketch of the defenses.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. S. WILLIAMSON, Captain, U. S. Topographical Engineers.

Capt. LEWIS RICHMOND, A. A. G., Dept. of North Carolina.

* Not found.

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No. 3.

Reports of Surg. William H. Church, U. S. Army, Medical Director.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, New Berne, N. C., March 16, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the killed and wounded during the action of March 14, 1862:

I arrived at the rear of the field of action about 8 o’clock a.m., and had just located the hospitals when the wounded made their appearance. Brigade Surg. J. H. Thompson located his hospital in the wood at the rear of the First Brigade, Actg. Brigade Surg. C. Cutter, of the Second Brigade, his on the left of our line, and Actg. Brigade Surg. H. W. Rivers, of the Third Brigade, established his in an open, well-sheltered wood, just to the right of the First Brigade. From the list of casualties you can well understand that the labor of the medical corps has been very severe, especially after the long march and comfortless night before the day of action. The conduct of Surg. George Derby and Asst. Surg. S. E. Stone, of the Twenty-third Massachusetts Volunteers, is deserving of special mention. Before the action opened I located them at a point which proved to be immediately in the range of the enemy’s fire. They must have remained there two hours before I thought of their position, when I found them quietly performing their operations with the balls falling thick and fast. I immediately ordered Dr. D. to remove his wounded to a house in a more protected position, where he still remains, in charge of his own and many other wounded.

I submit a full list of each regimental surgeon’s report to their respective brigade surgeons.

Of the various staff officers I do not hear of any serious injury, although your aide, Lieutenant Fearing, had a narrow escape from a round shot which struck the earth between his horse’s feet, filling his {p.210} eyes and face with sand and gravel, Lieut. J. M. Pendleton, of General Foster’s staff, also had a narrow escape from a ball which passed through the sleeve of his coat. The wounded will be immediately removed to two comfortable hospitals in the city of New Berne. Surgeons Upham, Kneeland, Batchelder, and Clarke, from Massachusetts, joined us at Hatteras Inlet, and have been of great assistance both in the field and hospital.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. HENRY CHURCH, Brigade Surgeon and Medical Director.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT NORTH CAROLINA, New Berne, April 9, 1862.

GENERAL: I herewith submit a revised and correct list of the killed and wounded at the battle of New Berne, on the 14th of March, 1862, compiled from the reports of the various brigade and regimental surgeons. Although the casualties are only reduced to 88, I am happy to find that the number wounded is much smaller than was at first supposed.* A large number of the wounded as they improve have been sent home, and those remaining are comfortably cared for in the Craverstreet Hospital, under the charge of Brigade Surg. J. Bryan, and in the Academy Green Hospital, placed in charge of Surg. George Derby, of the Twenty-third Massachusetts Regiment Volunteers. The wounds were unusually severe, and there have been several remarkable recoveries. The labor of the medical corps has been so great that I would once more respectfully urge upon you the absolute necessity for an increase of our surgical force, as, in addition to the sick of the transports, they are obliged to attend the sick of the town and negroes. The latter are now so numerous that it is necessary to open a hospital for their reception.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. HENRY CHURCH, Brigade Surgeon and Medical Director.

[Inclosure.]

Return of killed and wounded in action at New Berne, March 14, 1562.*

...

RECAPITULATION.

Regiment.Killed.Wounded.Aggregate.
8th Connecticut246
10th Connecticut71724
11th Connecticut62127
21st Massachusetts164056
23d Massachusetts72431
24th Massachusetts104353
25th Massachusetts41620
27th Massachusetts94352
9th New Jersey34649
51st New York116071
51st Pennsylvania99
4th Rhode Island112132
5th Rhode Island2810
Total88352440

* But see revised statement, p. 211.

{p.211}

[Addenda.]

Return of casualties in the Department of North Carolina, commanded by Brig. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, at the battle of New Berne, N. C., March 14, 1862.

[Compiled from nominal lists of casualties, returns, &c.]

Command.Killed.Wounded.Captured or missing.Aggregate.
Officers.Enlisted men.Officers.Enlisted men.Officers.Enlisted men.
FIRST BRIGADE.
Brig. Gen. JOHN G. FOSTER.
23d Massachusetts1632131
24th Massachusetts1044155
25th Massachusetts411520
27th Massachusetts1824152
10th Connecticut721524
Total First Brigade23512133182
SECOND BRIGADE.
Brig. Gen. JESSE L. RENO.
21st Massachusetts11424057
31st New York11065471
9th New Jersey1345462
51st Pennsylvania99
Total Second Brigade32712157199
THIRD BRIGADE.
Brig. Gen. JOHN G. PARKE.
4th Rhode Island11022336
5th Rhode Island, 1st Battalion11810
8th Connecticut2136
11th Connecticut152127
Total Third Brigade31835579
UNASSIGNED TROOPS.
1st New York Marine Artillery, detachment11
99th New York, Company B216110
Total unassigned troops217111
Total Department of North Carolina882283521471

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No. 4.

Report of Brig. Gen. John G. Foster, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade.

HEADQUARTERS GENERAL FOSTER’S BRIGADE, Department of North Carolina, New Berne, March 20, 1862.

I have the honor to report that, in pursuance of the orders of General Burnside and in accordance with the plan of operations agreed upon, I proceeded to land my brigade on the 13th instant at Slocum’s Creek. I took on board the Pilot Boy about 500 men of the Twenty-fourth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, and towing the boats of my brigade, carrying about 600 more, reached the mouth of the creek {p.212} and landed without molestation. I landed with the first detachment, and instructed Captain Messinger to remain on the Pilot Boy and land the balance of my brigade. I had sent orders to form the Twenty-fourth and advance a short distance on the main road, and on landing [took command and moved on, giving the advance to the Twenty-first Regiment. Massachusetts Volunteers, of General Reno’s brigade, by order of General Burnside, assigning the advance to General Reno. I left an aide to form the regiments as they landed and to order them to follow.

I advanced on the main road, throwing out skirmishers and an advance guard of the Twenty-first Regiment Massachusetts, and at a distance of 6 miles I heard from Captain Williamson, of the Topographical Engineers, the result of a daring reconnaissance made by him, accompanied by Lieutenants Pell and Fearing, of General Burnside’s staff, and by Lieutenants Strong, Pendleton, and Strong, of mine, discovering an abandoned breastwork. I then pushed on and entered the work, accompanied by General Reno, who had shortly before come up and assumed command of the Twenty-first Massachusetts. The work was found to be a breastwork, well constructed, and running in a straight line from the railroad to the river, a distance of about 1 mile, having a flank facing the railroad and a fort on the river flank. There were four flanking bastions for guns, and the fort was prepared for four guns. None were mounted, however. The troops were halted inside the fort to rest and eat. General Burnside then coming up, I, agreeably to his orders, advanced my brigade about 3 o’clock on the county road, General Reno being ordered to take the railroad track, which ran off to the left of the county road. We marched about 4 miles, halted, and bivouacked for the night near the enemy’s position.

At daylight on the next morning (the 14th instant) I advanced my brigade, by order of General Burnside, until I came upon the enemy’s position. General Parke was ordered to the left by General Burnside, and I made the following dispositions: The Twenty-fifth Massachusetts was thrown to the extreme right, followed in order by the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts in line of battle, their left resting on the county road, just on the left of which I placed the howitzer from the Highlander under command of Captain Dayton, supported in line of battle on the left by the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts, and opened fire. On the arrival of the navy boat howitzers, under command of Lieutenant McCook, they were placed in line on the left of Captain Dayton’s gun, and the Twenty-third was ordered to the left of the Twenty-seventh. The firing was incessant and very severe from the breastwork and within a very short range.

General Burnside arriving, I communicated to him the dispositions I had made, which he approved, sending over to General Parke to push on to the enemy’s right, and leaving me to hold the point, he rode off to reach General Reno’s position.

The Tenth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, having arrived, were ordered to the left of the Twenty-third, and to support them, if rendered necessary by want of ammunition. This being the case they formed on and to the left of the position of the Twenty-third and opened fire. Hearing from the Twenty-seventh that they were very short of ammunition, I ordered the Eleventh Connecticut, of General Parke’s brigade, which had just come up, by order of General Burnside, to their support, and sent one of my aides to conduct them to their position. The Twenty-seventh Massachusetts then retired in good order, with orders to lie in a hollow, out of the fire, with fixed bayonets, and wait further orders.

{p.213}

The ammunition of the navy howitzers being nearly exhausted and one piece disabled, the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts were ordered to march by the flank and form so as to support the guns, leaving the Twenty-fourth on the extreme right. About twenty-five minutes from this time the head of General Parke’s column, the Fourth Rhode Island, had reached the breastwork at the railroad crossing, and after a brisk fire pushed on and entered the breastwork in an opening left for the railroad track, and where the enemy’s fire had much slackened in consequence of the steady and constant fire of the Twenty-third Massachusetts and Tenth Connecticut. This position of affairs being discovered, I ordered an advance along the line, which was promptly obeyed, the enemy retreating with great precipitation.

On entering the breastworks sharp firing was still heard to the right of the enemy’s position, and hearing from General Parke that he was engaged with the enemy’s forces in their works to the right of the railroad, I led the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts to his support, and received the surrender of Colonel Avery and 150 men.

The breastwork we had entered was similar in construction to the abandoned one, running from Fort Thompson at the river to the railroad track, a distance of 14 miles, and from the railroad track rifle pits and detached intrenchments in the form of lunettes and redans followed each other for the distance of 14 miles and terminated by a two-gun battery.

Fort Thompson, a flanking bastion, mounted thirteen guns, all 32-pounders (two rifled), four of which were turned so as to bear upon our line. The breastwork was mounted by two complete field batteries, besides several pieces of heavy artillery, and manned by about 6,000 men. The force in men and artillery of the other defenses I am unable to give, they not coming under my observation.

Pressing forward then with my brigade, I reached the railroad bridge at New Berne, which being burned to prevent our following up the flying enemy, I rested the men on a field on the east bank of the Trent. By order of General Burnside, who had continued up with me, I shortly after crossed with my brigade over the river and encamped the regiments, with the exception of the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts, in the camp of the enemy (at the Fair Ground), the enemy having left all his camp equipage, and from appearances must have fled very precipitately, the Twenty-fifth being quartered in the town for police duty.

The fatigues and hardships of the march from Slocum’s Creek I need not mention; the horrible state of the roads, the wearing labor it cost to drag for 12 miles the howitzers, the severity of the storm, and the wet ground of the soldiers’ bivouac for the night, you well know.

I must mention in my brigade, where all behaved bravely, with particular praise the Twenty-fourth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers and the Tenth Connecticut Volunteers. The former, under a severe fire from musketry in the front and exposed to a flanking fire of grape and canister from Fort Thompson, unprotected by the trees, behaved with marked coolness and steadiness. The latter advanced close under the enemy’s fire in line of battle, fired with the most remarkable steadiness, and stood steadily up, giving and taking the most severe fire.

The naval howitzers, under command of Lieutenant McCook, Acting Masters Daniels and Hammond, Captain’s Clerk Meeker, Captain Rowan’s Clerk Gabaudan, Lieutenant Tillotson, Union Coast Guard, and Lieutenant Hughes, Union Coast Guard, were most admirably served during the day, and when the ammunition was exhausted they laid down by their pieces rather than to withdraw from their position.

{p.214}

Captain Dayton volunteered again to land and command the gun from the Highlander. His gun was first in position, and he served it, as before, with steadiness and efficiency. Lieutenant Tillotson, whose gun was disabled, rushed ahead after the action in pursuit with such speed as to be captured by the enemy.

From the joy of victory I must turn to mourn the price it cost in the soldier’s death of Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt, of the Twenty-third Massachusetts, who fell early in the action whilst urging and cheering the men on bravely and gallantly, and of Lieut. J. W. Lawton, of the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts, shot dead on the field. Maj. Robert H. Stevenson, of the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, was wounded in the leg, but stood up encouraging his men till forced to leave the field. Adjt. W. L. Horton, of the same regiment, was severely wounded by a grape shot in the shoulder whilst in the active performance of his duties, and Lieuts. Daniel Sargent and James B. Nichols were each slightly wounded. Capt. V. P. Parkhurst, of the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts, had his leg fractured, Lieuts. J. S. Aitchison and J. W. Trafton, of the Twenty-seventh, were slightly wounded, Capt. R. R. Swift also slightly wounded, and Lieut. George Warner had a foot shot off. Capt. Wesley C. Sawyer and William B. Alexander, of the Twenty-third Massachusetts, were both wounded, the former severely in the leg, rendering amputation necessary, and the latter in the hand. Lieut. T. W. B. Hughes, of the Union Coast Guard, was also wounded. Inclosed I send you a list of the killed and wounded, showing a total of 39 killed and 153 wounded.*

It is with much pleasure that I can report all of my staff as uninjured. They consisted during the day of Brigade Surg. J. H. Thompson, who volunteered in the early part of the fight to carry any order for me, and did so, till called elsewhere by his duties, under the hottest fire; of Capt. Southard Hoffman, assistant adjutant-general; Capt. E. E. Potter, acting commissary of subsistence; Lieut. J. F. Anderson, aide-de-camp; Lieut. J. M. Pendleton, aide-de-camp; Lieut. James H. Strong, aide-de-camp; Lieut. Edw. N. Strong, aide-de-camp; and Lieuts. J. L. Van Buren and R. T. Gordon, of the Signal Corps, who were used by me as aides. I most cordially bear my testimony to the conduct of the above-named gentlemen during the day as most worthy a gallant set of gentlemen. They were indefatigable in carrying orders, urging on men, and in placing the regiments, coolly and correctly obeying every order, and always under the heaviest fire. Without drawing any distinctions in the staff, I would take advantage of this opportunity to mention the names of Lieuts. James M. Pendleton and James H. and Edw. N. Strong as being volunteers who, without commission or enrollment, have acted during the entire campaign as aides, and performed every duty zealously and satisfactorily, and whose conduct during the day I have already spoken of, and to suggest that, under these circumstances, their services deserve a recognition, if not award, from the Government.

I also desire to return my thanks to the colonels of my brigade for the able assistance they rendered me during the day in promptly and correctly obeying, with the regiments under their command, my orders during the day. They were Col. Edwin Upton, Twenty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteers; Col. Thomas G. Stevenson, Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers; Col. Horace C. Lee, Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Volunteers; Col. John Kurtz, Twenty-third Massachusetts Volunteers; Lieut. Col. Albert W. Drake, Tenth Connecticut Volunteers; {p.215} Lieut. Col. Charles Mathewson, Eleventh Connecticut Volunteers, and their reports are herewith inclosed.

I am, general, with great respect, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Brigadier-General, U. S. Army.

Capt. LEWIS RICHMOND, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* But see revised statement, p. 211.

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No. 5.

Report of Lieut. Col. Albert W. Drake, Tenth Connecticut Infantry.

HDQRS. TENTH REGIMENT CONNECTICUT VOLS., New Berne, N. C., March 15, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report the part taken by the Tenth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers in the battle near New Berne of March 14, 1862.

At about 7.30 o’clock a.m. on the morning of that day we left our bivouac and advanced up the road leading to the city of New Berne. Although the men were chilled and wet from lying in the rain on the wet, cold ground during the previous night, and were much worn-down with fatigue from their march of the previous day, they advanced with alacrity. Arriving within about one-half a mile from the enemy’s intrenchments, we encountered a severe fire from their batteries. I immediately filed the regiment through the woods toward the left, and arriving at a spot of low ground halted and waited orders. After some time had elapsed I received orders to form a line of battle and advance and open fire on the enemy. I immediately formed the regiment in line of battle, and advanced up the rising ground directly in front of their intrenchments, and, halting a little less than 300 yards, opened fire. For a short time we received in return a brisk fire from their artillery and infantry, but it was soon silenced. The men’s ammunition getting short and the fire of the enemy having nearly ceased, we ceased firing and remained in our position.

Shortly after the enemy left their works. I followed on with the remainder of the brigade, and without further difficulty reached the Trent River at about 2.30 p.m. That evening the regiment was transported across the river and quartered in a deserted camp of the enemy near the city.

I have to say that all of the officers and men of the regiment did their whole duty during the engagement. Appended is a list of our killed and wounded during the action.*

Yours, very respectfully,

ALBERT W. DRAKE, Lieutenant-Colonel, Comdg. Tenth Regt. Conn. Vols.

Capt. SOUTHARD HOFFMAN, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Embodied in statement on p. 211.

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No. 6.

Report of Col. John Kurtz, Twenty-third Massachusetts Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-THIRD MASS. VOLS., New Berne, March 15, 1862.

DEAR SIR: I have the honor to report that at 8 o’clock in the morning of the 13th instant I received the order to disembark my regiment {p.216} and land upon the shore, 16 miles below this post. Having but five small boats, and one of my vessels being 3 or more miles from shore, it was not completed until near 3 o’clock in the afternoon. My regiment marched forward with a 12-pounder howitzer as soon as possible after landing, and arrived at the bivouac of this brigade at 8 o’clock in the evening, where we slept as comfortably as possible during a night of drenching rain. At 7 o’clock on the morning of the 14th I was ordered by General Foster to take up the line of march and follow him. In the course of half an hour I received an order from him to file into the woods and form my regiment in line upon the left of the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts, in front of the enemy’s breastwork, and immediately open fire upon him. The order was promptly executed. The fire was incessant for one and a half hours within 150 yards of the enemy’s work, &c. My ammunition (40 rounds) was expended. I immediately sent word to the general of my position and condition, and was assured that a regiment would be sent to my relief. Accordingly in a few moments the Eleventh Connecticut reported to me. I immediately ordered them to form in front of my line, and I fell back ten paces in good order, fixed bayonets, and lay down ready to support the line in front of me. After remaining in this position about thirty minutes a general charge was made along the whole front, and we had carried the work and our glorious old flag floated over it, and we gave nine rousing cheers.

I was immediately ordered by the general to send forward one company as an advance guard, and to follow with my regiment and feel my way toward the enemy, now in full retreat, and to capture all belligerents or enemies. We examined the woods, houses, and forts. We took Dr. West, who reports himself a native of New Rochelle, New York State, and a surgeon in the Confederate Army. I sent him to headquarters. In the course of an hour we joined General Foster with the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts at the railroad,about 2 miles from this post, and marched along the road until we arrived at the bridge across the Trent, which was on fire and entirely destroyed. After a rest of an hour we embarked, crossed the river, and at 5 o’clock occupied the camp of the “chivalry,” which appeared to have been left very hastily, and which was being plundered by the negroes. I stopped the plundering, took possession, and made myself as comfortable as possible for the night. The officers and men of my regiment behaved in the most gallant manner, and I take great pleasure in saying that Captains Brewster, Martin, Center, Howland, Whipple, Raymond, Sawyer, with their officers and men, particularly so Capt. E. G. Dayton, of the schooner Highlander, volunteered to command the 12-pounder howitzer, and the persevering manner in which he and his men drew the gun through the mud, in many places knee-deep, and the very gallant manner in which they served it within a hundred yards of the enemy’s line, met my warmest approbation. They made every shot tell, and had nearly or quite fired their last charge before they received any support. My adjutant, Lieut. John G. Chambers, rendered me the most efficient aid by the prompt and gallant manner in which he carried and executed my orders, as well as by the alacrity in which he urged the men at the most necessary points of the line. He comprehends without profuse explanation my commands, and is a very efficient and gallant officer.

It is with the most sincere regret that I have to report the death of Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt, who was killed early in the engagement while urging his men into the line in the most brave and gallant manner. His loss will be severely felt by the regiment. He was the kindest-hearted man I ever met with, and I am sensibly affected at his loss. {p.217} Captain Sawyer, of Company H, had his left leg taken off by a round shot. Major Elwell behaved in the most gallant manner, and is a most capital and efficient officer, and performs his duty without ostentation, and can be depended upon.

Annexed please find a list of my killed and wounded.* Very respectfully,

JOHN KURTZ, Colonel, Commanding Twenty-Third Massachusetts.

Capt. SOUTHARD HOFFMAN, A. A. G., First Brig., Coast Division.

* Embodied in statement on p. 211.

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No. 7.

Report of Col. Thomas G. Stevenson, Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry.

CAMP NEAR NEW BERNE, March 16, 1862.

SIR: I beg leave to report that on the morning of the 13th instant my regiment was on board the transports Guide and Vedette, which were at anchor in Neuse River, off the mouth of Slocum’s Creek. Early in the morning I received the signal to prepare to land, and in accordance with the order of General Foster filled the boats belonging to my transports with a part of my men and fastened them to the stern of the steamer Pilot Boy, which came alongside the Guide and took the companies that remained on her. There was no opposition to our landing, and as soon as the men reached the shore I formed them in line of battle. By order of General Foster I then advanced my regiment in rear of the Massachusetts Twenty-first as far as the railroad when I took the advance on the county road, sending Company E forward as an advance guard. I pushed forward as rapidly as the condition of the road would permit until night-fall, when, in accordance with General Foster’s orders, I filed my regiment into the woods on the right of the road and bivouacked for the night. The men were somewhat worn-out by their exhausting march, but made themselves as comfortable for the night as circumstances would permit. I sent forward Companies A, E, K, and F as a picket guard, and we remained undisturbed during the night.

Early in the morning of the 14th instant a small party of the enemy’s cavalry appeared within sight of our pickets and was fired upon, whereupon I immediately ordered my regiment to fall in. By order of General Foster I then advanced up the main road, with Company E as an advance guard, until within sight of the enemy’s intrenchments, and then filed off to the right of the road, where I formed my regiment in line of battle and advanced forward to within about 50 paces of the edge of the woods, where I halted until my advance guard returned from the road. It was at this time the enemy opened fire, wounding 2 of my men. I immediately advanced my regiment out of the woods, where I ordered them to lie down and open fire. The men behaved very well in this position, keeping up incessant and well-directed fire on the enemy for over two hours.

Owing to the rain and wet to which the guns had been exposed many of my men experienced great difficulty in firing them, and in many cases had to draw the charges before their guns were of any use. Fort Thompson, on our right, which I supposed to have no guns on the land side, opened on us with grape and canister from their guns as soon as {p.218} we got into position. We afterward found that they attempted to bring one of the guns on the water side of the battery to bear on our line but failed, probably from want of time. Finally I noticed the fire of the enemy’s right slackened, as I supposed from the success and advance of our left. I immediately ordered my own regiment forward and we had advanced but a short distance when the enemy turned, stopping only to give us one volley of musketry and a round of grape. The enemy retreated very precipitately from Fort Thompson as we entered, and I only succeeded in capturing six of them. I immediately raised the American flag on the parapet, to apprise the gunboats of our position.

By order of General Foster I left one company in the fort, selecting for that purpose Company B, and then marched my regiment forward on the county road to the railroad and up the railroad to the Trent River, where I halted them in a large field on the left. After remaining there a short time General Foster ordered my regiment to cross the river in the gunboat Delaware and other boats that he was using for that purpose, and to take possession of the rebel camp in the Fair Ground outside of New Berne. On reaching camp I found my men much exhausted by their severe labors since they had landed, but was pleased to find that there were comparatively few stragglers.

It pains me to close my report by informing you that my regiment lost 55 men in killed and wounded during the action, a list of whom I herewith transmit.*

THOS. G. STEVENSON, Colonel Twenty-fourth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers.

Capt. SOUTHARD HOFFMAN, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Embodied in statement on p. 211.

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No. 8.

Report of Col. Edwin Upton, Twenty-fifth Massachusetts Infantry.

HDQRS. TWENTY-FIFTH REGIMENT MASS. VOLS., New Berne, N. C.. March 17, 1862.

SIR: At about 6 a.m., of Friday, the 14th instant, I was ordered by General Foster to move from the bivouac occupied by my regiments during the night previous, and did so, following the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment. Proceeding along the main road about a mile I was ordered by General Foster to file to the right of the road, take position on the right of the 24th, and advance. The entire regiment had not cleared the road when the enemy opened fire from his artillery. I passed on to the position assigned me and advanced to the front some distance. Being desirous of ascertaining, if possible, the exact position of the enemy, I dispatched scouts to the right and front. They soon returned, reporting the enemy’s earthworks in front, with what appeared to be a three-gun battery directly on our right The enemy discovering our position and opening fire, we were exposed to a fire from the front and right, and at the same time a fire of shell was opened on us from the rear, which I supposed came from our own artillery or gunboats. We were thus in danger of being badly cut up, with no opportunity to retaliate. The fact being reported, I was ordered by General Foster to move to the support of the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts on the opposite side of the road. Moving in that {p.219} direction we arrived at the road, and were then ordered by General Foster to support our battery stationed on the road. Taking our position in column by division, we remained there until ordered by General Foster to deploy and charge on the enemy’s works. This was done, General Foster leading the charge, the enemy leaving at our approach. Passing into the works, the regiment was formed in line of battle, and I was ordered to move along the road in position for street firing. Having passed the enemy’s camp, we filed to the left of the road, flanking. I was ordered to advance in line cautiously, as General Parke’s brigade was expected to be on our left and front and General Reno to be turning the enemy’s right. We advanced slowly, receiving a fire of musketry, which was at first supposed to come from the other brigades. Deploying two companies as skirmishers, with orders to proceed with caution, they soon discovered a body of the enemy and opened fire upon them. The skirmishers having assembled, the regiment advanced, and the enemy, to the number of about 150, surrendered to General Foster. The general ordered them placed in charge of Company H, Captain Moulton, and then ordered me to proceed down the railroad, which I did, arriving in New Berne at about 5 p.m. Herewith is a list of the casualties, showing 4 killed and 16 wounded.*

In consequence of illness and exhaustion consequent upon the very fatiguing march of the previous day and the night exposure in the drenching rain I was deprived of the assistance of Major McCafferty and Adjutant Harkness, the former of whom was obliged to fall behind just before the close of the action, the latter being left by the road side during the march before the enemy was discovered.

I would again in the highest terms of praise mention the efficiency and bravery of Lieut. Col. A. B. R. Sprague as fully sustaining his former high reputation.

Very respectfully, yours,

EDWIN UPTON, Twenty-fifth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers.

Capt. SOUTHARD HOFFMAN, A. A. G., General Foster’s Brigade.

* Embodied in statement on p. 211.

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No. 9.

Report of Col. Horace C. Lee, Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Infantry.

HDQRS. TWENTY-SEVENTH REGIMENT MASS. VOLS., In Camp at New Berne, March 15, 1862.

I have the honor to submit the following report:

On Thursday, March 13, at the stated signal, we commenced landing troops, one company at a time (which was all the boat would accommodate), from each vessel-the Recruit and Ranger. Major Bartholomew was sent forward with the first company, and at 11 o’clock, four companies having landed, I went on shore and took command, leaving Lieutenant-Colonel Lyman to come forward with the balance. We marched up the road until night and then bivouacked as ordered and threw out pickets on our left flank, rear and right flank being protected by other regiments of the brigade. Our companies continued to arrive until midnight, when we had about 600 men. At daylight on Friday morning, hearing a rapid firing of musketry in front, I called in the pickets, ordered the men to fall in, and soon after, by order from General Foster, took up the line of march by flank in rear of the 25th. The {p.220} first intimation we had that we were near the enemy was from a shell thrown directly up the road, but which passed without injury to the right of us. We immediately, by General Foster’s orders, formed column by companies and forward into line, and advanced through the woods on the left of the road until we came in sight of the enemy, strongly intrenched directly in front. As soon as near enough to get a good range I gave the order to fire by wing and then by file, and continued in this manner, constantly cautioning the men to take deliberate aim before firing, until from the small amount of ammunition left I thought it best, not wishing to slacken the fire at all, to send to General Foster either for more ammunition or to be relieved. This I did by Captain Pendleton, of your staff, who had been with me from the first fire, and who rendered me good service in keeping the line unbroken. Not hearing from you, I sent Adjutant Bartlett, as we were then reduced to an average of 4 or 5 rounds, many of the men being out entirely. He returned with orders that we were to be relieved by the. Eleventh Connecticut and were then to fall back to the rear. As soon as the Eleventh Connecticut came up and were in position I ordered the men to cease firing and lie down. We soon after marched in good order to the rear, and had been there but a few moments when we heard cheering, and having formed again to advance, were met by an aide with orders to form in the fort, the enemy having retreated. My intention had been not to fall back, though the word came to me that we were to do so, but to merely continue lying ready for a charge, if necessary; but at the solicitation of several of my officers I did so. Having come up to the fort, we were at once ordered to follow the Twenty-third, which we did until we arrived at the burning bridge at New Berne. We were soon after taken across the river in boats and established in the camp just vacated by the Seventh North Carolina Regiment. From the position we occupied our loss in wounded is quite large, though fortunately but 5 men killed, which I attribute to the fact that the shot from the rifles and cannon of the enemy passed over our heads; two-thirds of the wounds, so far as I can learn, being caused by balls from smooth-bore muskets. I have not received the surgeon’s report, and cannot say for certain that this is so, but think it must be.

I might mention individual cases, as well among men as officers, who displayed unusual bravery and coolness, but where all did so well it is almost impossible, and perhaps impolitic, to do it. I can only say that with very few exceptions I was perfectly satisfied with the manner in which they obeyed my orders and stood up without shrinking to the most terrific fire.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. C. LEE, Colonel, Commanding Twenty-seventh Regiment Mass. Vols.

Capt. SOUTHARD HOFFMAN, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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No. 10.

Report of Brig. Gen. Jesse L. Reno, U. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade.

HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE, New Berne, March 16, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that in obedience to the orders of General Burnside I landed my brigade at the mouth of Slocum’s {p.221} Creek, some 16 miles from New Berne, and proceeded at once to advance toward the railroad, where we expected first to meet the rebels. After a march of about 4 miles we arrived at a long line of deserted intrenchments, the rebels having abandoned them shortly before. Here I met General Foster, and, agreeably to the general commanding’s orders, we awaited the arrival of the rest of the division. The general, soon coming up, ordered me to follow the railroad toward New Berne. The advance was continued until about 8 p.m., when the troops were ordered to bivouac. I was ordered by the general commanding to advance at daylight and attack the right of the rebel lines, but owing to the severe rain of the previous night I found that many of the muskets would not fire, so I ordered that all should discharge their load, drawing such as would not fire. After this my brigade moved forward along the railroad in the following order: Twenty-first Massachusetts, Fifty-first New York, Ninth New Jersey, and Fifty-first Pennsylvania. At about a quarter before 8 a.m. I heard General Foster’s brigade hotly engaged, and in a few minutes I saw a large number of the enemy apparently engaged in getting a gun to bear on the railroad. I ordered the skirmishers to fire upon them, at the same time ordering the Twenty-first Massachusetts forward into line. The enemy now opened a brisk fire upon us from near the-railroad, the skirmishers in advance replying briskly, and as soon as the right wing of the Twenty-first Massachusetts got into line I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Clark to charge and take the brick-kiln, which was gallantly executed.

In the mean time I ordered my aides to bring up the balance of my brigade and form in line to the left of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, placing the Fifty-first Pennsylvania in reserve, supporting the extreme left of my line. Owing to the thick fog it was almost impossible to see the rebels, and not knowing that their line extended beyond the railroad, after having ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Clark to advance along the inside of the enemy’s intrenchments, I returned across the railroad to bring up the rest of my brigade to his support, but finding the left wing of the Twenty-first Massachusetts and the Fifty-first New York hotly engaged in front and the enemy’s lines extending far beyond my extreme left, I found it necessary to attack them in front, and as the ground was quite uneven I directed the regiments to advance as near as possible under cover of the ridges and pick off the enemy whenever their heads appeared above their line of intrenchments.

In the mean time the Ninth New Jersey also came into line and opened a well-directed fire upon a two-gun battery only some 200 yards in front of them, and so accurate was their fire that the enemy could only occasionally fire their guns. The battle now became general along our whole line, and raged fiercely for about three and a half hours. The Fifty-first Pennsylvania was held in reserve during this time, and although exposed to a severe fire, Colonel Hartranft did not allow a single shot to be fired, but directed the men to lie down, and thus saved them from much loss.

It having been reported to me that the regiments engaged had expended nearly all their ammunition, I ordered Colonel Hartranft to send one wing of his regiment to relieve the Fifty-first New York, which had suffered very severely. As soon as they arrived I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Bell to pass the Fifty-first New York, deliver one volley, and then charge upon the enemy’s intrenchments. At the same time I sent orders to the Ninth New Jersey and the remainder of the Fifty-first Pennsylvania to charge. All this was gallantly executed, and the rebels fled precipitately from all their intrenchments. Some 50 prisoners {p.222} were captured in these works, many severely wounded. Upon reaching the rebel intrenchments I was rejoiced to see our flag waving along the entire line of the enemy’s works, General Parke’s brigade having previously stormed and captured their center batteries and General Foster’s their left.

At the commencement of the action I left Lieutenant-Colonel Clark with his right wing inside of the enemy’s intrenchments, ordering him to proceed along their lines toward their left, where General Foster’s brigade was engaged, intending to support him immediately, but owing to circumstances previously mentioned was unable to do so. I was, however, confident that he would be able to extricate his command should he meet overwhelming forces, and most gallantly did he do so; for coming unexpectedly upon a light battery of six pieces he charged and captured the entire battery, but was driven out by an overwhelming force of rebel infantry. I beg leave to refer the general commanding to his report of this most daring charge.

In this severely-contested battle both officers and soldiers behaved with distinguished gallantry and nobly sustained the honor of their respective regiments. It would make my report entirely too long to particularize the gallant conduct even of those officers and men who came under my own observation, but I desire that the reports and commendations of the regimental commanders be considered as part of my own.

It is with the deepest regret that I have to announce the death of First Lieutenant Stearns, acting adjutant of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, one of the most accomplished and gallant officers in the Army; of Chaplain Benton, of the Fifty-first New York, who was killed while nobly encouraging the men to do their duty, and of First Lieutenant Allen, of the same regiment, who was shot dead at the head of his company. Also Captain Johnson, mortally wounded, and Lieutenant Walker, of the Ninth New Jersey, who was killed in front of his company. Captain Frazer was wounded and captured in the battery taken by Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, but after it was retaken by the Fourth Rhode Island, and the rebels were retreating with him, he managed to keep in the rear, and drawing his revolver captured the three men left to guard him. Lieutenant-Colonel Potter, of the Fifty-first New York, was wounded early in the action, but he most gallantly continued with the regiment during the entire battle and rendered very important service. Major Le Gendre, of the same regiment; displayed most conspicuous courage until he fell severely wounded. Lieutenants Tryon, McKee, and Coddington, of the Fifty-first New York, also displayed conspicuous courage, and were all wounded, but not fatally. Of the Ninth New Jersey the following gallant officers were wounded, viz: Captains Middleton, McChesney, and Hufty.

I inclose herewith a complete list of the killed and wounded.* In the early part of the battle Lieutenant Reno, one of my aides, made a most daring reconnaissance of the enemy’s right, and first informed me of the extent of their lines. They had thirteen finished redans and five guns bearing on my brigade, and an almost impassable morass filled with fallen timber had to be passed over before reaching them. Captain Neill, assistant adjutant-general, was always with me when not carrying orders, and displayed conspicuous courage and coolness. Lieutenants Reno and Morris, aides, rendered highly important service and behaved most gallantly. Lieutenants Reed and Marsh, of the Signal Corps, acted as aides and did their duty well. Captain Ritchie, {p.223} acting commissary of subsistence, and Lieutenant Hall, acting brigade quartermaster, were present in the battle and behaved gallantly. The surgeons and chaplains of the different regiments did their duty nobly on the field of battle. I desire to return my thanks to Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, commanding the Twenty-first Massachusetts; to Colonel Ferrero, commanding Fifty-first New York; to Colonel Heckman, commanding Ninth New Jersey, and to Colonel Hartranft, commanding Fifty-first Pennsylvania, for the admirable manner in which they brought their regiments into line and for their gallantry on the field. Eight companies of the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Bell, were detailed to drag up six guns furnished by the Navy, and commanded by Lieutenant McCook, and one from the Cossack, commanded by Captain Bennett, who gallantly volunteered to man it. They succeeded in bringing up the guns, arriving in camp about 2 a.m. on the 14th instant. After almost incredible labor the guns were all brought into action and most gallantly served, but from the nature of the ground they were unable to join my brigade, but served with General Foster, who no doubt will do full, justice to their gallantry. The total loss in my brigade was 36 killed, 5 mortally wounded, and 160 more or less severely wounded.*

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. L. RENO, Brigadier-General, Commanding Second Brigade.

Capt. LEWIS RICHMOND, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Embodied in statement on p. 211.

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No. 11.

Report of Lieut. Col. Will-jam S. Clark, Twenty-first Massachusetts Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-FIRST MASS. VOLS., Camp Reno, New Berne, N. C., March 16, 1862.

CAPTAIN: About 9 o’clock on the morning of the 13th instant the Twenty-first Massachusetts Volunteers, 743 strong, landed at the mouth of Slocum’s Creek, and by order of General Reno advanced about 2 miles through the pine woods along the south bank of the river Neuse toward New Berne. Arriving out upon a large open field, the regiment stacked arms, to await the arrival of the general with the rest of the brigade. Company G, under Lieutenant Taylor, formed the advance guard, and discovered a short distance into the woods beyond the cleared space a large number of wooden barracks, which had been evacuated about two hours before by the rebel cavalry, whose equanimity had been disturbed by shells from the gunboats. An advance of 4 miles brought the regiment to Croatan, where we found a very extensive earthwork running at right angles to the highway

This being unoccupied by the enemy, the colors of the Twenty-first were placed upon the parapet and heartily cheered by officers and men. Near this work a halt of an hour was made for dinner, during which the pioneers tore up the track of the railroad connecting New Berne with Beaufort. From this point the regiment was ordered to move forward upon the railroad track, and Company D, under Lieutenant Barker, was sent forward as advance guard. About a mile of advance brought the regiment to a place where the highway crosses the railroad, {p.224} and a half a mile to the right of the latter, on the river Neuse, a deserted earthwork was discovered by Lieutenant Reno, aide-de-camp to the general. Company H, under Captain Frazer, with the colors, was detached from the regiment, and under charge of General Reno visited the work, and waving the Star-Spangled Banner, bearing the honorable inscription “Roanoke, February 8, 1862,” and the spotless white colors of Massachusetts, with the noble motto, “Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem,” gave three hearty cheers and hastily rejoined the advancing regiment. Proceeding along the railroad about a mile farther, the advance guard came upon a building containing several tents, a complete set of artillery harness, and a few boxes of ammunition for 6 and 12 pounder guns. Lieutenant Barker, with Adjutant Stearns, then made a reconnaissance to the right of the railroad, and found an extensive encampment, also recently evacuated by rebel cavalry, where were large quantities of clothing, commissary stores, and hospital stores, over which a guard was placed. One mile farther on the regiment bivouacked for the night, throwing out a picket guard of two companies-on the front and left, the right being guarded by the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers and the rear by the Fifty-first New York Volunteers. The rain, which commenced to fall about 10 o’clock of the 13th instant, continued in showers through the night, and on the morning of the 14th mist and fog enveloped everything. Notwithstanding every precaution on the part of both officers and men very many of the rifles were rendered quite unserviceable by the moisture. In some the powder became too wet to ignite, and in very many of the Enfield rifled muskets the rammers were almost immovable from the swelling of the stocks. It is a great defect in this weapon that the friction of the wood along the whole length of the rammer is relied upon to keep it in place, since it is quite impossible that the rammers be well secured when the musket is dry and sufficiently loose for service when wet. It is a noteworthy evidence of discipline and courage on the part of the men that more than 50 went into the battle having only their bayonets to work with and it was very hard to hear them in the thickest of the fight, while standing helpless in their places, beg their officers to give them a serviceable musket, and to see them eagerly seize the weapons of their comrades as fast as they fell beneath the leaden storm from the enemy’s earthworks. Private Sheehan, of Company E, left his company to secure the musket of a man whom he saw killed in Company K, and when asked by Major Rice why he did not take the gun of one who had been shot in his own company replied that it was like his own, good for nothing.

About 7 o’clock a.m. General Reno ordered his brigade forward, the Twenty-first Massachusetts in the van. The advance guard, consisting of Company G, was led by Corporal Stratton, who deserves much credit for his coolness and intrepidity in pushing on through swamps and thickets and along the track of the railroad both on the 13th and 14th instant, every moment exposed to be fired upon by a concealed foe. Adjutant Stearns directed the movement of the first two squads of the advance guard in the most admirable manner during the entire march from the place of landing to the field of battle. As it was known that the defenses of the enemy were thrown across the highway to the right, of the railroad, the regiment proceeded cautiously through the woods on the left of the railroad and parallel with it. After advancing about half a mile a locomotive was seen coming down the road, and General Reno at once ordered us to file to the left and advance into the forest, which was no longer a level, open pine wood, {p.225} but the ground was broken into hills separated by deep ravines, and the timber was of oak, “white wood” and other deciduous trees, and of the largest description. The First Brigade, under General Foster, having advanced on the highway, came first upon the enemy, and the battle was now raging fiercely upon our right along the whole line of the earthworks from the river to the railroad. The smoke from the rapid firing of more than thirty cannon and several thousand muskets was driven down upon us by the wind, and mingling with the dense fog, so completely shut out the light of day (never more anxiously longed for) that it was impossible to derive any information respecting the position of the rebels except where it was indicated by the noise of battle.

Our skirmishers now reported that we were opposite the right flank of a battery resting at this point on a deep cut in the railroad, and upon several buildings and brick walls in Wood’s brick-yard, which was across the road from our position a few hundred yards distant. The regiment was at once formed in line of battle facing the railroad, and Company C, Capt. J. M. Richardson, was ordered forward to reconnoiter. As rapidly as the difficult nature of the ground would allow the other companies formed on the right by file into line, and as soon as the remaining companies of the right wing were ready I moved forward with the colors to the support of Company C, who were already engaging the rebel riflemen in the trench upon the opposite side of the deep cut on the railroad.

At the moment of their arrival at the cut the enemy were busily engaged in removing ammunition from the cars, which had just come in from New Berne with re-enforcements. At the first volley from Company C the enemy, in great astonishment, fled from the road and the trench to a ravine in the rear of the brick-yard. General Reno now ordered the color-bearer, Sergeant Bates, to plant his flag upon the roof of a building within the enemy’s intrenchments. He immediately rushed forward several rods in advance of his company, and, amid a perfect shower of Minie balls clambered to the roof and waved the Star-Spangled Banner presented to the regiment by the ladies of Worcester.

At this moment the noblest of us all, my brave, efficient, faithful adjutant, First Lieut. F. A. Stearns, Company I, fell mortally wounded, the first among the 25 patriotic volunteers of the Twenty-first who laid down their lives for their country at the battle of New Berne. As he was cheering on his men to charge upon the enemy across the railroad he was struck by a ball from an Enfield rifle fired from a redan on the right and rear of the central breastwork, on which we were advancing. The fatal missile entered his left side, and passing through his lungs went out just below the collar-bone on the right breast. Corporal Welch, of Company C, noticing his fall, returned and remained with him during the battle. He lived about two and a half hours, nearly unconscious from the loss of blood, and died without a struggle a little before noon.

General Reno, with Companies C, A, B, and H, of the right wing, dashed across the railroad, up the steep bank, and over the rifle trench on the top into the brick-yard. Here we were subjected to a most destructive cross-fire from the enemy on both sides of the railroad, and lost a large number of men in a very few minutes. The general, supposing we had completely flanked the enemy’s works, returned across {p.226} the road to bring up the rest of his brigade, but just at this time a tremendous fire of musketry and artillery was opened from the redans, hitherto unseen, and which were nine in number, extending from the railroad more than a mile to the right into the forest.

The general being now obliged to devote his attention to the enemy in front of his brigade, ordered the left wing of the Twenty-first, under command of Major Rice, not to cross the railroad, but to continue firing upon the rebel infantry in the first two redans, with whom they were already engaged. These consisted of the Thirty-third North Carolina and the Sixteenth North Carolina Regiments, and were the best-armed and fought the most gallantly of any of the enemy’s forces. Their position was almost impregnable so long as their left flank, resting on the railroad, was defended, and they kept up an incessant fire for three hours, until their ammunition was exhausted and the remainder of the rebel forces had retreated from that portion of their works lying between the river and the railroad.

Having been ordered into the brick-yard and left there with my colors and the four companies above named, and finding it impossible to remain there without being cut to pieces, I was compelled either to charge upon Captain Brem’s battery of flying artillery or to retreat without having accomplished anything to compensate for the terrible loss sustained in reaching this point. Accordingly I formed my handful of men, about 200 in number, in line, the right resting on the breastwork of the enemy, and commenced firing upon the men and horses of the first piece. Three men and two horses having fallen, and the other gunners showing signs of uneasiness, I gave the command, “Charge bayonets,” and went in to the first gun. Reaching it I had the pleasure of mounting upon the first of the New Berne guns surrendered to the “Yankees.” It was a 6-pounder field piece, brought from Fort Macon, and marked U. S. Leaving this in the hands of Captain Walcott and Private John Dunn, of Company B, who cut away the horses and attempted to load-and turn it upon the enemy, I proceeded to the second gun, some 300 paces from the brick-yard.

By this time the three regiments of rebel infantry, who had retreated from the breastwork to a ravine in the rear when we entered the brickyard, seeing that we were so few and received no support, rallied and advanced upon us. The Thirty-fifth and Thirty-seventh North Carolina Regiments, supported by the Seventh North Carolina, came up from the ravine in splendid style with their muskets on the right shoulder and halted. Most fortunately, or rather providentially, for us, they remained undecided for a minute or two, and then resolved on a movement which saved us from destruction. Instead of giving us a volley at once, they first hesitated and then charged upon us without firing. I instantly commanded my men to spring over the parapet and ditch in front and retreat to the railroad, keeping as close as possible to the ditch. As the enemy could not fire upon us to any advantage until they reached the parapet, nearly all of those who obeyed my order escaped unharmed, though thousands of bullets whistled over us. On the railroad I found Colonel Rodman, with the Fourth Rhode Island, waiting for orders, and informed him of the situation of things in the intrenchments of the enemy, and urged him to advance at once and charge upon their flank, as I had done. Soon after Colonel Harland, with the Eighth Connecticut, came up, and then the two regiments advanced along the railroad to the brick-yard and charged by wing. As soon as the enemy saw them within their lines they instantly retired again to the ravine without firing a gun. It is some satisfaction {p.227} to those who were obliged to retreat from the battery after once driving the enemy from it that no one of the five brass pieces stationed in this part of their works was ever fired by them after our charge.

Among the incidents of the day perhaps the following may not be out of place here: Capt. J. D. Frazer, of Company H, was wounded in the right arm just before charging, and dropped his sword. He, however, instantly picked it up with his left hand and led on his men with the colors. At the time of the retreat from the battery he was unable to clear the ditch and fell into the water. As soon as the rebels discovered him they ordered him to get up, took him back over the parapet, and removing his sword, placed a guard of three men over him. When his captors in their turn retreated again he was unable or unwilling to move as rapidly as they, and when he had detained his guard sufficiently long to permit him to attempt it, he drew his revolver and declared he would shoot the first one who stirred. They surrendered to him and were delivered over to the Fourth Rhode Island as prisoners of war. The lieutenant to whom Captain Frazer gave his sword was also captured and the sword returned to its rightful owner. Captain Frazer, before the close of the fight, was again in command of his company. Private J. A. Miller, of Company A, in clambering over the parapet in the retreat, dropped his rifle into the ditch, and rather than leave his pet remained searching for it until captured. He was ordered to the rear of the enemy with a guard, and as the bullets were rather numerous in the air, he laid himself down between two logs and forgot to get up when his captors retreated.

Sergt. A. J. Weatherby, of Company B, was ordered by me to take care of a prisoner captured in the charge, and when obliged to retreat he did not forsake the rebel, but dragging him by the collar over the parapet and through the ditch, compelled him to double-quick with the “Yankees,” and after the battle delivered him over to me in good condition. As soon as my men could be collected and the charges drawn from the rifles which had been wet in the ditch I returned along the railroad to rejoin the left wing of my regiment, which, after fighting with great steadiness and effect for three hours in front of the first two redans, were just rushing over the fallen timber of the almost impassable swamp intervening between them and the retreating enemy.

The conduct of my entire command, so far as I can learn, during both the march and the engagement, was worthy of great commendation, and has received it in the assurance of our brigadier that he is satisfied with us.

Having been ordered to occupy the captured works of the enemy, my regiment has been diligently engaged in collecting the arms, ammunition, equipments, clothing, tents, and commissary stores abandoned by them in their precipitate retreat. The prisoners taken by the different regiments have been placed on board the propeller Albany, under charge of Company E, Captain Bradford. There are about 260 of the well prisoners, including 12 officers, and about 40 wounded rebels, who are cared for by their own surgeons and nurses. The dead have been carefully collected and buried under the direction of Acting Brigade Quartermaster Hall. The killed and mortally wounded of my regiment number 25 and the other casualties 31, besides many cases of slight injuries and narrow escapes. The corrected list is herewith inclosed.*

During the engagement the killed and wounded were rapidly carried to the rear by the members of the band, under direction of Acting {p.228} Brigade Surgeon Cutter. The men deserve great credit for their attention to duty while their comrades were falling around them, no one attempting to leave the ranks to assist the wounded. This order they obeyed the more cheerfully, because they were certain that Surgeon Cutter, with his hospital corps, was attending to this duty in their very midst. Assistant Surgeon Warren and Hospital Steward Davis have labored with unceasing zeal to render the wounded comfortable since the battle, and their kind care and skillful treatment will never be forgotten by the regiment.

Hoping this report of the part performed by the Twenty-first Massachusetts Volunteers at the memorable battle of New Berne may be satisfactory, I am, captain, very respectfully, yours,

W. S. CLARK, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Twenty-first Mass. Vols.

Capt. EDWARD M. NEILL, Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Brigade.

* Embodied in statement on p. 211.

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No. 12.

Report of Lieut. Col. Charles A. Heckman, Ninth New Jersey Infantry.

HDQRS. NINTH REGIMENT NEW JERSEY VOLS., Camp Reno, March 15, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report the position and part taken by the Ninth New Jersey Volunteers in the action near New Berne, the 14th instant:

At 7 a.m. I received orders from you to form line on the left of the Fifty-first New York Volunteers and follow them up the railroad track toward New Berne. Having arrived within about a mile of the enemy’s works we were ordered to file to the left into the timber and approach them under cover, and by the right flank we proceeded until within about 800 yards of their batteries, when on order I formed the regiment into line; but not being able, as I believed, to see the whole of the Fifty-first New York Volunteers, and knowing them to be in the advance, I threw two companies from right to rear in order to avoid firing into their ranks. With the four remaining companies of the right wing I advanced to within about 500 yards and opened a brisk fire on the redan immediately in front, and on another obliquely to the right, adjoining the railroad track. On discovering a third redan obliquely to the left, supported by rifle pits on its right flank, I threw the left to rear, the right of that wing resting on the colors, to avoid a flank attack. I then ordered the advance and to take ground to the left, and on gaining sufficient ground brought the two right companies into line. The whole line advanced, firing until within about 200 yards of the works, pouring a rapid fire into them, the extreme left gaining ground until upon a direct line. Having been firing a long time (about three hours), I examined several boxes and found the ammunition was getting low. I sent a lieutenant, informing you of the fact, and received an order to charge. We charged, and under difficulties (without securing a shot) planted our colors on two redans, capturing two officers and several privates, and a rebel flag with this inscription, “Beaufort Plow-Boys.” It is in a good state of preservation, and will be kept so by the Ninth, if agreeable to you.

All of the officers and men having performed their duty it is hard {p.229} for me to particularize. I regret the necessity to add that Lieut. William L. Walker, of Company H, was killed while faithfully discharging his duties as an officer, and also the loss of the services, which I hope is only for a time, of Captains Middleton, McChesney, and Hufty, who were wounded whilst gallantly cheering their men on to victory.

In addition to the above I report the loss of 3 privates killed and 55 wounded, making in all 4 killed in action, 58 wounded; making an aggregate of 62.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. A. HECKMAN, Lieutenant-Colonel, Comdg. Ninth Regt. New Jersey Vols.

General J. L. RENO, Commanding Second Brigade, Department of North Carolina.

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No. 13.

Report of Col. Edward Ferrero, Fifty-first New York Infantry.

HDQRS. SHEPARD RIFLES, FIFTY-FIRST REGT. N. Y. VOLS., Near New Berne, N. C., March 17, 1862.

GENERAL: The regiment under my command landed from the steamers Lancer and Pioneer on the 13th instant about 14 miles below New Berne, N. C. Great difficulty was experienced in landing, on account of the enemy’s obstructions by driving spiles, &c., and having finally effected it (my color-bearer being the first to plant the Union colors on the shore) I formed the regiment and took up our line of march, when, having proceeded some 8 miles and night coming on, I ordered the regiment to bivouac in the woods on the line of the railroad leading to New Berne. The night was very stormy. Most all of my command, being exposed, were saturated by the rain. At 6 a.m. the following morning (14th) I took my line of march up the railroad until within 300 yards of a collection of brick-kilns, where Lieutenant Reno brought me an order from you to turn off in the woods to the left and form in rear of the Twenty-first Massachusetts Regiment. Upon arriving at this point I halted my regiment and threw out Company D as skirmishers. Finding that we could not engage the enemy in this position the lieutenant-colonel and myself proceeded to make a reconnaissance in advance, parallel with the railroad, a distance of some hundred yards. The ground here was undulating, forming a number of deep ravines. We discovered the enemy’s batteries and rifle pits extending a distance of a mile and a half in front of which were deep ravines obstructed by an almost impassable abatis.

Immediately upon the enemy discovering us as we were surveying their works on the brow of the hill they opened a heavy fire upon us, wounding Lieutenant-Colonel Potter. Immediately returned to the position occupied by my regiment and ordered them forward to the summit of the hill, which position we took, firing and lying down in ravine to reload. A continuous fire was then kept up on the enemy, which they returned with great vigor, making sad havoc in our ranks. My loss at this point was very severe, owing to the exposed position of the troops when advancing to fire. The action continued for about three hours, when, we having expended nearly all of our ammunition, I applied for re-enforcements, when the Fifty-first Pennsylvania Regiment {p.230} was ordered to our support. They having discharged one volley I was ordered to charge, which the men executed gallantly, planting the colors on the ramparts. The enemy fled in great confusion toward New Berne.

The unflinching courage displayed by all of my command cannot be too highly praised, each one vieing with the other to make our victory sure and complete. To particularize those who behaved with gallantry would be unjust where all did so well. The following officers, however, I cannot avoid noticing: Lieut. Col. R. B. Potter, who was wounded in the early part of the action, behaved with great gallantry and coolness. Maj. C. W. Le Gendre, who was dangerously wounded, is deserving of especial notice for his gallantry, contributing no little to our success. Capt. David R. Johnson, of Company I, who was severely wounded, displayed great bravery, Lieutenants Tryon and McKee, of Companies B and C, who were wounded, are also deserving of especial notice.

The bearers of my colors (Sergeants Poppe and Howard) I must also mention, their actions proving them to be possessed of great courage, holding aloft the colors under a very hot fire.

Among the dead I cannot overlook the noble conduct of the Rev. O. N. Benton; my chaplain. In him we have to mourn the loss of a most useful man, one who encouraged my men by word and deed on all occasions, and who did not regard his own life while serving his country. Lieut. George D. Allen, of Company I, who was instantly killed, also conducted himself with great gallantry.

I received an order to march my regiment to the right of the enemy’s battery for rest. After remaining there some twenty minutes Lieutenant McCook, of the Marine Artillery, having charge of six howitzers (three of them captured from the enemy), with ammunition, which were to be sent to New Berne, I sent the regiment a distance of a quarter of a mile below to bring up cars for their transportation. Having placed them upon the cars they drew them to the bridge, which upon their arrival was found to have been burned by the enemy after fleeing across, as well as a portion of the city, which was still burning. Here I received an order to bivouac in a corn field to the right of the railroad, where I made my men as comfortable as the circumstances would allow.

I herewith transmit a list of killed and wounded and missing.*

I have the honor to be, general, your very obedient servant,

EDWARD FERRERO, Colonel Fifty-first New York Volunteers.

General J. L. RENO, Commanding Second Brigade, Department of North Carolina.

* Embodied in statement on p. 211.

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No. 14.

Report of Col. John F. Hartranft, Fifty-first Pennsylvania Infantry.

HDQRS. FIFTY-FIRST REGT. PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEERS, In Cantonment near New Berne, N. C., March 16, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report for the information of the general commanding the brigade that after landing three companies of my regiment at Slocum’s Landing on the 13th instant I was ordered to follow the Ninth New Jersey. Leaving Lieut. Col. Thomas S. Bell at {p.231} the place of disembarkation to bring forward the remainder of the regiment as soon as landed, I moved forward after the Ninth up the beach. Finding Captain Bennett’s gun (from the steamer Cossack) manned by an insufficient force, I made a detail of my men, who dragged it to the point where we left the river and there left it, with directions to Captain Bennett to apply to Lieutenant-Colonel Bell for assistance when he came up. I soon after overtook Lieutenant McCook, U. S. Navy, with his sir-gun howitzer battery from the gunboats, and being so ordered by General Burnside detailed a company to assist in bringing it forward. I then pushed on with the brigade, and bivouacked with it on the railroad about 6 p.m. As soon as the remaining seven companies were disembarked they were marched forward by Lieutenant-Colonel Bell. On reaching Captain Bennett’s gun he made the necessary detail to bring it on. He soon after overtook Lieutenant McCook’s battery, whose men were very much exhausted, and receiving an order there from General Reno through you to render every assistance in bringing them to the front, took charge of the guns with his seven companies and the one I had left with them.

The ground, before reaching the county road, being very miry, and after reaching it exceedingly heavy, the labor was necessarily very severe and their progress slow. He proceeded with the battery and Bennett’s gun, which had overtaken him, until 9.30 o’clock p.m., when an orderly that he had sent on to General Burnside returned with a message that he might bivouac if he thought best, but to have the guns up early in the morning. As the men seemed utterly unable to proceed without some rest, they bivouacked until 1 and 2 o’clock a.m. He then moved them forward and reported his arrival with all the guns to Generals Burnside and Reno at their headquarters at 4 a.m. The companies were again bivouacked until between 6 and 7 a.m., when, in accordance with General Reno’s order, they united with me on the railroad. The movement on the enemy commenced almost immediately afterward, and in my position I proceeded up the railroad, and when near the enemy’s works filed to the left into the woods with the brigade. I received the order to proceed to the extreme left and support the Ninth New Jersey and resist any attack of the enemy from their works on the left. The Ninth was soon engaged, and under a very heavy fire I brought my regiment into line, supporting the Ninth with my right wing and with my left covering the approaches from that quarter. My regiment remained in this position for some time, and at this point several of my men were wounded, though I sheltered them as much as possible by causing them to lie down. I sent my skirmishers to my immediate left, with orders not to fire, but merely to reconnoiter. They reported to me that the works of the enemy, of the same character as those in our front, extended as far as they could see. The Ninth moving farther to the front, I moved my regiment forward and farther to the left, so as to maintain the interval of about 100 feet between my regiment and the Ninth.

I desire to mention here that Lieutenant-Colonel Heckman, commanding the Ninth, was most persevering and energetic in the management of his regiment throughout the engagement. While in this position I received the order from General Reno to send my left wing to the assistance of the Fifty-first New York (engaged near me on the fight), whose ammunition was running short. The left wing, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Bell, immediately marched on the double-quick to where the Fifty-first New York was engaged, and was formed in line on the crest of the small hill about 125 yards from the enemy, {p.232} who were firing from behind their breastworks. After delivering a round, which had the effect of causing a slacking of the enemy’s fire, General Reno ordered the firing to cease, and directed Lieutenant-Colonel Bell to charge with his companies on the works of the enemy. This was immediately done with loud cheers, and struggling through the abatis and marsh that obstructed the approach through the ravine soon reached the battery and planted their colors inside. The enemy retreated while the charge was being made, leaving the two guns in the battery still loaded. The right wing immediately advanced and joined the left in the battery. The regiment was then formed and marched with the brigade up the railroad and bivouacked for the night.

During the engagement 9 of my men were wounded.

It is with pleasure that I am able to make particular mention of Lieutenant-Colonel Bell, who so gallantly led the charge of the left wing on the enemy’s works. I also mention with pleasure the services rendered by Lieutenants Fair, Beaver, and Carman, who were very active from the time of landing, and especially during the engagement. They had been previously detailed to act as aides to me. Lieutenant Bible, my adjutant, was also very active and efficient. All my officers throughout the trying labors of the day of landing and during the engagement were most efficient, and by their patience, coolness, and gallantry inspired their men with confidence. The conduct of the men in forming and maintaining their line of battle under a heavy cross-fire and their gallantry in unhesitatingly charging the works of the enemy over obstacles deemed to be impassable are worthy of all praise. The band of my regiment, which was acting as an ambulance corps, were very efficient in removing my wounded as well as a number of the wounded of the Fifty-first New York and Ninth New Jersey. In conclusion I may say that I have every reason to be fully satisfied with the conduct and discipline of my regiment.

I am, captain, very respectfully, yours,

J. F. HARTRANFT, Colonel, Comdg. Fifty-first Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.

Capt. EDWARD M. NEILL, Asst. Adjt. Gen. Second Brigade, Coast Division.

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No. 15.

Report of Brig. Gen. John G. Parke, U. S. Army, commanding Third Brigade.

HDQRS. THIRD BRIG., DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, Carolina City, March 22, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor respectfully to submit the following report of the operations of the troops under my command from the moment the signal for landing was displayed on the steamer of the commanding general on the morning of the 13th instant to the evening of the 14th when New Berne was taken:

My brigade is made up of the following regiments: Fourth Rhode Island, colonel commanding I. P. Rodman; Eighth Connecticut, colonel commanding Edward Harland; Fifth Rhode Island Battalion, major commanding John Wright; Eleventh Connecticut, lieutenant-colonel {p.233} commanding Charles Mathewson. At the signal the light-draught steamer Union, with the Fourth Rhode Island Regiment on board, and the tug-boat Alert, with about twenty small boats in tow with detachments from the other regiments, steamed for the shore at the mouth of Slocum’s Creek to make a landing at the point indicated by the general commanding in person. Finding obstructions in the mouth of the creek the steamer was unable to reach the bank, and the men were landed in small boats; an operation consuming much time. The men were immediately formed on their respective colors, and as the several regiments were landed they took up their line of march, following for some distance up the right bank of the Neuse River to a point where a company of the enemy’s cavalry had been posted on advance-guard duty. Here the road leaves the river, and after passing one or two farm-houses in the pine woods it strikes the main county road leading from Beaufort to New Berne. This we followed for a short distance, and soon came to an extensive line of intrenchments crossing the road and extending to the railroad. This was entirely abandoned by the enemy. Here the railroad crosses the county road at an acute angle, and as the two roads continue on to New Berne in close proximity, the main command was divided. My brigade, by the order of the general commanding, followed General Foster on the county road, while General Reno marched up the railroad. Near nightfall we reached the second crossing of these roads, and as the command continued on in the same order, General Reno’s brigade occupied the left. The march was kept up until after dark, when orders were received to halt and bivouac for the night. The regiments were then placed in position on the road-side. The roads generally were in bad order, and the men marched in many localities through water and mud. In addition heavy showers fell at intervals during the day and night, and although the men had their overcoats and blankets the bivouac was extremely trying.

On the following morning, the 14th, the brigade was under arms and ready for the march soon after daylight. Before starting I detailed, by order of the general commanding, the Eleventh Connecticut Regiment to relieve one of General Reno’s regiments in bringing up the boat howitzers and guns which had arrived during the night. Soon the whole command was in motion, my brigade following the guns which were directly behind General Foster, while General Reno moved up the railroad. It was not long before the advance had engaged the enemy, and it was soon found that in the attack we would be exposed to a flank fire from heavy artillery as well as from field artillery and musketry in our front. The country is generally level and smooth and covered with a growth of pine and occasional clumps of undergrowth, the whole being styled “open piney woods.” On the field in front of the enemy this character of ground extends from the river-to the vicinity of the railroad, where it becomes broken into shallow hollows and drains, crossing the railroad and running off to the left. Owing to the dense fog that prevailed but little could be seen, although the timber in front of the enemy had all been felled.

As before stated, my brigade followed General Foster’s up the county toad directly in rear of the howitzers. When the head of the column had nearly reached the edge of the woods, and General Foster’s brigade was being placed in position and engaging the enemy, the general commanding directed me to file to the left and take up a position from which I could support either General Foster or General Reno when the occasion required. I directed the brigade through the timber, and {p.234} guided by the fire of the enemy kept a course nearly parallel to his lines.

After passing General Foster’s left and when the head of the column had approached within a short distance of the railroad I halted the brigade and being exposed to a fire of both artillery and musketry, the regiments were placed in the hollow under as good cover as the ground furnished, and skirmishers were deployed just on the edge of the plateau to observe the enemy. An aide was then sent to the general commanding informing him of my position and that the ground ahead appeared very difficult. The drains spread into a swamp and the timber was felled, making the ground almost impassable.

Before I received a reply from the general commanding the colonel of the Fourth Rhode Island Regiment, finding his regiment too much exposed, moved it over to the railroad, the embankment affording good cover. While in this position I found that the fire in our front was increasing in intensity, and soon discovered some of our men, a portion of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, of General Reno’s brigade, were forced to abandon a position they had attained inside the enemy’s intrenchments. Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, commanding the Twenty-first Massachusetts, meeting Colonel Rodman, of the Fourth Rhode Island, informed him that he had been in the work, and assured him of the feasibility of again taking the intrenchments. Lieutenant Lydig, one of my aides, then made an examination of the entrance to the intrenchments by the way of the railroad, and finding it quite practicable, so reported it to Colonel Rodman, who assumed the responsibility and at once prepared for the charge. Lieutenant Hill, my other aide, reported immediately the state of affairs. Being thus in position to turn the flank of the intrenchments resting on the railroad and brick-yard, and having just received orders from the general commanding that “we must flank the battery ahead,” I approved the course of Colonel Rodman and at once ordered the Eighth Connecticut and Fifth Rhode Island Regiments to his support. Colonel Rodman reports:

I then gave the order to charge. Passing quickly by the rifle pits (redoubts on our left flank), which opened on us with little injury, we entered in rear of their intrenchments, and the regiment in a gallant manner carried gun after gun, until the whole nine brass field pieces of their front were in our possession, with carriages, caissons, horses, &c., the enemy sullenly retiring, firing only three guns from the front and three others from the fort (Thompson) on their left, which happily passed over our heads.

The Eighth Connecticut and Fifth Rhode Island followed immediately in the rear and in support of the Fourth Rhode Island. We thus broke the enemy’s center and drove him from his intrenched position between the railroad and the river. These regiments were immediately formed in line, and were soon joined by the Eleventh Connecticut, the remaining regiment of the brigade. This regiment, being engaged in bringing up the naval howitzers and guns, became detached front the brigade, and by the order of the general commanding was assigned temporarily to the command of Brigadier-General Foster, commanding the First Brigade, and I respectfully refer you to his report of their operations as well as to that of the lieutenant-colonel commanding.

Although now in possession of the entire work of the enemy between the railroad and river, the heavy firing on our left and beyond the railroad proved that General Reno’s brigade was still hotly engaging the enemy. Much of the enemy’s fire was directed upon us. I ordered the Fifth Rhode Island Battalion and Eighth Connecticut Regiment to advance cautiously and ascertain by skirmishers the ground still occupied {p.235} by the enemy. The brigade quartermaster and commissary, Capt. J. N. King, then reported to me that the enemy still occupied rifle pits along-side the railroad and back of the brick-yard and a series of redoubts extending beyond the railroad and in General Reno’s front. I then had the Fourth Rhode Island Regiment brought up, and ordered the colonel to drive the enemy from his position. This order was executed in a most gallant manner. Although exposed to a heavy and severe fire, killing and wounding most valuable officers and men, the regiment charged the enemy in flank, while a simultaneous charge was made by General Reno in front, thus driving the enemy from his last stronghold.

The brigade then marched directly up the railroad toward New Berne. As we approached it was soon evident, from the dense columns of smoke, that the bridge over the Trent and the city had been fired. By direction of the commanding general I left the railroad at the county-road crossing, and continued up the county road, to secure, if possible, that bridge over the Trent. Before reaching the bridge I received an order to halt the brigade and select ground for a bivouac. In our immediate vicinity I found three encampments just abandoned-by the enemy. They attempted to burn their tents, quarters, and stores, but owing to their hasty retreat they only partially succeeded. The fire was soon checked, and I secured good quarters, tents, and shelter for the entire brigade. Property of different kinds-arms, horses, camp equipage, horse equipments, and one caisson-were here captured. I directed the regimental quartermasters to make an inventory of the property and hand it to the brigade quartermaster.

In concluding this report I take great pleasure in expressing my thanks to every officer and soldier in the brigade. During the hard and fatiguing march of the 13th and the trying bivouac of that night not a murmur was heard. On the morning of the 14th all seemed as fresh and as ready as if they had just left the most comfortable encampment. All were under fire, and the officers seemed proud of the men they were leading and the men showed they had full confidence in their officers.

For the details of the movements of the regiments I have respectfully to refer you to the reports of the regimental commanders, to which are appended lists of the killed and wounded. I mourn the loss of the gallant dead and the wounded have my heart-felt sympathy.

My personal staff, Capt. Charles T. Gardner, assistant adjutant-general; Capt. John N. King, brigade quartermaster and commissary; and Lieuts. M. Asbury Hill and Philip M. Lydig, jr., volunteer aides, were indefatigable in their exertions and rendered most valuable aid and assistance. They conveyed orders, brought timely reports, and made reconnaissances of the enemy, and although at times greatly exposed, I am happy to report they all escaped untouched. Acting Brigade Surgeon Rivers entered upon his duties immediately on the commencement of the action and remained on the field throughout the day and night and was unremitting in his care of the wounded.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. G. PARKE, Brigadier-General Volunteers.

Capt. LEWIS RICHMOND, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Department of North Carolina.

{p.236}

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No. 16.

Report of Col. Edward Harland, Eighth Connecticut Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS EIGHTH CONNECTICUT REGIMENT.

CAPTAIN: I herewith submit a report of the movements of the Eighth Regiment of Connecticut Volunteers during the engagement with the forces of the enemy near New Berne on the 14th of March, 1862.

At about 7 a.m. the regiment left the woods where they had bivouacked the night before. In accordance with orders from General Parke I conducted the regiment along the road in the direction of the rebel battery, following the Fourth Rhode Island Regiment. After proceeding for about a mile in this direction we turned to the left and approached through the woods the right of the principal battery; On approaching the edge of the woods in front of the intrenchments of the enemy I received orders from General Parke to remain there with the regiment until further orders. Afterward, being ordered to engage the enemy, I threw forward skirmishers preparatory to advancing in line. Our skirmishers being driven in and it being impossible to advance in this direction, I joined the Fourth Rhode Island, who were then on the railroad, and endeavored, if possible, to turn the enemy’s right. We entered the battery in the rear of the brick-yard and found that the enemy had just abandoned it. I formed the regiment in line between the rebel breastworks and the woods and sent skirmishers into the woods. Finding that a direct advance in that direction would bring the regiment in contact with portions of General Foster’s brigade, I so reported to General Parke, who ordered me to move more to the left, to the assistance of the Fifth Rhode Island. I filed through the woods, and when we arrived at the railroad the enemy were in full retreat in the direction of New Berne. The regiment then moved toward New Berne and occupied barracks on the right bank of the Trent. Considerable property was taken that had been abandoned by the enemy, though an attempt, partially successful, had been made to destroy it. Lieutenant Alexander, regimental quartermaster, has furnished Captain King, brigade quartermaster, with an inventory of all the property found.

Throughout the day the officers and soldiers of the regiment, though most of them were there under fire for the first time, behaved with commendable coolness and bravery.*

EDWARD HARLAND, Colonel, Comdg. Eighth Regiment Conn. Vols.

Capt. CHARLES T. GARDNER, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Third Brigade, Dept. of North Carolina.

* Nominal list of casualties reports 2 men killed and 1 officer (Capt. Charles L. Upham) and 3 men wounded.

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No. 17.

Report of Lieut. Col. Charles Mathewson, Eleventh Connecticut Infantry.

ELEVENTH REGIMENT CONNECTICUT VOLUNTEERS.

SIR: On the morning of the 13th the Eleventh Regiment Connecticut Volunteers landed in small boats from the steamer Louisiana, the {p.237} schooner Eva Bell, and the barges Shrapnel and Grapeshot, and immediately began the march toward New Berne, following the troops who had preceded them. They bivouacked at night, and upon the morning of the 14th, according to order, continued the march, dragging the guns of the Marine Artillery. Owing to the narrowness and the bad condition of the road the progress was slow, and the immense number of troops obstructing the passage caused the companies to become somewhat separated. Upon arriving before the enemy the howitzers were brought into battery by the companies having them in charge. In the absence of orders each company, as it left the guns, fell to the rear and reformed, but owing to a delay of fifteen or twenty minutes in bringing up the last guns the companies arriving first fell back and to the left and formed line of battle. Company C coming up last, and unable after leaving their guns to find the regiment, took position to the right of the Marine Artillery and on the left of the Massachusetts Twenty-fourth. (The denomination of the Massachusetts regiment may be incorrect.)

When the engagement was somewhat advanced the Eleventh Connecticut was ordered to relieve the Massachusetts Twenty-seventh. They formed line of battle 30 paces in advance of them and retained the position until the charge which carried the work was made, when they pushed forward, passed the breastworks, and formed in rear of the Connecticut Eighth. Meanwhile Company C, which had not rejoined the regiment, charged with the Massachusetts troops and placed the colors second upon the battery. The regiment resumed the march upon the left of the Rhode Island Fifth, passed up the railroad, and were assigned quarters in the old rebel cavalry quarters upon the right of the Connecticut Eighth.

Respectfully,

CHARLES MATHEWSON, Lieutenant-Colonel, Comdg. Eleventh Connecticut Regiment.

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No. 18.

Report of Col. Isaac. P. Rodman, Fourth Rhode Island Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS FOURTH RHODE ISLAND REGIMENT, Camp near New Berne, March 17, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by the Fourth Rhode Island in the battle of New Berne, March 14, 1862:

Landed from the steamer Eastern Queen, by the aid of the stern-wheeler Union, at a point some 16 miles below this place, on the southern bank of the River Neuse, at 10.30 o’clock a.m. Thursday, the 13th instant, and found the regiment on the marsh and woody land. By your orders took up line of march in rear of the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, continued on through the day, nothing of importance occurring. We bivouacked for the night, which was wet and stormy. The men, being well supplied with blankets and provisions, did not suffer from the exposure. Oft the morning of the 14th, at 6.30 a.m., we were again ready for a start, when you ordered me to follow the rear of General Foster’s brigade, which I did, moving off on the right of our brigade. The road being very heavy, our marching was slow, when at about 8 o’clock a.m. heavy firing was heard ahead and on our left, General {p.238} Foster being engaged with the batteries in front, General Reno having engaged the right of the enemy.

Following you by the front of the enemy’s lines we filed to the left through the wood for some distance nearly to the railroad, when by your orders the regiment halted while you ascertained where we were most needed. Standing in this position, a few minutes Captain Kenyon’s company, D, was deployed to the front as skirmishers, and our position being rather exposed, moved the regiment to the railroad and waited for further orders. While here part of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, was driven back from the battery in a charge they had made before we came up. Colonel Clark assuring me of the feasibility of charging the works from my position, and Mr. Lydig, an aide on your staff, urging me to take the responsibility, I told him if Mr. Hill, your other aide, would inform you, I would go on. Mr. Lydig then promptly started to bring up the Eighth Connecticut to support me. I formed the regiment in a partially-protected hollow, the right wing in front, supported by my left wing, the space and position rendering this, as I judged, the best plan. I then gave the order to charge. Passing quickly by the rifle pits, which opened on us with little injury, we entered in rear of their intrenchments, and the regiment in a gallant manner carried gun after gun, until the whole nine brass field pieces of their front were in our possession, with carriages, caissons, horses, &c., the enemy suddenly retiring, firing only three guns from the front and three at us from the fort on their left, which happily passed over our heads. The enemy forming in the woods-I should judge about the strength of two regiments-I did not think it prudent to attack them. The national flag of the Fourth Rhode Island was planted on the parapet, and the enemy retired from the whole length of their lines on their left flank. I formed the regiment, after resting a few minutes, in rear of the Eighth and Eleventh Connecticut and Fifth Rhode Island.

In about ten minutes, by your orders, I prepared to attack the rifle pits on the right of General Reno’s force, where the firing had been and still continued heavy. Countermarched by the right flank and entered the woods near the brick-works, when the enemy opened on us with a severe fire, killing and wounding some of my best officers and men. Seeing this would not do, I ordered the regiment to charge the pits and railroad embankment, which they did in a fine manner, carrying them in about fifteen minutes. At about the same time General Reno’s brigade drove the enemy from their front.

Collecting the wounded under the care of my surgeons I prepared to move on, when in a short time by your orders we moved forward on the railroad toward New Berne. On arriving at the county road turned off and sent my right company forward as skirmishers. Marched on without opposition, arriving near New Berne, when you ordered me to take possession of the deserted camp by the road, lately occupied by Colonel Lee’s regiment. This I proceeded to do, and took possession of the camp, stores, &c., where my regiment has since remained. The regimental quartermaster, Lieut. C. S. Smith, will render an account of the property found when he has made the inventory.

For the brave men who so gloriously fell I could not say enough. They fell gallantly at their posts-Captain [Charles] Tillinghast at the head of his company; Captain [William S.] Chase, severely wounded, leading on his; Lieutenant Curtis also wounded at his post. Of the living it would be invidious in me to name one officer above another {p.239} when all did so well. Every wish and measure was promptly responded to by the officers of field, staff, and line, and this example the men were proud to follow. Surgeons Rivers, Millar, and Mr. Flanders, the chaplain, were indefatigable in their exertions for the comfort of the men.

...

All of which is respectfully submitted.*

Your obedient servant,

I. P. RODMAN, Colonel, Fourth Rhode Island Volunteers.

* A nominal list of casualties omitted above reports 1 officer and 10 men killed and 2 officers and 23 men wounded-total 36.

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No. 19.

Report of Maj. John Wright, Fifth Rhode Island Infantry.

HDQRS. FIFTH REGIMENT RHODE ISLAND VOLUNTEERS, Camp Pierce, New Berne, N. C., March 18, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to submit to you the following report of the operations of the First Battalion of the Fifth Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers in the battle of the 14th instant:

At the signal given from the brigade flag-ship, on the morning of the 13th of March, 1862, the boats of the steam-transports Curlew and Eagle, in which the battalion was quartered, were cleared away, filled with men, and dispatched to the steamer Eastern Queen at about 8 o’clock. That forenoon I landed with three companies and a half and with these took my position in line, according to orders, en the left of the Eighth Connecticut. I continued the march until I received orders to halt and bivouac for the night. About 2 the next morning the adjutant brought the two remaining companies into camp. At daybreak the 14th I formed the battalion in line, awaiting orders, which soon came, and were to continue to follow on the left of the Eighth Connecticut. The column moved about 6.30 o’clock a.m. and passed slowly along the route followed the day before. Not long after the firing commenced in front, and the orders came to keep well closed up. Soon after Captain D’Wolf came down the line and ordered us to close up, and we commenced the double-quick.

After following the main road a short distance farther we turned off to the left and entered the woods. Just after we turned a cannon ball passed over our heads, which showed that we were approaching the battery, and caused us to press forward more eagerly to support the attack. After passing through a swampy place we came to a halt on the brow of a bluff, where we awaited further orders and the further movements of the Eighth Connecticut. As the bullets flew very thick over our heads we were ordered to lie down. When the Twenty-first Massachusetts was driven from the battery and the enemy made a sally the orders came to fix bayonets and prepare to receive a charge. We formed in line of battle, left in front, but as they were driven back before we saw them, we continued as we were before that. Our orders were still to continue on the left of the Eighth Connecticut. At last the orders came to turn the right flank of the enemy. We passed down into the hollow, filed off still farther to the left, and passed over {p.240} another elevation, when we came to the railroad, just below the brickyard. Then, with General Parke at our head, we pushed on, passed in rear of the breastworks of the enemy, and as we came upon the high open ground behind it we came under a raking fire from the rifle pits across the railroad and the brick-yard, where the enemy lay in large force.

We pushed on at the double-quick until we came under cover of the trees, where we formed in line of battle and prepared to charge on the enemy in the battery. As they had retired, I was ordered first to send one company and afterward the whole battalion, and to proceed cautiously and find out what the firing was on our left. I sent the adjutant ahead to find out the direction we should take. As it was pointed out by the general’s aide, Lieutenant Lydig, we passed down into a hollow and ascended the left-hand side cautiously until we reached the brow of the elevation, when we came in view of the enemy and immediately opened upon them a brisk fire, which immediately had an effect, for their fire slackened and stopped when we ceased firing. We opened upon them two or three times afterward until we were afraid of firing upon the Fourth Rhode Island, who were advancing upon them on our right. When the Fourth charged upon them we ceased firing and awaited orders.

It was on this hill that we met with the greater part of our loss. As we had no colors, I was ordered to follow in the rear of the Eighth Connecticut, and leaving a few to take care of the killed and wounded we passed down to the railroad, and at 11 o’clock took up our line of march for the city of New Berne. When we reached the main road, which crossed the railroad, we turned to the left, and continued our march until we received orders to halt and take possession of a rebel camp off to the right from the road which had been occupied by the rebel artillery.*

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN WRIGHT, Major, Comdg. First Bat. Fifth Regt. Rhode Island Vols.

CHARLES T. GARDNER, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Nominal list of casualties shows 1 officer (Lieut. Henry R. Pierce) and 1 man killed and 8 men wounded.

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No. 20.

Reports of Brig. Gen. L. O’B. Branch, C. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF PAMLICO, March 15, 1862.

GENERAL: On Wednesday (12th) at 4 p.m. it was made known to me that the enemy were ascending Neuse River in force. Under cover of their gunboats they effected a landing of troops in the rear of the Croatan breastwork Thursday morning, they compelling me to evacuate that position. I instantly threw behind the Fort Thompson breastwork every available man under my command and prepared to wait there the enemy’s farther advance.

On Friday morning, at about 7 o’clock, I was assailed by overwhelming {p.241} forces and compelled to yield the breastwork. The evacuation of the river batteries, thus taken in reverse, of course, followed and the enemy is now in possession of New Berne.

From the nature of the position my troops were much scattered in the retreat, and I am rapidly concentrating them at this place.

I have given orders to my chief engineer, aided by Captain Meade, to make an examination into the best means of defending some point which will check the advance of the enemy to the railroad at Goldsborough. I am satisfied that it cannot be done without a large increase of force.

My command is entirely destitute of camp equipage of every description, and can on that account be kept together only with great difficulty.

At an early day I will report more in detail the operations of the two days.

Yours, very respectfully,

L. O’B. BRANCH, Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.

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HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION, In the Field, March 26, 1862.

GENERAL: My report of the battle of the 14th below New Berne has been withheld until I could get a report from Col. R. P. Campbell, who commanded my right wing on that day. It is now submitted, with reports from the commanders of all the regiments on the field.

A brief description of the artificial defenses of New Berne, together with the inclosed sketch, will enable you to comprehend the movements of the day, which were few and simple.

The defensive works were located and constructed before I assumed command. The troops under my command had performed a large amount of work, but it was mainly on the river defenses, which were not assailed by the enemy. They had been originally planned for a force much larger than any ever placed at my disposal, and I was for six weeks engaged in making the necessary changes to contract them, but the failure of all my efforts to obtain implements and tools with which the troops could carry on the work prevented me from making satisfactory progress. I had circulated handbills over the State, calling on the citizens generally to assist me, and received from two counties a small party of free negroes without implements. I then inserted in the newspaper an advertisement calling on the slave owners to hire their slaves, with implements, for a few days, and I got but a single negro.

During all this time I continued the troops at work, and when the enemy came into the river 500 per day were being detailed to construct breastworks, with less than half that number of worn and broken shovels and axes, without picks or grubbing-hoes. If the fate of New Berne shall prevent a similar supineness on the part of citizens, and especially slave owners, elsewhere, it will be fortunate for the country. Ten miles below New Berne, on the south side of the Neuse, is the mouth of Otter Creek. From this creek, 1 mile above its mouth, the Croatan breastwork runs across to an impracticable swamp about three-fourths of a mile. This is a well-planned and well-constructed work, which 2,000 men and two field batteries could hold against a very large force. But from the mouth of Otter Creek to Fort Thompson, the lowest of {p.242} the river batteries, is a distance of 6 miles of river shore, on any part of which the enemy could land and take the Croatan work in reverse. It is obvious that the breastwork was useless if I had not sufficient force to hold it and at the same time guard 6 miles of river shore. I have at no time been able to place 4,000 men in the field at New Berne, and at the time of the battle had been seriously weakened by the reenlistment furloughs.

Coming up the river from the Croatan work you reach the Fort Thompson breastwork. This had been constructed from Fort Thompson to the railroad, about 1 mile, before I assumed command. Finding that from inadequate force, the Croatan work might be of no avail to me, I determined to extend the Fort Thompson work about one mile and a fourth and rest its right on a swamp. This is the work I was engaged on when the enemy appeared. In order to make the line as short as possible and to avail of a small branch by throwing it in front the line was thrown back about 150 yards on the railroad, and thence a series of small breastworks, conforming to the features of the ground, ran off in the direction of the swamp, making an obtuse angle with the older portion of the line on the other side of the railroad. To guard this gap I directed that the old brick-kiln on the railroad should be loop-holed, and the evening before the battle had ordered two 24-pounder guns to be brought from New Berne and placed in battery there. The enemy’s skirmishers drove the laborers from the battery when an hour more would have enabled them to get the guns in position. Of course I lost all the benefit I expected from it. The line of small breastworks from the railroad to the swamp was partially finished for about half the distance.

Running parallel to the river and to each other, and crossing the line at right-angles are, first, after leaving the river, the old Beaufort road and then the railroad; still farther on and near the swamp the Weathersby Road. The railroad and the Beaufort road intersect about 2 miles behind the breastwork, the former crossing the river on a bridge 1,840 feet long at the town of New Berne and the latter at an indifferent private bridge about one mile and a half above New Berne. Both these bridges are accessible to gunboats, so that when we stood at the Fort Thompson breastwork, fronting the enemy, we had Neuse River on our left, Bryce Creek (an impassable stream) on our right, and the Neuse and Trent in our rear, the only possible mode of escape in case of defeat being across the two bridges I have described, 5 miles in our rear.

I hope this description, with the aid of the map inclosed, will put you in possession of our situation at the opening of the battle.

I omitted to state that the timber had been felled in front of the breastwork for about 350 yards, and the space was swept by ten field pieces, besides three navy 32-pounders, discharging grape and canister from the rear face of Fort Thompson.

It is useless to describe the river defenses, on which the largest amount of labor had been bestowed, as the enemy prudently refrained from attacking the batteries in front and the gunboats did not come within range of their guns until they had been silenced from the rear.

I now proceed to detail the incidents of the battle.

On Wednesday, the 12th, at 4 p.m., the approach of the enemy’s fleet was reported to me, and at dark I learned that twelve vessels had anchored below the mouth of Otter Creek and about forty-five were ascending the river in their rear.

Orders were issued to Colonel Sinclair, Thirty-fifth Regiment, to {p.243} proceed immediately with his regiment to Fisher’s Landing, which is just above the mouth of Otter Creek, and to resist any attempt of the enemy to land there. Colonel Avery, Thirty-third Regiment, and Lieutenant-Colonel Haywood, Seventh Regiment, constituting the reserve, were ordered to proceed across the river, so as to be in position at the intersection of the Beaufort road and the railroad at daybreak in the morning, Col. R. P. Campbell, commanding my right wing, was instructed to guard the river shore from the mouth of Otter Creek to Fort Thompson, while Col. C. C. Lee, who commanded my left wing, was to guard the remainder of the shore, support the river batteries, and re-enforce Colonel Campbell in case he should be hard pressed. Colonel Campbell was instructed to establish his headquarters at the intersection of the Beaufort road and the breastwork, and to collect his troops around him by daybreak. Both commanders were instructed that, in case it should be necessary to fall back from the river shore to the breastwork, Colonel Campbell should hold that part to the right of the Beaufort road and Colonel Lee that part to the left of it.

These orders having been dispatched by 9 p.m., the night was spent by the troops in getting into position and other preparations for the contest.

Having given all the necessary directions to staff officers and all others before 3 o’clock Thursday morning, and seen all the men and material forwarded from the camp and depot in New Berne, I proceeded to Colonel Campbell’s headquarters. On the road I met dispatches from Colonel Sinclair and Capt. P. G. Evans, commanding the pickets, informing me that the enemy were landing troops below the mouth of Otter Creek, and Colonel Vance was directed to send his regiment to Croatan breastwork to occupy it. Railroad trains were on the spot to carry down re-enforcements or to draw off Colonels Vance’s and Sinclair’s regiments and Brem’s battery, as the case might require.

Intelligence was soon brought to me that the enemy’s gunboats, having driven Colonel Sinclair’s regiment from Fisher’s Landing, were rapidly landing troops at that place, and that Colonel Campbell, seeing that the Croatan breastwork was turned, had ordered Vance, Sinclair, and Brem to fall back to the Fort Thompson breastwork.

My force was wholly inadequate to guard the 6 miles of river shore between the mouth of Otter Creek and Fort Thompson. The result was therefore not wholly unexpected but I had hoped that a line of rifle pits I had caused to be made for a mile along the bluffs at and on both sides of Fisher’s Landing would have enabled me to hold the enemy in check and to inflict on him serious loss at the first moment of his placing his foot on our soil. I was therefore surprised when the position was yielded with a loss of only 1 killed and 2 wounded, all three of which casualties occurred in the retreat.

After the abandonment of Fisher’s Landing to the enemy the prompt withdrawal of Vance and Brem could alone save them from being cut off, and the enemy thus came into possession of my strongest work without having received a single shot from us.

The Fort Thompson breastwork now became my sole reliance for resisting his advance, and throughout the remainder of the day and night of Thursday the most active efforts were made to strengthen that unfinished work. Both officers and men executed my orders with unflagging energy.

I was particularly indebted to Major Thompson and Captain Meade, of the Engineers, to whom I assigned the duty of disposing of the artillery in the most advantageous manner.

{p.244}

In the afternoon the gunboats shelled the breastworks heavily from a position they had taken out of reach of the guns of our batteries.

The composure with which all classes of my troops received this attack from an unseen foe strengthened the confidence I felt in their standing under fire.

No damage was inflicted on us by the shells, but the accuracy with which they were thrown over a thick, intervening woodland convinced me of the necessity of driving traitors and enemies in disguise from all towns and neighborhoods of which we desire to hold military possession.

During the day on Thursday the troops were posted behind the intrenchments, and it was painfully apparent that my force was not sufficient to man them even with a thin line for the finished portions of them. I was compelled to withdraw Lieutenant-Colonel Haywood of the Seventh Regiment from the reserve and place him on the line.

The regiments were posted as follows, commencing on the left:

Lieutenant-Colonel Barbour, Thirty-seventh Regiment, and Major Gilmer, Twenty-seventh Regiment, between Fort Thompson and the Beaufort County road. Lieutenant-Colonel Haywood, Seventh, Colonel Sinclair, Thirty-fifth, and Colonel Clark (Militia), between the Beaufort road and the railroad. Colonel Vance, Twenty-sixth Regiment, to the right of the railroad. A few unattached companies were placed between the regiments. My headquarters were about 200 yards in rear of the intrenchment at the railroad and the reserve was about 200 yards in my rear; the cavalry regiment about half a mile to the rear. In this order the troops slept on their arms.

At 11 o’clock Thursday night Colonel Lee brought me intelligence that signal rockets had just been seen on our extreme right, from which I inferred that the enemy, having found the Weathersby road, were in front of that portion of my line.

Orders were sent to Colonel Vance to extend his regiment so that its right might rest on the Weathersby road, and in an hour a section of Brem’s battery was moving by a circuitous route to a position on that road.

On taking my position Friday morning the center appeared so weak that I dispatched my aide-de-camp to Colonel Campbell to say to him that it must be re-enforced if possible.

At about 7.30 o’clock Friday morning the fire opened along the line from the railroad to the river. I soon received a message from Colonel Lee that the enemy were attempting to turn our left. This proved to be a feint, as I replied to him that I thought it would.

The next incident of the battle was the appearance of the enemy’s skirmishers in front of Vance, and consequently on the prolongation of the line held by the Militia. It was to drive the enemy from that position that I had directed the 24-pounder battery to be placed there, and supposing it was ready for service, I sent Captain Rodman, with his company, to man it, but they found the guns not mounted, and were ordered into position to act as infantry. The skirmishers of the enemy, finding themselves on the flank of the Militia, fired at them a few shots from their flank files, which caused a portion of them to flee in great disorder.

I instantly ordered Colonel Avery to send five companies to dislodge them He sent them instantly, under Lieutenant-Colonel Hoke; but before Colonel Hoke had fully got into position, though he moved with the greatest promptness and celerity, I received a message from Colonel Clark, of the Militia, informing me that the enemy were in line {p.245} of battle in great force on his right. I instantly ordered up the remaining five companies of Colonel Avery’s regiment, and the whole ten opened a terrific fire from their Enfield rifles. The whole Militia, however, had now abandoned their positions, and the utmost exertions of myself and my staff could not rally them. Colonel Sinclair’s regiment very quickly followed their example, retreating in the utmost disorder.

This laid open Haywood’s right and a large portion of the breastwork was left vacant. I had not a man with whom to re-occupy it, and the enemy soon poured in a column along the railroad and through a portion of the cut-down ground in front, which marched up behind the breastwork to attack what remained of Campbell’s command.

The brave Seventh 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 re-enforcements, not less than five or six regiments, the Seventh 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. This was a critical operation, as the enemy, having pierced our center, had possession of the two shortest roads to the bridges, and besides could approach them at pleasure with their gunboats.

Having dispatched two couriers to Colonel Avery and two to Colonel Vance with orders for them to fall back to the bridges, I moved to the intersection of the Beaufort road and railroad to rally the troops and cover the retreat across the bridges. Here I found a train of cars with the Twenty-eighth Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Lowe, who had arrived too late to reach the battle-field, and formed them to hold the enemy in check until all should pass. Colonel Lee was directed to proceed to New Berne and form all the men he could collect in the upper part of town. The Seventh Regiment, arriving in two different parties, was directed to proceed to the Trent Bridge and hold it, while I remained with Lieutenant-Colonel Lowe at the intersection to hold the enemy in check and cover the retreat.

Remaining until there were no more stragglers in sight on either road, I directed Colonel Lowe to fall back to the Trent Bridge, which he did, the enemy showing themselves on the road as his rear guard moved off. Proceeding to the Trent Bridge, I placed Colonel Campbell in command of all the forces there, with instructions to hold the bridge as long as possible for the passage of Avery and Vance, and then to move up the Trent road or join me in town, as I might direct after reaching the town, leaving with him to conduct him that gallant gentleman and soldier Capt. Peter G. Evans, whom I had not allowed to leave my person for two days except to bear orders. The railroad bridge was in flames before I left the intersection.

Arriving in town, I found it in flames in many places and evacuated. Orders written in the street under the lurid glare of the flames were dispatched in every direction through the town to search for Colonel Lee. At Railroad street I learned that a gunboat had already landed at one of the lower wharves. Going up Railroad street to see whether Colonel Lee was at the Fair Grounds, I found, on reaching the depot, that the gunboats were already there and the enemy in the Fair Grounds. Colonel Lee, finding himself in no condition to make resistance, had properly drawn off and marched up the Kinston Road. Following on, and directing all the officers I could overtake to conduct their men to Tuscarora, the nearest railroad depot, I proceeded to that place, and, having made arrangements for the transportation of the troops to {p.246} Kinston by railroad and seen most of them off reached that place myself at 11 o’clock on Saturday.

My loss was 64 killed, 101 wounded, and 413 missing; about 200 are prisoners and the remainder at home. The inclosed tabular statement will show you on which regiments and companies the loss fell.

The horses of Latham’s battery and those of four pieces of Brem’s battery were killed, and we lost, in consequence, ten pieces of field artillery. There were other pieces at the breastwork, but they were condemned guns from Fort Macon belonging to no company.

The ammunition and ordnance stores at New Berne were saved, and the camp equipage and baggage of the regiments would have been saved but we had not the field transportation with which to haul it to the railroad.

In five days after the battle I had my brigade in camp in advance of Kinston ready for action and but little demoralized.

I had at an early day placed Cols. R. P. Campbell, Seventh Regiment, and C. C. Lee, Thirty-seventh Regiment, in command of the two wings of my brigade. All the troops, except the Thirty-third Regiment and the cavalry regiment, which were in reserve, fought under their immediate command. I could have taken no better security against any errors and oversights I might commit than I did in placing those two trained and experienced officers in immediate command of the troops.

I refer to their reports herewith and the reports of commanders of regiments for particulars as to the conduct of individuals under their command.

As the Thirty-third Regiment was under my own command it is proper for me to say that its conduct was all I could desire. It moved into action with as much promptness and steadiness as I ever saw in its ranks on dress parade and its fire was terrific. It was engaged within 100 yards of my position, and Colonel Avery, Lieutenant-Colonel Hoke, and Major Lewis did their duty fully against an overwhelming force. Its gallant colonel was captured at his post; two different couriers, whom I sent to him with orders to withdraw, having failed to reach him.

With the exceptions noted in a former part of the report all the regiments behaved well. The Seventh and Thirty-third are specially named, because on the former fell the brunt of the battle after its flank was exposed by the retreat of the militia and the Thirty-fifth, and the latter had no other commander except myself through whom its conduct could be made known to you. No troops could have behaved better than the Twenty-sixth, Twenty-seventh, and Thirty-seventh.

Latham’s battery was new and was only partially equipped. The horses had not been attached to the guns a week before the battle. Its gallantry and devotion on that occasion show it to be worthy of a new outfit.

My regular staff, consisting of my aide-de-camp, Mr. W. E. Cannady, and assistant adjutant-general, Lieut. Col. W. G. Robinson, rendered me all the assistance I desired. My aide-de-camp in particular bore my orders through the hottest of the fire with unflinching courage and composure.

To Captain Meade, of the Engineers, and Lieutenant Burwell, C. S. Army, and Mr. Francis T. Hawks, who tendered their services for the occasion and were placed on my staff, I was greatly indebted, not only for services in bearing orders and rallying troops, but to the first in an {p.247} especial manner for counsel and advice. They remained with me throughout the battle and subsequent retreat.

The panic alluded to in some of the reports occurred after the troops had left New Berne. It was in advance of me and I did not witness it, but the names of officers who contributed to it or participated in it will be reported to you if they can be discovered. It was soon counteracted by the steadiness of Colonel Lee and some other officers.

Yours, very respectfully,

L. O’B. BRANCH, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Commanding Department of North Carolina.

[Addenda.]

Return of casualties in the Confederate forces at the battle of New Berne, N. C., March 14, 1862.

Command.Killed.Wounded.Captured or missing.Aggregate.Remarks by compiler.
Officers.Men.Total.Officers.Men.Total.Officers.Men.Total.
7th North Carolina6611415303051
19th North CarolinaNo losses reported.
26th North Carolina.23519104687287
27th North Carolina.4488424254
28th North Carolina.666
33d North Carolina.3228144204Officers and men not separately reported.*
35th North Carolina.14511119925
37th North Carolina.13812Do.
Brem’s battery18716Do.
Latham’s battery1010110112202243
independent companies77380Do.
Total327643521016175413578

* For reasons stated in remarks the totals of columns headed “Officers” and “Men” do not prove the “Total” column.

{p.248}

[Inclosure.]

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HEADQUARTERS, March 28, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to request that the inclosed copies of letters may be filed with my official report of the battle of the 14th.

Yours, very respectfully,

L. O’B. BRANCH, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

General T. H. HOLMES, Commanding, &c.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF PAMLICO, New Berne, N. C., March 12, 1862-8.30 p. mu.

Col. CHARLES C. LEE:

COLONEL: The following troops have been ordered to report to you, and I presume are in readiness to obey your orders, to wit: The Thirty-seventh {p.249} North Carolina troops; Sloan’s regiment; Brem’s, Edelin’s, Whitford’s Mayo’s, Herring’s, Leecraft’s, and Sutton’s companies.

Colonel Campbell is instructed to guard the river shore, and if he should be hard pressed you will send him such re-enforcements as you can spare. I will have two regiments in reserve. My headquarters will be on the Beaufort road, in the rear of the batteries. Have all your troops in position by daybreak. If compelled to fall back from the river shore and occupy Fort Thompson breastwork, you will hold so much of it as extends from the old Beaufort road to the river.

Very respectfully,

- -.

[Inclosure No. 2.]

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF PAMLICO, March 12, 1862-8.30 p.m.

Col. R. P. CAMPBELL, Commanding:

It is presumed that the following troops have reported to you, to wit: Colonels Vance’s and Sinclair’s regiments; Captains Latham’s, McRae’s, Harding’s, and Mallett’s companies, and Colonel Spruill’s cavalry. Send off couriers to-night, if you have not already done so, and give them orders. Colonel Sinclair’s regiment is already at Fisher’s Landing. That is the only body of troops that I have moved. Colonel Avery and Lieutenant-Colonel Haywood constitute the reserve, and will receive their orders directly from me.

You had better gather your force near you before daybreak. If the enemy attempt a landing, as he probably will in the morning, resist him with all the force you can bring to bear. If compelled to fall back, occupy so much of the Fort Thompson breastwork as extends from the Beaufort road to an impassable swamp on the extreme right. Guard well the Beaufort road where it crosses the breastwork. If the enemy attempt to land at Fisher’s Landing, Sinclair will need strong re-enforcement. Explain to your officers that when they fall back they are to rally behind the Fort Thompson breastwork.

I have just directed that a cavalry company be sent to you immediately, so that you may have abundant couriers by whom to send your orders.

P. S.-My headquarters will be on the Beaufort road, in the rear of the batteries.

[Inclosure No. 3.]

HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION, March 30, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Commanding Department of North Carolina:

GENERAL: I omitted, through inadvertence, to state in my official report of the battle of the 14th a very important movement. When, as stated in my report, an officer came to me from Colonel Clark, of the Militia, and informed me that the enemy were in line of battle in force on his right, I directed him to proceed immediately to Colonel Campbell with the information, and also sent one of my own couriers to guard against a miscarriage.

As soon as the Militia fled my aide-de-camp was sent to Colonel Lee, on the left, with orders to send his own regiment (the Thirty-seventh), {p.250} if he could possibly spare it, and in any event to send half of it, to the menaced point. Colonel Lee-calling the attention of my aide to the strong body of the enemy along his front with whom he was then engaged, to show how impossible it was for him to send all-promptly disengaged five companies of the Thirty-seventh and ordered them to the right. When they reached there Sinclair’s regiment had fled, and they could not retrieve the disaster. I respectfully request that this may be made part of my official report.

Yours, very respectfully,

L. O’B. BRANCH, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

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No. 21.

Report of Col. Reuben P. Campbell, Seventh North Carolina Infantry.

HDQRS. SEVENTH REGT. NORTH CAROLINA TROOPS, March 25, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor very respectfully to make the following report of the late engagement, 14th instant, at Fort Thompson:

My command, consisting of the Seventh Regiment North Carolina troops, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Haywood; Thirty-fifth Regiment North Carolina troops, commanded by Colonel Sinclair; Captain Whitehurst’s independent company; some Militia, under Colonel Clark, Captain Latham’s battery, and two sections of Captain Brem’s battery, were posted along the breastworks from the county road to the railroad. The Seventh Regiment was posted immediately on the right of the county road; Colonel Sinclair’s regiment was posted on its right, and Captain Whitehurst and Colonel Clark on his right, extending near the railroad. The batteries were placed at convenient distances along the line.

The battle was commenced by the firing of a Parrott gun belonging to Captain Latham’s battery, under command of Lieutenant Wheeler. This shot dispersed a squad of horsemen, who seemed to be reconnoitering under cover of the woods.

Immediately after this, about 7.20 o’clock, the firing became general from the enemy along the whole of my command. It was replied to by both the batteries and small-arms. Shortly after the firing began the Militia under Colonel Clark gave way and left the field in a panic.

About one hour after the firing commenced Colonel Sinclair came to me, and in much excitement said that the enemy had flanked him and was coming up the trenches which had been vacated by the Militia. I ordered him to leave the trenches for the purpose of charging bayonets upon the advancing columns; but he failed to form his men and left the field in confusion. This left the entire space occupied by my command to be defended by the batteries and by the Seventh Regiment North Carolina troops. One section of Brem’s battery, left without support by Colonel Sinclair, was taken possession of by the enemy, who had continued his advance on the right. I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Haywood to have his men leave the breastwork and charge bayonets upon the enemy, who was advancing in column. The charge was made, and the enemy driven over the breastworks with great slaughter, leaving a number of guns and other things in his retreat, which fell into our hands. We also retook the section of Brem’s battery {p.251} which had fallen into the hands of the enemy. With the aid of the Seventh Regiment and the batteries I then held the works until the enemy again appeared on our right with a greatly increased force, some six or eight regiments. The batteries, with the exception of one section, under Captain Latham, had been silenced, so that I had only it and the Seventh Regiment at my command. I ordered the troops to fall back, which they did under a very heavy fire, and formed immediately in rear of Colonel Vance’s encampment. After waiting a short time, and seeing no hope of defeating the enemy or offering further resistance to his approach or advancing our cause by meeting, I retired from the field.

The officers and men of the Seventh Regiment North Carolina troops and Captains Latham’s and Brem’s batteries behaved with coolness and bravery. I cannot speak of the other troops under my command, as they left the field too early in the action for me to say anything a-bout them.

From the report of the officers under my command the following are the casualties: 13 privates and 1 officer killed, 34 privates and 1 officer wounded, and 34 privates missing.*

R. P. CAMPBELL, Colonel Seventh Regiment North Carolina Troops.

General L. O’B. BRANCH, Kinston, N. C.

* But see addenda to Branch’s report, p. 247.

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No. 22.

Report of Lieut. Col. Ed. Graham Haywood, Seventh North Carolina Infantry.

HDQRS. SEVENTH REGT. NORTH CAROLINA TROOPS, March 25, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor very respectfully to report that my command, the Seventh Regiment North Carolina troops, behaved well in the late engagement at Fort Thompson. The command, with the exception of Company F, Captain Turner, was posted on the right of the county road, behind the breastworks, and ordered to defend them and support the artillery. Company F was posted on the left of the road. They held their positions until flanked on the right by the enemy. They were then ordered to leave the trenches and charge bayonets upon the enemy, which they did, driving him beyond the breastworks with great slaughter and retaking a section of Brem’s battery which had fallen into the enemy’s hands. I then held the breastworks until flanked again by the same direction with a greatly increased force, some six or eight regiments, when I fell back into the woods in rear of Colonel Vance’s camp and there formed. Seeing no hope of defeating the enemy, I then, with the command, retired from the field. Major Hall, with three companies, preceded me.

The casualties were 6 men killed, 15 wounded, and 30 missing; among the wounded Capt. W. H. Sanford, regimental commissary.

ED. GRAHAM HAYWOOD, Lieut. Col., Comdg. Seventh Regt. North Carolina Troops.

General L. O’B. BRANCH.

{p.252}

No. 23.

Report of Col. S. B. Spruill, Nineteenth North Carolina Infantry.

HDQRS. NINETEENTH REGIMENT N. C. STATE TROOPS. Kinston, N. C., March -, 1862.

On Wednesday evening, the 12th instant, I received information that the enemy had made their appearance in the river and to hold my command in readiness to march at a moment’s warning.

On Thursday morning, 13th, I received an order from General Branch to report with my command immediately to the general commanding at the crossing of the Beaufort road and railroad, which was promptly obeyed. My command, consisting of Companies D, E, F, H, and K, proceeded down as far as Colonel Vance’s encampment, near the intrenchments, and reported myself for duty. I then received orders to fall back to a convenient position, which I occupied, between the Beaufort road and railroad.

About 2 p.m. I received a verbal order to dismount two of my companies that were best armed, leaving a sufficient number of men to guard the horses, and for them to report to Colonel Vance, then on the extreme right, which I obeyed, by ordering Company A, commanded by Captain Hays, and Company K, commanded by Lieut. William A. Graham, jr., these companies being armed with rifles and carbines. The other companies remained in their same position until about 3 p.m., at which time the enemy were throwing their shells very near us, and I ordered them to move nearer the railroad, and we continued to move until we went a short distance beyond the railroad. There we remained until night, when the firing ceased.

During the time I received an order to send two companies to report to Lieutenant-Colonel Robinson, to act as vedettes for the night, which I obeyed, by detailing Company D, commanded by Captain Strange, and Company H, Captain Randolph. These companies were under the command of Major J. W. Woodfin.

I then ordered Lieutenant Haughton, of Captain Evans’ company, which had a short time before joined us, to report to Colonel Campbell, whose immediate command I was then under, and ask of him permission to take my command back to camp for the purpose of feeding my horses. I received in reply to exercise my own discretion. As I had permission to do so, between 9 and 10 o’clock I ordered the remainder of my command, consisting of two companies, and Captain Evans’ company, commanded by Lieutenant Evans, taking the horses of the dismounted companies back to camp.

Next morning about 4 o’clock I ordered the two companies to mount, and take with them the horses of the dismounted companies and hold themselves in readiness to march.

Before day I sent Captain Cole’s company to relieve the two companies that had been on duty during the night as vedettes. The two companies relieved returned to camp about 4 a.m. I ordered the commanders of these two companies, together with Company C, commanded by Lieutenant Wynn, which had arrived from Washington about 2 o’clock at night, having made the march during the day and part of the night, a distance of 40 miles, to feed and rest until they were ordered by me to report for duty on the field.

When I arrived near the intrenchments on the Beaufort road I ordered a halt. I then reported myself to Colonel Campbell, with my command, for duty. He ordered me to remain ready for duty. I immediately {p.253} returned to my command, soon after which the enemy’s vessels opened a heavy fire, at which time I received orders to dismount the remainder of my command and send them to the right and report to Colonel Vance. I immediately ordered Captain Cole, Company F, and Captain Thomas, Company E, to dismount, and Captain Thomas to take command of the two companies, which he did, and marched off. Soon after Major Woodfin arrived, and I ordered him to proceed and take charge of the two companies then marching to the intrenchments, which he promptly obeyed. I immediately dispatched a courier to order the three companies then in camp to report to me at a point on the railroad for duty; but before reporting to me I was informed that they were ordered to retreat by Lieutenant-Colonel Robinson.

While waiting I perceived that the Militia were giving way and retreating. I immediately rode back where the horses of my dismounted men were held, and found many of them mounted and being mounted by the infantry. Captain Cole, most of his command, and a portion of Captain Thomas’ command, succeeded in getting their horses, but Lieutenant Graham’s command was left on foot, except those that had charge of his horses; also a portion of Captain Thomas’ command, which retreated in company with Colonel Vance’s command. I remained a short time, expecting Lieutenant Graham and Captain Thomas to come up, so as to inform them what had become of their horses; but they not arriving, and seeing the infantry retreating from the left of our works, I rode off and overtook my command at Colonel Lee’s camp. I immediately proceeded to the head of my command in order to make them march over the bridge by file, fearing that it might break down, which I succeeded in doing in good order, some having however passed over before I arrived at the bridge.

After remaining on the east side of the bridge until about half of my command had passed over I ordered Major Woodfin to remain until they were all over. I then passed over the bridge for the purpose of forming my battalion on the other side. After passing to the other side I found Lieutenant Baker, who I ordered to assist me in forming it. He then informed me that Lieutenant-Colonel Robinson was there attending to the formation of the battalion.

After the whole of my command had passed over, excepting Captain flays, Company A, I ordered Surgeon Smith to direct Lieutenant-Colonel Robinson to march the battalion on the Kinston road a short distance beyond New Berne, and there halt it, and permit the wagons to go on toward Kinston under the directions of the general in command, when a board of officers, composed of the colonels of different regiments, was called, directing us that if we were driven from the intrenchments to fall back on New Berne, which was the only order to retreat I ever received up to that time.

While at the bridge, in company with Captain Strange and Lieutenant Baker, of Company D, Major Barringer rode up, and informed me that he was ordered by the commanding general to direct me to recross the bridge and form my battalion to cover the retreat of the infantry. I told him that I had ordered it to New Berne, but informed him that I would obey the order, and immediately rode rapidly off in company with Major Barringer to do so.

On arriving at New Berne I found my battalion formed and halted on the Kinston road and found Major Woodfin in command. I Inquired of him where Lieutenant-Colonel Robinson was, and he informed me that he had rode into New Berne, upon which information we both rode to the railroad. Upon arriving there Major Gilmer gave the order for all the troops to rally around the depot. Major Boone then ordered me {p.254} to have all the cotton and naval stores in New Berne burned. I asked him by what authority he gave the order. His reply was that it came from headquarters. I then told him it should be executed, and ordered Major Woodfin to make a detail of men to do so, which he promptly did, and left my command for the purpose of executing the same.

I remained with my command halted until the cars left the depot and the enemy were shelling the town, several shells falling near my battalion. I then ordered a retreat, which was continued until some one in the rear gave the order to “Gallop, march.” The men then became somewhat excited. I sent back to ascertain who gave the order, but could not find out who gave it, but immediately heard that the enemy were pursuing us with 700 cavalry. Captain Randolph rode up to me and informed me that he had heard that we were pursued with cavalry, and asked me if I did not intend making a stand. I replied that I did intend doing so, and sent him on ahead for the purpose of selecting a suitable place. I was informed there was a bridge some 2 miles ahead, at which place we halted with the intention of giving them battle. Lieutenant-Colonel Robinson then rode up where I was, and I directed him to take his position in the battalion and assist me, as I intended making a stand to resist the 700 cavalry that I understood was in pursuit. He replied that he did not believe that there was any cavalry in pursuit, and that he was ordered to Goldsborough, or had to go to Goldsborough to see General Gatlin. I then told him if he had to go, to go along. He then said to me that I had better form a rear guard to cover the retreat and take command of it myself, and that he should report to General Gatlin that I had done so. He then left. I then ordered 20 men to the bridge and rode along the line and cautioned my men to be cool.

During our halt at the bridge Captain Hays came up with his command, and I invited the captains and lieutenants in command of the companies, with Colonel Crossan, to hold a consultation, and their conclusion was that it would be better for us to proceed on to Kinston that night, for fear of the enemy coming up the river and burning the bridge at Kinston, thereby cutting off our retreat. I then ordered Captain Hays to take command of the rear guard and I took command of the front myself. We continued our retreat to Kinston, arriving there between 11 and 12 o’clock at night.

All the officers under my command, so far as I could discover, obeyed my orders promptly and acted with coolness.

I have submitted one report showing the loss of my horses and baggage. Since that time I succeeded in recovering several of my horses that were missing.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

S. B. SPRUILL, Colonel Nineteenth Regiment North Carolina State Troops.

Brig. Gen. L. O’B. BRANCH, Kinston, N. C.

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No. 24.

Report of Col. Zebulon B. Vance, Twenty-sixth North Carolina Infantry.

HDQRS. TWENTY-SIXTH REGT. NORTH CAROLINA VOLS., Kinston, N. C., March 17, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report, in accordance with military usage, the share of my command in the operations of last Friday.

{p.255}

While in temporary command of the post of New Berne, on Thursday, my regiment was ordered to Croatan works, under command of Lieu-tenant-Colonel Burgwyn, to assist Colonel Sinclair’s regiment should the enemy land below those works.

Learning soon after that Colonel Campbell was at his post, I instantly transferred to him my temporary command and proceeded to Croatan to assume command of my regiment. When near there I met Colonel Sinclair retreating, who informed me that the enemy were landing in force at Fisher’s Landing, and nearer still to the works I met Colonel Campbell, who had just ordered my regiment to take the cars and return to Fort Thompson. Before my return they had been posted by Lieutenant-Colonel Burgwyn in the series of redans constructed by me, on the right of the railroad, in the rear of Bullen’s Branch, extending from the railroad to the swamp, about 500 yards from the road, by Weathersby’s.

At this road, as you will remember, I had constructed the night before a breastwork commanding the passage of the swamp, with the assistance of Mr. - Hawks, a gentleman whose skill in engineering, untiring energy, and zeal I take pleasure in noticing favorably; and there was placed a section of Captain Brem’s artillery, lieutenant Williams commanding, and Captain McRae’s company of infantry, with a portion of the companies of Captains Hays and Thomas, Second North Carolina Cavalry, dismounted.

About 2 o’clock Friday morning, in compliance with orders received, I pushed companies B, E, and K of my right wing across the small swamp alluded to, so as to make my extreme right rest on the battery at the Weathersby road.

This was our position on Friday morning, which remained unchanged during the day, except that two companies of the Thirty-third Regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Hoke, came to my assistance about 9 o’clock, which were placed in the redans vacated by my right companies which were thrown beyond the swamp. You will perceive that my forces covered almost as much ground as all the rest of our troops together. Taking my own position near the center, a little nearer to the right, under Lieutenant-Colonel Burgwyn, about whose position I was considerably uneasy, owing to the unfinished state of our works there, I placed the left under the command of Major Carmichael and awaited the engagement. It began on my left wing about 7.50 o’clock, extending toward my right by degrees until about 8.30 o’clock, when all the troops in my command were engaged so far as the swamp referred to. The severest fighting was on my extreme left, the enemy advancing under shelter of the woods to within easy range of our lines. Whenever they left the woods and entered among the fallen timber of the swamp in our front they were driven back in confusion by the most deadly and well-directed fire from our lines who, with the greatest coolness, watched for their appearance.

The fight was kept up until about 12 o’clock, when information was brought to me by Capt. J. T. Young, my quartermaster, who barely escaped with life in getting to me, that the enemy in great force had turned my left by the railroad track at Wood’s brick-yard, had pillaged my camp, were firing in reverse on my left wing, and were several hundred yards up the railroad between me and New Berne; also that all the troops on the field were in full retreat, except my command. This being so, there was no alternative left me but to order an immediate retreat or be completely surrounded by an overwhelming force. Without hesitation I gave the order. My men jumped out of {p.256} the trenches, rallied, and formed in the woods without panic or confusion, and, having first sent a messenger with an order to Lieutenant-Colonel Burgwyn to follow with the forces on the right, we struck across the Weathersby road for Bryce’s Creek, with the intention of getting into the Pollocksville road. On arriving at the creek we found only one small boat, capable of carrying only three men, in which to pass over. The creek here is too deep to ford and about 75 yards wide. Some plunged in and swam over, and, swimming over myself I rode down to Captain Whitford’s house, on the Trent, and through time kindness of Mr. Kit Foy, a citizen, procured three more small boats, carrying one on our shoulders from the Trent, with which we hurried up to the crossing. In the mean time Lieutenant-Colonel Burgwyn arrived with the forces of the right wing in excellent condition, and assisted me with the greatest coolness and efficiency in getting the troops across, which after four hours of hard labor and the greatest anxiety we succeeded in doing. Lieutenant-Colonel Burgwyn saw the last man over before he entered the boat. I regret to say that three men were drowned in crossing.

I must here mention favorably the good conduct of the troops under these trying circumstances, a large Yankee force being drawn up in view of our scouts about 1 mile away and their skirmishers appearing just as the rear got over.

Musician B. F. Johnson, Company B, deserves particular mention for his exertions, having ferried over the greater portion of the troops himself, assisted by a negro boy.

Once over, we were joined by Lieutenant-Colonel Hoke, Thirty-third Regiment, with a large portion of his command, and took the road for Trenton. We marched night and day stopping at no time for rest or sleep more than four hours.

We arrived at this place safely at noon on the 16th. The loyalty and hospitality of the citizens greatly facilitated our march, furnishing us cheerfully with provisions, wagons, shelter, and guides.

I regret to say that many of our men, despairing of the boats at the creek and determined not to be taken, threw away their guns to swim over; a serious loss to our Government, but scarcely blamable under the circumstances.

This concludes the narration of the principal matters connected with my command during the engagement and retreat. The number of my killed and wounded has not yet been ascertained. Our baggage, of course, was lost, but our sick were safely brought away.

It remains for me to speak of the noble dead we left upon the field. Maj. A. B. Carmichael fell about 11 a.m., by a shot through the head, while gallantly holding his post on the left under a most galling fire. A braver, nobler soldier never fell on field of battle. Generous and open-hearted as he was brave and chivalrous, he was endeared to the whole regiment. Honored be his memory. Soon after Capt. W. P. Martin, of Company H, also fell near the regimental colors. Highly respected as a man, brave and determined as a soldier, he was equally regretted by his command and all who knew him. The Twenty-sixth Regiment are justly proud of their glorious fall. The fate of Captain Rand, of Company D, is yet unknown. When last seen he was almost surrounded by a large force; but, disdaining to fly or surrender, he was fighting desperately with Lieutenant Vinson and a large portion of his company, who refused to leave him. Lieutenant Porter, of Company A, was also left behind wounded. Capt. A. N. McMillan was badly wounded, but got away safely.

{p.257}

In regard to the behavior of my regiment generally, I am scarcely willing to mention particular instances of gallantry where all did their duty. Observing a large portion of the regiment myself, and making diligent inquiry as to the rest, I could learn of but one man in all my command who remembered that he had legs until after the command to retreat was given. They were the last of our troops to leave the field.

I cannot conclude this report without mentioning in terms of the highest praise the spirit of determination and power of endurance evinced by the troops during the hardships and sufferings of our march. Drenched with rain, blistered feet, without sleep, many sick and wounded, and almost naked, they toiled on through the day and all the weary watches of the night without murmuring, cheerfully and with subordination, evincing most thoroughly those high qualities in adversity which military men learn to value still more than courage upon the field.

I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

Z. B. VANCE, Colonel, Commanding Twenty-sixth North Carolina Vols.

General L. O’B. BRANCH, Commanding District of Pamlico.

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No. 25.

Report of Maj. John A. Gilmer, jr., Twenty-seventh North Carolina Infantry.

KINSTON, N. C., March 16, 1862.

SIR: I most respectfully submit the following report of the part borne in the engagement of the 14th instant at the breastworks adjoining Fort Thompson, N. C., by the Twenty-seventh Regiment North Carolina troops, then under my command:

On the morning of the 13th, pursuant to orders from your headquarters, I marched the Twenty-seventh Regiment to the river bank, about 100 yards above Fort Thompson, arriving about an hour before daybreak. Forming the regiment in line of battle at that point I awaited orders.

About 7 o’clock I received orders to retire a short distance toward the river, to avoid any shot and shell that might be thrown in the direction of Fort Thompson. The regiment was immediately moved a short distance to the left and rear.

While in this position I received orders to march the regiment to the breastworks and line the same on the left near Fort Thompson, which was immediately done. The regiment remained (covering the breastworks, principally in one rank, for the distance of 300 or 400 yards from Fort Thompson) all the day and night of the 13th; were aroused and placed in position at the works twice during the-night Numbers of shell and shot were thrown from the gunboats of the enemy during the evening of the 13th, most of which, however, passed beyond the works.

On the morning of the 14th the regiment was again placed in position to await the approach of the enemy, whom I supposed to be in force in the woods in front of the works. I was informed by Captain Barden, whose company had been sent out the evening before as a portion of {p.258} the picket guard, that the enemy was advancing on the county road to our right.

About 6.30 or 7 a.m. the fire of the enemy began beyond our right and continued vigorously during the entire engagement. The fire was immediately returned by the artillery stationed beyond the right of the Twenty-seventh and continued unabated. I commanded the regiment to retain their fire until ordered to fire by me.

A short time after the firing began on the right the bombardment again began from the gunboats of the enemy, directed principally toward Fort Thompson and the portion of the breastworks behind which the Twenty-seventh was stationed. Thus situated, the regiment manfully and cheerfully sustained the shower of shell and shot from the gunboats for two and a half hours, during which but 1 man was killed and 3 stunned.

Between 10 and 11 a.m. I discovered that the troops stationed immediately on the right of the Twenty-seventh were falling back, which movement I discovered was being followed by two or three companies of the Twenty-seventh, on the right. I immediately hastened to my right and ordered the two retreating companies back to the trenches. I then gave my entire command the order to fire by file, designating at the same time the direction in which I perceived the enemy advancing in great numbers.

I then hastened to meet you, whom I perceived advancing along the lines to the left. You informed me that our right had been turned and I must fall back. I then ordered the regiment to retire, which was done in tolerable order by most of the companies on the left. I ordered those companies which were together to march through Camp Gatlin to the railroad bridge, where the greater part of the right assembled and halted. I hastened then to the left, beyond Camp Fisher, to find out what were the plans of our troops, supposing that a stand was to be made at that point. Finding our forces retreating, I returned to the right and passed with them over the bridge to the railroad depot, where the companies were again formed, agreeably to orders I had received from the assistant adjutant-general.

At the depot we were ordered to fall back still farther,when I placed the regiment on the march toward Kinston, under command of my senior captain. I joined the regiment again where the railroad is crossed by the county road above New Berne, and again joined them at Tuscarora, whence I proceeded with them to Kinston, partly on foot and partly by means of the cars which were sent back to take us up.

From the reports of the captains of my command I obtained the following particulars. There were in-

Killed.Wounded.Missing.
Company A11
Company B11
Company C12
Company D215
Company E1322
Company F, all present
Company G*31
Company H**9
Total4851

* Slightly injured.

** Reported.

Company I.-The majority of this company followed the captain to Jones County.

Company K.-Two commanding officers and all the company but 80 supposed to be in Goldsborough.

{p.259}

The promptness and cheerfulness with which the officers under my command obeyed every order and the courage with which they took and maintained every position assigned them I cannot too favorably notice. In the retreat I discovered that a few men in each company had either lost or abandoned their guns and cartridge boxes.

Very respectfully,

J. A. GILMER, JR., Major, Comdg. Twenty-seventh Regt. North Carolina Troops.

Col. CHARLES C. LEE, Commanding Brigade, North Carolina Troops.

P. S.-It is, perhaps, proper for me to add that about 30 of the Twenty-seventh were detailed to operate Latham’s battery in conjunction with Captain Latham’s company. These 30 men were in the hottest of the engagement, and several of them seriously injured but none killed.

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No. 26.

Report of Lieut. Col. Robert F. Hoke, Thirty-third North Carolina Infantry.

HDQRS. THIRTY-THIRD NORTH CAROLINA REGIMENT, Kinston, N. C., March 18, 1862.

SIR: In accordance with your orders I respectfully submit the following report concerning our orders received from you and the action of our regiment afterward:

After arriving near the breastworks opposite Fort Thompson and taking up camp on Thursday evening (13th) we were ordered by you to remain in that position for further orders.

At daylight on the following morning you in person ordered Colonel Avery to take position in a line of battle about 400 yards to the rear of the brick-yards, with our right wing resting upon the railroad, and were to remain in that position for further orders, we constituting the reserve; and soon after we had formed our regiment and had them to take off their knapsacks, in order to be ready to move with quickness to any point we might be ordered, we were ordered to move forward about 100 yards immediately to the rear of your position, which in the opinion of the field officers of our regiment was a very exposed one and one well selected, as from that point the movements of the enemy could best be seen. Shortly after we reached that point an order was received from you, through Colonel Robinson to Colonel Avery, to send his right wing, in command of Lieutenant-Colonel Hoke, composing five companies, to occupy the intrenchments on the right of the railroad. I immediately faced the right wing to the right and moved off at a double-quick, going through the woods and down the ravines, in order to protect the men as much as possible, as a forward movement down the railroad would have greatly exposed the command.

I halted them in a ravine, ordered four companies to lie down, and intended to place them in the works by company, as I could in that way save the lives of many, as the firing was very hot at that point After placing Company A (Captain Cowan) in position, and having returned and was placing Captain Parks’ company in position, I {p.260} received an order from you to return with the command. I immediately faced Captain Parks’ company about, and was returning with the four companies, when I was met by Colonel Avery and Major Lewis with the remaining five companies, which composed the left wing, coming up in line of battle and in fine order, and was ordered by Colonel Avery to face about and join him. I did so, and the regiment moved up to the scene of action in fine style, Colonel Avery in command of the center, I of the right wing, and Major Lewis of the left. Colonel Avery gave the command to fire before we reached the intrenchments, as the enemy were firing upon us and were in full force upon the top of the hill immediately across the swamp. Our fire seemed to have great effect, as the enemy scampered. Major Lewis then moved immediately to the right of the railroad with several companies and engaged the enemy from that time until after 12 o’clock. He behaved most gallantly; was in the hottest part of the whole battle-field. He repulsed the enemy time and again, and twice charged them with detachments of companies, and each time made them flee.

Our loss was greater at that point than any other, as he had to fight to his front, right, and left, but still maintained his position, fighting them against greater numbers. No one could have behaved with more coolness, bravery, and determination than he, and he deserves the praise of every true countryman for his actions. He reports his men as having done their duty in every manner.

Colonel Avery was in command of the center, on top of the second hill from the railroad, encouraging his men both by actions and words. He was perfectly cool, and never did man act better upon the battlefield than he. His fire was very destructive, and remarked that if he had his regiment together he would charge the rascals over the fallen timber. He received a shot through the top of his cap, and coolly remarked, “Boys, they liked to have gotten me,” but heeded it not, and went on cheering his men.

I was immediately at his right, and finding the enemy were getting in strong force upon our right and were going to turn our right flank, as there were no troops between our regiment and the left of Colonel Vance’s companies upon the right flank of the whole troops, a distance of a quarter of a mile, I moved quickly with Captain Parks’ company, which I had thrown in the woods in a ravine as a reserve to our regiment, with Lieutenant Poteat adjutant, who displayed great coolness during the action, and finding the enemy in great force did not expose my weakness by firing, but sent a messenger to Colonel Avery for another company. He immediately sent me Captain Kesler’s company. I ordered the whole to fire, which did great execution, as the enemy fell and fled, but soon appeared again, and again we drove them back, but soon they again appeared in strong force and engaged us, which continued until 12.30 o’clock. At 12.15 o’clock I saw the United States flag flying upon one of our works, but saw Colonel Avery still fighting, and I, being very busily engaged with the enemy, did not know that Colonel Avery and Major Lewis had fallen back until I saw the enemy upon my left with several regiments (which force caused Colonel Avery and Major Lewis to fall back, as their left was completely turned and the enemy was getting to their rear), and about 50 yards to the rear of the position Colonel Avery had occupied. I then saw for the first time we were driven back, and ordered the men under my command to fall back, but to do so in order. We were hotly fired at when we fell back. I fell back some distance and intended to unite with Colonel Avery and Major Lewis, but found the troops had continued to fall back, so kept {p.261} on and intended to join my regiment at the bridge, but found it on fire, so had to cross Bryce’s Creek; and on getting over learned our troops had made no stand at New Berne; continued the retreat to Trenton, in connection with Colonel Vance, who crossed the creek with me, and learning at Trenton our troops were making a stand at Kinston, made a forced march, and reached that point on Sunday morning about 10 o’clock, which made a march of 50 miles in about thirty-six hours.

Captain Engelhard, quartermaster, Captain Gibson, commissary, and our surgeons, Drs. Baker and Shoffner, all did their duty very well indeed. Dr. Shaffner was of great assistance to me on the march.

We entered the field with 614 men, but lost in killed, wounded, and missing 196. Among this number we have reason to believe our loss in killed and wounded is greater than the number taken as prisoners. Our brave colonel is a prisoner.

Captain Cowan, Company A, was first ordered into the fight and sustained a very heavy loss. His officers acted most bravely, and Private David Phifer is highly spoken of for his bravery before he was killed. He was killed while carrying a message from Major Lewis to Colonel Avery. Private Dolchite is also spoken of in the captain’s report for having thrown away his clothing in order to swim the creek and save his gun. He is a boy of sixteen years of age.

Captain Jenkins, Company B, is reported, as also his officers and men, for having acted well in every particular.

Captain Kesler, Company C, and Lieutenant Corzine and men, acted well. Lieutenant Patterson displayed fear. All the officers and men behaved well except Captain Parker, who left the scene of action too soon.

Captain McIntyre, in the retreat, ordered his men to go home, and Lieutenant Rayle did not report himself at all the morning the regiment left for the engagement. Sergeant Babb and Private Daniel Webb are spoken of by Lieutenant Gatling as having acted well.

Very respectfully, yours,

R. F. HOKE, Lieutenant-Colonel.

General L. O’B. BRANCH.

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No. 27

Report of Col. James Sinclair, Thirty-fifth North Carolina Infantry.

HDQRS. THIRTY-FIFTH REGT. NORTH CAROLINA TROOPS, Kinston, N. C., March 19, 1862.

COLONEL: I have the honor to inform you that on Wednesday, the 12th instant, at 4 p.m., I received orders to march down to Fisher’s Landing, to oppose the landing of the enemy at that place, reported to be in force with his fleet down the river.

I left New Berne, according to orders, at 6.30 p.m., with my command, by railroad, and arrived at the point designated at 8 o’clock that night about 9 miles below the town. At the time I arrived there was sufficient moonlight to enable me to see that the enemy in heavy force was not far distant. I could distinctly hear the music of his bands and even the singing of his men on the fleet. Making Fisher’s Landing my center, I posted pickets on each side of the landing, extending 3 miles {p.262} from my center. I posted the balance of my regiment along the rifle pits and breastworks guarding the landing, holding one company in reserve at the landing proper. During the night a heavy rain set in, thoroughly drenching my men, who were without cover or shelter.

Early on the morning of the 13th the enemy commenced landing in heavy force some 2 or 3 miles below my pickets. A company of cavalry and a regiment which I was promised would support me did not make their appearance; consequently, having had orders to oppose the debarkation of the enemy at Fisher’s Lauding, I was unable to prevent him below. By this means the Croatan breastworks fell into his hands. During the landing of the enemy his gunboats continued shelling the woods.

At 10 a.m. he approached Fisher’s Landing with his boats, throwing shell and canister as he came, steaming sufficiently nigh to hear the conversation of his men on board. About this time Colonel Campbell, of the Seventh Regiment, my senior officer, made his appearance on the ground (not with his regiment, however), and, having carefully surveyed my position and the force of the enemy, ordered me to fall back into the woods beyond reach of the enemy’s fire, which I did, with my command in good order, by way of Fisher’s avenue. In retiring I had 3 of my men wounded by the enemy’s shells, one of whom has since been reported dead.

After forming in the woods near the railroad Colonel Campbell ordered me to fall back on the Fort Thompson intrenchments, where I was ordered to take position on the right of the Seventh Regiment North Carolina troops. Here, under a heavy rain, we remained all night of the 13th instant, without food, after having been all the night previous exposed to a continuous rain, nearly three hours of the day exposed to the enemy’s fire, besides marching for several hours, having tasted no food from the evening we left New Berne. Posted on my right was the Militia, resting on the railroad by the brick-yard, where the enemy afterward made his strongest demonstration.

According to the disposition made on the morning of the 14th instant before the engagement took place, my command was divided by a section of Brem’s battery and Captain Whitehurst’s independent company separating my right wing from my center and left wing. On my right a space of about 40 yards intervening [between] the Militia and the railroad was still left vacant; besides, a trench that ran parallel with the railroad of about 60 or 80 yards was unoccupied by our troops.

In this condition of affairs the battle opened about 7.30 a.m. by the firing of a gun from the enemy’s field batteries planted in front-of the old county road, which fire was replied to by Brem’s and Latham’s batteries. Immediately the enemy opened with musketry from the county road above referred to, which was replied to by my regiment, with others to the left. The enemy advanced twice upon the breastworks occupied by me, which advances were repelled each time.

At 10 a.m. he appeared in force on the railroad and on the right of my position, and, the Militia having retired and the trench above referred to being occupied by him in force, as also were the buildings in the brick-yard, I found my command completely flanked.

At this time, however, my second in command, with out consulting me, ordered four of my companies on the right wing to fall back, which I rallied and ordered back to their post, which they immediately did, and held it for some time. The fire of the enemy becoming more galling on my right flank, they again retired, by command of my lieutenant-colonel, {p.263} who, with one company and portions of other companies at my command, formed in rear of my center.

Meantime I had dispatched my adjutant to Colonel Campbell, my commanding officer, to communicate to him the real condition of my regiment-exposed to the flanking fire of the enemy. The colonel having arrived and having surveyed my position, and the section of Brem’s battery near me having by this time ceased to fire, he ordered me to retire with my command in the following words: “You had better take your men out of that as quick as possible”; which order I immediately obeyed. In retiring, however, one of my officers and several of my men were killed and some wounded. This created somewhat of a panic, as the enemy were firing upon us from the railroad and brick-yard; but soon my men rallied and retired in perfect order till we reached that portion of the railroad intersected by the county road, where I formed them into line ready to advance to meet the foe if called upon.

Colonel Lane’s regiment, having arrived at this time, relieved me, and I fell back upon New Berne by the railroad bridge.

I again formed my men at the railroad depot, waiting for orders, where Lieutenant-Colonel Barbour, of the Thirty-seventh, having in charge some fragments of his regiment, informed me that the orders were to fall back by the Kinston road. This I did in perfect order, until some officers who were retiring with speed along the road informed me that the enemy’s cavalry were in force in the rear. At this juncture Company D, of my regiment, volunteered to become the rear guard of the entire force. Colonel Lee, of the Thirty-seventh, kindly volunteered to command the rear guard, in order to permit me to attend to the balance of my regiment, who were jaded and broken down by exposure, fasting, fighting, and marching since the evening of the 12th instant. My presence was demanded with my regiment by the fact that on the first alarm of the enemy’s cavalry being in close proximity my lieutenant-colonel deserted his regiment and sought safety for himself. The alarm proving false the guard was dismissed, and I conducted my regiment to Tuscarora, where I joined portions of the Twenty-seventh and Thirty-seventh Regiments and fragments from the other regiments engaged in the affair of the 14th instant, and took command until the arrival of General Branch.

In conclusion I have only to add that, with the exception above referred to, all my officers and men behaved well.

Special praise is due to Company D, commanded by Captain Lasater, for the alacrity with which they volunteered to defend our retreating columns when the enemy’s cavalry was reported to be upon us.

I am indebted for efficient services to Maj. O. C. Pettway and Adjt. Thomas J. Oates.

Casualties of the battle: One officer, Lieutenant Hale, and 4 privates were killed, 11 privates wounded, and 9 missing.

I have the honor to be, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES SINCLAIR, Colonel, Commanding.

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No. 28.

Report of Col. Charles C. Lee, Thirty-seventh North Carolina Infantry.

MARCH 16, 1862.

GENERAL: In compliance with your orders I herewith submit respectfully {p.264} to you a report of the left wing at the battle at Johnston’s Cross-Roads:

On Wednesday afternoon, at about 5 o’clock, I received from you notice that the enemy were advancing up the river, and later the same information was received by Captain Herring. I rode down to the batteries and ordered everything in readiness.

At 10 p.m. I got notice from you of my command, and immediately issued orders to all to be in readiness and gave them appropriate instructions. Under these Captain Brem packed up his baggage and it has been saved. Captain Brem was afterward transferred to Colonel Campbell’s command, and will report through him.

Thursday the enemy spent the day in shelling the woods below, and toward evening some of the men built fires (which were immediately extinguished), when our lines were shelled for about one and a half hours, without injury to any one.

About 8 p.m. notice was sent you of signals on our right flank.

About 7.30 a.m. on the 14th we fired a 12-pounder gun at the enemy, and a few minutes afterward the battle commenced in earnest. A warm attack was made at the Beaufort road; but Captain Latham’s artillery was fired with such precision that they made no advance, though they kept up a constant fire here during the whole engagement. The piece on the left hand of the Beaufort road was commanded by Captain Latham in person, and after all his men except 3 were either killed or dangerously wounded and rendered unfit for service, the piece was served effectively for some twenty minutes, until the day was lost, when he barely escaped. After the attempt on the Beaufort road the foe flanked to the right and moved in heavy column toward our left flank; but having given notice to Colonel Crossan of their approach, he opened on them with grape from three 32-pounders with such terrible effect that after about six shots they fell back; and though they kept up a constant and warm fire, they made no advance toward the work.

Some time after this the firing became hotter, when I received from you an order to send some re-enforcements to Colonel Campbell. I ordered the left wing of my regiment to his support and made further arrangements to cover my own flank. The men of the Twenty-seventh and Thirty-seventh Regiments did not fire a shot except a few who were armed with long-range rifles, and this ominous silence was properly appreciated. The men of these regiments, and also of Fort Thompson, appeared always cool and deliberate. While the left wing of the Thirty-seventh moved over to the right they were subjected to a galling fire and suffered to some extent. (See inclosed report of Lieutenant-Colonel Barbour.) Major Gilmer, of the Twenty-seventh, and Lieutenant-Colonel Barbour, of the Thirty-seventh, moved from place to place within the limits of their respective commands, and by their presence and example encouraged their commands very much. One piece-the right piece-in Fort Thompson, which bears on the land, was dismounted, but mounted again by Captain Herring and the carriage properly repaired. Five men in the fort were wounded; none, I believe, dangerously.

Shortly after the left wing of the Thirty-seventh was sent to Colonel Campbell’s aid, I observed his regiment moving rapidly to the rear through Colonel Vance’s camp. I galloped over and demanded where they were going, when I was informed that they were in full retreat. I hastened back and saw the enemy advancing upon our works. Feeling assured that the regiments which were retreating could not be rallied, I ordered my command to fall back, and passed on to the batteries to {p.265} look after them. While in Fort Thompson (two and a half minutes) five shots struck the upper portion of the right flank of the works and two shells fell within the works, without effect. The guns were all spiked, but the enemy pressed so closely that there was not time to blow up the magazine, being within about 30 or 40 yards when we had spiked the guns. I then went to the other batteries and had the guns dismounted and the magazines blown up.

In blowing up the magazine at Fort Ellis, Captain Mayo was seriously (I fear dangerously) wounded, and one other man. All the men of the left wing were saved, and retreated over to New Berne in tolerable order. One man of Colonel Sloan’s Twenty-seventh Regiment was killed.

When I crossed over to New Berne I found some of the regiments had passed beyond, and I was thus prevented from carrying out your order to form in the upper part of the town. As I advanced up the Trent road to Kinston I overtook Colonel Sinclair’s regiment, and a foolish report having got afloat that the enemy had landed cavalry, which were in pursuit, I requested and obtained from Colonel Sinclair a rear guard, which I formed, and we then moved on to the railroad crossing, where it was merged with the regiment, and proceeded up to Tuscarora.

Lieut. C. H. Brown, of Captain Latham’s battery, was on several occasions on the left wing, and acted with great coolness; indeed, almost with foolhardiness. Lieutenant Nicholson, my adjutant, and Mr. Noble, who was acting as my aide, also displayed coolness; but no occasion for gallantry presented itself to any one in the left wing.

I am, general, respectfully,

CHARLES C. LEE, Col. 37th Regt. North Carolina Troops, Comdg. Left Wing.

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No. 29.

Report of Lieut. Col. William M. Barbour, Thirty-seventh North Carolina Infantry.

- -, 1862.

I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Thirty-seventh Regiment in the recent engagement near New Berne:

Pursuant to orders from Brigadier-General Branch I moved with my command at 3 o’clock Thursday morning and occupied that portion of our line on the left of the old Beaufort road. During the day shells were thrown frequently from the enemy’s gunboats at our position without any damage to us.

On Friday morning about daylight the enemy appeared in full force in front of our lines, partially concealed by the woods, and immediately opened a heavy fire of artillery and musketry upon us. The fire was promptly returned by Captain Latham’s battery, stationed in and near the Beaufort road, with great effect. Immediately the enemy attempted a flank movement on our left, for the purpose of storming Fort Thompson. This movement was at once defeated by a destructive fire from the land batteries of Fort Thompson. During the remaining portion of the action the enemy kept up an incessant fire on the position occupied by my command.

{p.266}

A short time before 12 o’clock I was ordered to send five companies of my regiment to the support of Colonel Campbell’s brigade, which was at that time hard pressed. I immediately moved the following companies to the designated point: Company D, under Captain Ashcraft; Company B, under Lieutenant Cook; Company E, under Lieutenant Farthing; Company C, under Lieutenant Gillespie, and Company K, under Captain Rosse. Great credit is due to these companies for the promptness and bravery with which they moved under a very heavy fire of artillery and infantry for some 400 yards. A short time after they marched to the designated point our center near the railroad had given away. After a short and spirited contest these companies were ordered by Colonel Campbell to retire, which was done in good order.

About this time I observed the forces toward our center retreating, but I considered it my duty to hold my position until I was ordered to retreat. Colonel Lee rode toward the center to ascertain the meaning of these movements, and on his return informed me that the center was in full retreat, and directed me at once to fall back. I at once proceeded with my remaining five companies toward the railroad bridge, and at the point where the Beaufort road crosses the railroad I found the five companies which had been sent to the right drawn up in line of battle and awaiting the arrival of the remaining five companies. I inquired of General Branch what I should do with my regiment, and was directed to cross the railroad bridge and form in New Berne across the track. As soon as I reached that point I found this impracticable, for the reason that the houses in that part of the town were built to the water’s edge, and I could only have formed a line of battle some 15 feet in length; I therefore moved my regiment to the depot and halted it. I soon afterward saw Colonel Robinson, General Branch’s acting assistant adjutant-general, and inquired where he desired me to move my regiment. He directed me to move toward Kinston. I therefore marched my regiment in good order out of New Berne toward Kinston. When we reached the point where the Kinston road intersects the railroad an alarm was raised by some of the cavalry that the enemy’s cavalry were in pursuit. Finding a number of men (not in my command) throwing away their guns, I rode to the rear and informed them that it was a false alarm, and begged them to keep the road and act like men. I remained at that point until near sundown, when I proceeded to Tuscarora Depot, 8 miles from New Berne. During the night the troops were brought by railroad to Kinston.

The men under my command behaved with great coolness and deliberation during the entire day, retreated in good order, and brought with them all their guns and ammunition. We could easily have saved our baggage if we had had wagons, but having only two small vehicles, I knew it was useless to attempt it. It was, however, all burned, to prevent it from falling into the hands of the enemy.

When our regiment was ordered to retreat the enemy had crossed the breastworks in the center and in three minutes would have had us completely cut off.

Most of the missing have since been heard from and will rejoin the regiment.*

Respectfully, yours,

WILL. M. BARBOUR, Lieutenant-Colonel, Thirty-seventh Regiment, N. C. Troops.

* Nominal list of casualties omitted; embodied in tabular statement, p. 247.

{p.267}

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No. 30.

Report of Col. H. J. B. Clark, Special Battalion North Carolina Militia.

HDQRS. NORTH CAROLINA MILITIA, SPECIAL BATTALION, Kinston, Y. C., March 17, 1862.

SIR: In compliance with your instructions, received at New Berne 9 p.m. March 13, to report to Colonel Campbell at his headquarters, at Fort Thompson breastworks, I respectfully report that I repaired forthwith to that place, accompanied by Maj. Joseph N. Jones, but did not find Colonel Campbell.

Major Jones called at Colonel Vance’s encampment and was informed there that Colonel Campbell had gone in the direction of New Berne. Proceeding thence to New Berne, by way of Colonel Lee’s encampment, went to Colonel Campbell’s encampment, and reported, in his absence, to Lieut. Col. E. G. Haywood, who directed me to report for duty at the depot of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad in New Berne on the following day, 5 a.m. The company was promptly reported and left New Berne at 8 a.m., and arriving at the breastworks was assigned position.

On the following morning, March 14, my command was placed in line of battle, numbering 264, 20 having been detailed for hospital duty and 45 to aid Lieutenant Hawks in mounting cannon on the right of the breastworks. These last were forced from the works by the enemy’s sharpshooters and came to the ranks after the action commenced.

As soon as the firing commenced the ground in front of me was so obscured by smoke that I could see but a short distance, and as firing had commenced on my left with guns of longer range, as soon as I thought the enemy within reach of my guns commenced the fire by file, which order was promptly obeyed with coolness and determination. After firing three rounds I commanded the fire to cease. Soon after the smoke cleared away and the enemy were plainly seen drawn up in force on our right, and a company of sharpshooters commenced pouring a fire into our rear, doing considerable execution and causing confusion in my ranks, but an order to rally and take position was promptly obeyed, and calmness restored by the assurance that you would soon send re-enforcements; but the fire was continued on us and with redoubled energy, while they (the enemy) crossed the railroad, took possession of the rifle pits on our right and rear, and planted the Stars and Stripes.

Previous to this, however, they had fired upon a reconnoitering party I sent in that direction and upon the quartermaster and teamsters I had sent to recover the ammunition.

I at one time intended to leave the breastworks and charge upon the enemy, and for this purpose caused bayonets to be fixed; but when I saw the sharpshooters were supported by so large a force of the enemy, concluded that such attempt would result in great loss of life to my command without being able to effect corresponding good to our cause, and that a failure might have an evil effect on others. At this moment, and just as Colonel Vance poured his first fire into the enemy, a panic seized my command and part of them broke ranks.

Believing it impossible to reform under the fire of these sharpshooters at this moment of confusion I commanded a retreat in order, which was succeeded by a stampede of most of the command. As soon as they had reached a small brush-wood, perhaps 60 yards distant, I {p.268} ordered a rally and reformation of the line, in which I was promptly aided by every officer present to my view and for the moment thought I should succeed, but the cry was made that the regulars had retreated; the panic was renewed and increased and my influence as a commander gone.

A few, perhaps 20 in all, with their officers, rallied and volunteered to return and obey my orders; but believing it would involve a sacrifice of life to them, being untutored, as we were, in the arts of war, I declined to do so, and in my efforts to rally others to join them became separated from these.

In the retreat I joined you at the railroad crossing, when you proposed to rally and cover the retreat. There I rallied a squad of the Athens Guards and Cow Creek Volunteers, with most of their officers; but soon the retreating column came on and this joined with them.

Leaving you there I went, together with Adjutant Roberts and Lieutenant Mitchell, to burn the tents at Colonel Lee’s encampment. From this point we went to Trent (Clairmont) Bridge and found Major Hall making an effort to reform a regiment, and at his request took position on the bridge, to prevent soldiers passing, and remained there until an officer, said to be Lieutenant Burrows, took charge. At the close of the day I parted with you at Tuscarora, having received orders to rally my command and report at this place.

I have made as accurate report to Colonel Campbell of the number of my command in action, of the number killed, wounded, and missing, as I could gather from the commanders of companies. It is believed there were certainly 4 killed and 15 wounded, and there are many missing.

Respectfully,

H. J. B. CLARK, Colonel, Commanding.

Brig. Gen. L. O’B. BRANCH, District of Pamlico.

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No. 31.

Report of Lieut. J. L. Haughton, Macon Mounted Guards.

KINSTON, N. C., March 16, 1862.

According to orders from Brigadier-General Branch I left the Thompson breastworks at 8.30 p.m. on the 13th instant with 10 of my men, and proceeded to Evans’ Mill to establish a picket guard, which I did, but did not see anything worth reporting.

The next morning a little before day I, with my men, proceeded to the bridge on the road leading from Captain Evans’ to Croatan Battery. At light we commenced cutting it away, and after clearing it I then sent my men some 300 yards in a bottom. I then set fire to the abutment of the bridge and all the plank that would have been of service to the enemy.

All the while I was cutting and burning their pickets were firing upon us at a great rate. I encouraged my men all I could, so they stood until I sent them off. After seeing the last of the bridge I then made an attempt to rejoin my company, but was cut off by their picket. I attempted the second time by a new route, but met with like fate. I then made a third trial, and after going for more than a mile I came {p.269} across a negro, belonging to Dr. Curtis, of New Berne, who was trying to make his escape from the enemy, as he was tired of living with them. I stopped to ask him some questions, and he told me not to go any farther or else I should be taken. I then countermarched my men, and as they turned balls fell around us as fast as hailstones. We retired in perfect order. I had not gone far before we found ourselves surrounded. My only chance then was to charge upon their pickets. It happened just at that time the firing had ceased at the battery, and the picket supposing that we were cavalry in pursuit of them, so they ran from us faster than we from them. I then made my escape through Trenton, reaching Kinston at sunup Sunday morning completely exhausted, both men and horses.

Very respectfully submitted.

J. L. HAUGHTON, Second Lieutenant Macon Mounted Guards.

Capt. P. G. EVANS, Kinston, N. C.

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MARCH 20-21, 1862.–Expedition to Washington, N. C.

Report of Col. Thomas G. Stevenson, Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry.

NEW BERNE, March 23, 1862.

Agreeably to orders received from General Foster I embarked the Twenty-fourth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers on the 19th instant en board the steamer Guide, and on the morning of the 20th, at 7 o’clock, got under way for Washington. Followed the gunboats Delaware, Louisiana, and Commodore Barney. At 7 o’clock same evening came to anchor off the mouth of the Pamlico River. The next morning at daylight we again got under way, and at 10 o’clock arrived at within about 6 miles of Washington, when we discovered their deserted batteries without guns, two on the south bank of the river and the other one on the north. We also discovered here a barricade, consisting of piles cut off about 3 feet below the surface. As I found it would be impossible to carry the steamer Guide up to the city even if the barrier was removed, on account of her drawing too much water, I went on board the steamer Delaware and conferred with Captain Quackenbush, who kindly offered to take two companies up in his steamer; and as the mayor, who had come down to meet us, assured us that there were no troops in the city and as all signs confirmed this statement, I placed Companies I and G on board the Delaware and steamed up to the city, where we found a large number of persons on the wharves. I landed the two companies and marched to the court-house, where we nailed the Stars and Stripes to a flag-pole which we found in front of the courthouse. The band played national airs and the men cheered. We then marched through some of the principal streets and returned to the boat. While in the city not a man left the ranks or behaved otherwise than as if on drill.

I was glad to notice considerable Union sentiment expressed by the inhabitants. From quite a number of houses we were saluted by waving handkerchiefs, and from one the national flag, with the motto, “The Union and the Constitution,” was displayed. A large number of the inhabitants expressed a wish that sufficient force could be sent there to protect them against the rebels.

{p.270}

On returning to the steamer Guide we found that Professor Mallefert had blown up the barrier, so as to clear a channel some 60 feet wide. At 6 o’clock same evening weighed anchor and started for New Berne, where we arrived on the afternoon of the following day (21st instant).

Your obedient servant,

THOS. G. STEVENSON, Colonel Twenty-fourth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers.

Capt. SOUTHARD HOFFMAN, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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MARCH 23-APRIL 26, 1862.–Siege of Fort Macon, N. C.

REPORTS.

No. 1.–Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, U. S. Army.
No. 2.–Brig. Gen. John G. Parke, U. S. Army.
No. 3.–Lieut. Daniel W. Flagler, U. S. Ordnance Department.
No. 4.–Lieut. Merrick F. Prouty, Twenty-fifth Massachusetts Infantry.
No. 5.–Capt. Lewis O. Morris, First U. S. Artillery.
No. 6.–Col. Isaac P. Rodman, Fourth Rhode Island Infantry.
No. 7.–Lieut. William J. Andrews, Ninth New York Infantry, Acting Signal Officer.
No. 8.–Col. Moses J. White, C. S. Army.

No. 1.

Reports of Maj. Gen. Ambrose B. Burnside, U. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, New Berne, N. C., April 17, 1862.

I have the honor to report the following movements in this department since my last dispatch:

Owing to the absence of engines and cars on the railroad and the burning of the bridges by the enemy the work of General Parke at Fort Macon has proved to be exceedingly difficult. The rebuilding of the bridges was necessarily done under the protection of a large guard, and the enemy’s cavalry made frequent visits to the road, and I have no cavalry to compete with them. Our losses have been but slight during the work, amounting in all to some 10 or 12 pickets.

Oh the 7th instant Colonel Egloffstein, One hundred and third New York, was ordered to make a reconnaissance up the Trent in the direction of Onslow County, and I afterward ordered him to continue his reconnaissance down the road leading from Trenton to Core Sound, at the mouth of White Oak River, and then to proceed up the shore of Core Sound and communicate with General Parke at Morehead City. This I did with a hope that we might be able to catch a portion of the enemy’s cavalry, the headquarters of which were at Swansborough, from whence they sent detachments over to the railroad, thus making the duty of guarding the 36 miles of railroad from this place to Carolina City very onerous. The colonel started with 200 picked men, two days’ rations, and no transportation, with instructions to ration his men from supplies found on the route. He yesterday reached General Parke’s headquarters, having had several skirmishes with the {p.271} enemy, in which he captured some 23 prisoners, 80 horses, and quite a quantity of pistols, sabers, &c. Among the prisoners captured was Colonel Robinson, formerly of our Army, and son-in-law of Captain Macrae.

I have been thus minute in these details to show you how necessary a regiment of cavalry is to me at this point, and I sincerely hope there will not be a moment’s delay in sending me a well-organized regiment.

General Parke has now succeeded in getting on the banks in rear of Fort Macon with the main body of his command and two mortar batteries and one 30-pounder Parrott gun. The enemy’s pickets have been driven in and all communication with the garrison from the outside cut off. The enemy’s shots thus far have done us but little harm, wounding only 2 men. There are three naval vessels outside cooperating with us, and I hope to reduce the fort within ten days.

The re-enforcements spoken of have arrived, and I have formed the brigades of Generals Foster and Reno into divisions, which now occupy this place and its suburbs. I am building just in rear of the town an inclosed bastioned field work capable of holding 1,000 men and mounting thirty guns, which work will be finished in a few days, after which I propose to build another small four-gun work for two companies to the right of this first work and near the Neuse. These forts completely command the town, and will enable me to leave it with a small force when I move up the country. My advance now on the railroad is at Batchelder’s Creek, where we are rebuilding the railroad bridge burned by the enemy, and I have made corresponding advances in the direction of Kinston, on the Neuse and Trent Rivers, which positions have been maintained, with occasional disturbances in the way of picket tiring.

On the morning of the 7th some 600 of our men from Roanoke Island were sent to Elizabeth City and succeeded in capturing all the pickets in the neighborhood of that place, amounting to 74 men and 100 stand of arms. Since then the enemy’s force has been increased at that point to two regiments and a field battery of four guns. I have organized, in conjunction with Commodore Rowan, an expedition against that place, and if we succeed in capturing or driving the enemy back we shall move up to South Mills and blow up the lock of the canal, and then proceed up to the head of the Currituck Canal and blow in its banks, thus rendering it impossible for the gunboats, which are said to be building at Norfolk, to come into these waters. I hope the expedition will be successful.

The regiments of my original command are much decreased by sickness and casualties in battle, and the recruiting service having been stopped, I shall not be able to fill them up. My command now consists of twenty regiments, one battalion, and a battery, making an aggregate of about 15,000, distributed as follows: Three regiments at Roanoke, a half regiment at Hatteras Inlet, three regiments and a battalion with General Parke and on the road, and thirteen and a half regiments with the battery at this place.

The engines and cars for which we made requisition immediately after the battle have not yet arrived, and as the re-enforcements sent me brought no wagons with them we are absolutely crippled for want of transportation.

I sincerely hope there will be no delay in forwarding me the regiment of cavalry and two batteries of artillery, together with the engines, cars, and wagons already required for.

{p.272}

The enemy continues in force at Kinston, but I feel quite sure I can dislodge them after the fall of Fort Macon.

I have made the above statement in reference to my forces in order that the Department may know what I have to work with, and if in what I may have to do more re-enforcements are necessary they may be sent at once.

I have the honor to be, your most obedient servant,

A. E. BURNSIDE, Major-General, Commanding Department of North Carolina.

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, New Berne, N. C., April 20, 1862.

I have the honor to state that since my last report I have visited General Parke’s force investing Fort Macon and found the work progressing very rapidly, considering the obstructions that have to be overcome. After transporting all the batteries, ammunition, supplies, &c., 36 miles by hand cars, they have to be transported by water some three miles and a half through a tortuous channel, with only 2 feet water at high tide. Flats loaded with supplies are sometimes a day and a half making this short trip. These supplies then have to be loaded on wagons and transported near 4 miles through deep sand to where the trenches are established. The farthest of our batteries, which consists of four 10-inch mortars, is but 1,200 yards from the fort. The battery of 30-pounder Parrott guns and the 8-inch mortar battery are still farther in advance, so that these supplies have all to be transported at night, as the train for a half mile or more would be, if visible, under the direct fire of the fort. The working parties and teams are kept busy every night, and the general has been able to keep some small parties at work during the day under cover of the guard of the trenches, but has had to exercise great care in protecting his men, in which thus far he has been very successful, losing in his whole force-killed, wounded, and missing-but 9 men, and 1 captain wounded (Sheffield, of Fourth Rhode Island*). Some ninety cannon-shot from the fort and considerable musketry fire, which occurred on one morning, wounded but 2 of our men, while we killed and wounded with our rifles 8 of theirs and drove their pickets inside the fort.

On my visit yesterday to the trenches with my staff the ambulance in which we traveled to within a mile of the fort attracted the attention of their lookout on the flag-staff, which caused a battery to open upon us as we passed to and from the batteries, of which I was afterward very glad, as it demonstrated to me that their firing is very wild.

Our batteries, guns, &c., are now about completed and the pieces in position. The work has been most skillfully conducted under the direction of Captain Williamson, topographical engineer, and Lieutenant Flagler, of the Ordnance Corps.

I came up for the purpose of carrying down through Core Sound two of our floating batteries, with four 30-pounder rifled Parrott guns mounted thereon, which I propose to anchor, together with the gunboat Ellis, with an 80-pounder rifled gun, just in front of the fort, opposite the town of Beaufort. The Navy co-operates from the outside {p.273} with three steamers and a sailing vessel. I have ordered General Parke to advance some 400 of his best marksmen in front of the land batteries to within some 500 or 600 yards of the fort, to annoy their cannoneers. The reduction of the fort is, I think, only a question of time.

I sent General Reno up beyond Elizabeth City to destroy the locks in the Dismal Swamp Canal, and to use his discretion as to other operations in the direction of Norfolk, and with a view to creating a diversion in favor of McClellan, and I hope to hear of the successful termination of his expedition within two days.

General Foster, who is in immediate command here, is pushing his outposts in the direction of Kinston as rapidly as the present force here will admit. He has also, besides building the railroad bridges across the Trent and Batchelder’s Creek, fortified this city in the rear, so that it can be held by a small force when we advance up the country or down the coast.

Our sick list is not decreasing. I hope the Governors of States from which my regiments have been drawn may be authorized to fill them up to the maximum number of 1,000 men each. With the present strength of the regiments our men are worked very hard.

I would again urgently but respectfully request of the Department one good regiment of cavalry, two light batteries of artillery, and the transportation required by my chief quartermaster. The engines, cars, and wagons are absolutely necessary to us here.

Captain Cuffing, one of my quartermasters, will bear this to you, and explain to you our wants more fully than I can write in this hurried way.

I have the honor to be, your very obedient servant,

A. E. BURNSIDE, Major-General, Commanding Department of North Carolina.

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.

* Properly, Eighth Connecticut.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, New Berne, April 29, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to make the following hasty report of the fall of Fort Macon, on Saturday, the 26th instant. The detailed report of the siege will be made in due time by Brigadier-General Parke, who conducted it:

I arrived at the straits leading into Beaufort Harbor on the afternoon of the 23d instant, and immediately after sent the inclosed demand for the surrender of the fort to Colonel White, the answer to which is inclosed herewith.

On the morning of the 24th I communicated with General Parke, and ascertained that a few more preparations remained to be made in the trenches before the firing commenced. The armament in the trenches consisted of four batteries, as follows: Prouty’s battery, 1,200 yards from the fort, consisting of four 8-inch mortars; Morris’ battery, 1,300 yards from the fort, consisting of three 30-pounder rifled Parrott guns; Flagler’s battery, 1,600 yards from the fort, consisting of four 10-inch mortars; Caswell’s battery, 1,200 yards from the fort, consisting of one 12-pounder Dahlgren rifled boat howitzer.

On the afternoon of the 24th I sent an order to General Parke to open fire as soon as possible, which he did at 5 o’clock on the morning {p.274} of the 25th instant and kept it up until 4 o’clock p.m., throwing 1,100 shot and shell, of which 560 struck the fort, dismounting 17 guns, killing 8 men, and wounding 26 others.

About 7.30 in the morning the naval vessels came into action, and continued their fire until the high winds made it so rough outside the bar they were compelled to withdraw. I beg to refer you to the report of the commander of the fleet for more definite information, but I will add that their fire was well directed and was of material aid in the reduction of the fort. The intrepidity with which the vessels were brought within close range of the fort in a sea rolling to a fearful extent commanded the admiration of all who witnessed the sight.

In the mean time the officers and men who accompanied me, aided by Lieutenant Franklin and Midshipman Porter, of the Navy, were getting Nichols’ and Baxter’s two floating batteries, with four rifled Parrott 30-pounder guns and one Wiard 12-pounder gun into position, but only one of them was able to participate in the conflict in consequence of the high winds.

At 4 o’clock p.m. a flag of truce was hoisted on the parapets, when our batteries ceased firing, and a party coming from the fort bearing a white flag was met by a party from the trenches, when it was ascertained that Colonel White had sent the flag for the purpose of knowing upon what terms he could surrender the fort. General Parke was sent for, and upon coming up he informed the bearer of the flag that the surrender must be unconditional. They informed him of the terms I had offered to Colonel White before the fire had opened and requested a cessation of hostilities until I could be communicated with, which was granted by General Parke; and he sent a message to me stating that Colonel White desired to know on what conditions he could surrender the fort, and without knowing the answer given by him I sent a reply allowing the same conditions I had offered before the firing commenced. There was a very great delay in sending this answer, owing to the fact that it had to be borne part of the way by water, while the wind and tide were so strong that it was almost impossible to move a boat against them.

In the mean time General Parke started for my boat, reaching there at 4 a.m. on the 26th. He had met my answer on the way, but deferred communicating it to Colonel White until he had seen me. Upon consultation we agreed that if an unconditional surrender was demanded the enemy would in all probability stand one day’s more bombardment, thereby occasioning an additional destruction of property in the fort, and inasmuch as I have always intended to release them on their parole if they surrendered, as I did the prisoners taken on Roanoke Island, we did not think it wise to allow a technicality in negotiating to prevent us from accomplishing the same result in a less time, and thereby prevent an additional destruction of life and property. The answer was communicated to Colonel White early on the morning of the 26th, soon after which he came on board my boat, where he and General Parke arranged the inclosed terms of capitulation.

We immediately landed at the fort, went up to the trenches, brought the guard that was in them to the fort, and placed them as a guard on the glacis. The garrison of the fort marched out as prisoners of war and stacked their arms on the glacis, after which Colonel White lowered the rebel flag, which was taken possession of by General Parke, who hoisted in its stead an American flag which was found in the fort. The prisoners then signed their paroles and were embarked on vessels with their private property, such as clothing, bedding, &c., and have {p.275} been transported-some to Wilmington, others to Beaufort, and the remainder to this place.

By this surrender we come into possession of the fort and its armament of 54 guns, 400 prisoners, a large amount of ammunition, commissary, and quartermaster’s stores, some 40 horses with their equipments, 500 stand of rifles and muskets with full equipments, and a considerable amount of implements incident to the complete equipment of a fort, besides opening one of the best harbors on the Southern coast.

Of the skill, courage, and endurance displayed in this siege I will allow General Parke to speak in his detailed report. The result proves that the work was conducted by the right man. I inclose my congratulatory order.

I beg to make a further explanation of my reasons for determining to release these prisoners whenever the fort should be taken. I am becoming daily more convinced that the release of our prisoners at Roanoke Island was of material advantage to us; and as a large majority of the men in the fort were from the counties bordering on the sound, which are more strongly Union than any other counties in this State, many of them being Union men themselves and nearly all of them anxious to get to their homes, I felt sure that it would create a much better impression in this community, and thereby strengthen our cause, by releasing them on parole than by sending them to the North. Another important reason for coming to this decision was, the sending them North would deprive me of considerable transportation, which is very valuable to me here now.

During the siege and bombardment I have been aided in communicating with General Parke not only by my own staff, but by almost every member of the staff of Generals Foster, Reno, and Parke.

I am sorry to record the loss of 1 man killed and 2 wounded from our side on the day of the bombardment. The names will be given by General Parke in his detailed report.

I have the honor to be, your very obedient servant,

A. E. BURNSIDE, Major-General, Commanding Department of North Carolina.

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

[Inclosures.]

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Core Sound, April 23, 1862.

Col. MOSES J. WHITE, Commanding Fort Macon:

COLONEL: I have arrived here with additional means of attacking your position. General Parke is now ready, but by my orders there has not been a single shot fired at the fort by the army. I deem it my duty to again summon you to surrender the place in its present condition, in which case you and your garrison will be allowed to return to your homes on parole.

This proposition is made with a view to saving human life. Should you not accept these terms, the consequences of an attack and an assault must rest upon you.

Capt. Herman Biggs, my chief quartermaster, bears this, and will return with an answer. Lieut. E. N. Strong accompanies him.

I have the honor to be, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. E. BURNSIDE, Major-General Commanding.

{p.276}

HEADQUARTERS, Fort Macon, April 23, 1862.

Maj. Gen. AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE, U. S. A.:

SIR: Your letter per flag of truce is received, demanding surrender of Fort Macon. In reply I have to say I decline the surrender.

Lieut. Daniel Cogdell will bear this note to you.

By order of Col. M. J. White:

ROBT. E. WALKER, Acting Adjutant.

Terms of Capitulation.

The following are the terms of capitulation agreed upon for the surrender to the forces of the United States of Fort Macon, Bogue Banks, N. C.:

ARTICLE 1. The fort, armament, and garrison to be surrendered to the forces of the United States.

ARTICLE 2. The officers and men of the garrison to be released on their parole of honor not to take up arms against the United States of America until properly exchanged, and to return to their homes, taking with them all their private effects, such as clothing, bedding, books, &c.

M. J. WHITE, Colonel, C. S. Army, Commanding Fort Macon. SAML. LOCKWOOD, Commanding U. S. Navy, and Senior Officer. JNO. G. PARKE, Brig. Gen. Vols., Commanding Third Division, Dept. N. C.

FORT MACON, N. C., April 26, 1862.

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 29.}

HDQRS. DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, Beaufort Harbor, April 26, 1862.

The general commanding takes peculiar pleasure in expressing his thankfulness to General Parke and his brave command for the patient labor, fortitude, and courage displayed in the investment and reduction of Fort Macon.

Every patriot heart will be filled with gratitude to God for having given to our beloved country such soldiers.

The regiments and artillery companies engaged have fairly earned the right to wear upon their colors and guidons the words, “Fort Macon, April 26, 1862.”

By command of Major-General Burnside:

LEWIS RICHMOND, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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No. 2.

Reports of Brig. Gen. John G. Parke, U. S. Army.

HDQRS. THIRD BRIGADE, DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, Carolina City, March 23, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that I reached this point last evening after a severe march from the landing on Slocum’s Creek with a portion of my command.

{p.277}

Hearing that the enemy had burned the railroad bridge over Newport River I hurried off, in order to save the county road bridge. This we succeeded in doing. We also secured some log quarters made for the Seventh Regiment North Carolina troops.

This morning I dispatched Captain Gardner and Lieutenant Flagler with a flag of truce to Fort Macon with a demand to surrender; a copy of my letter, together with the reply of the commanding officer, I herewith inclose.

We have now but one course to pursue, and that is to invest the place; but with the Newport Bridge destroyed this will be a slow operation. I have ordered Major Wright down to that point to rebuild the bridge. This will have to be done before we can bring down the guns. Our supplies can be brought by rail to this point and thence in wagons over a fair road.

The county road from Slocum’s to Newport is in one place very bad; will soon be impassable for heavily-loaded wagons.

I have with me about 700 men; the remainder of the Fourth and Eighth are, I presume, now on the way down.

I have sent two companies to Morehead City to prevent any communication with the fort.

At present I have not strength enough to send a force to Beaufort. I believe they communicate with the fort every night.

As far as I can learn the garrison of the fort has but little sympathy, or rather the commanding officer has but little, in either Beaufort or Morehead.

If possible I would like some of the Navy to come around through Core Sound to interrupt communication between Beaufort and Fort Macon.

I have just learned that the officers of the fort communicate with the outer world by running down the beach. My force at present is not sufficient nor have I the means to out off this communication.

I have just taken a flat-boat, with a mail and a lot of corn, on the way from the fort to Swansborough. I will detain the captain.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. G. PARKE, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

General AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE.

[Inclosures.]

HDQRS. THIRD BRIGADE, DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, March 23, 1862.

To the Commander of the Garrison of Fort Macon:

SIR: In order to save the unnecessary effusion of blood I have the honor to demand the evacuation of the fort and surrender of the forces under your command.

Having an intimate knowledge of the entire work and an overwhelming force at our command with the means for reducing the work, its fall is inevitable.

On condition that no damage is done to the fortification or armament your command will be released as prisoners of war on their parole.

Very respectfully, yours, &c.,

JNO. G. PARKE, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

{p.278}

HEADQUARTERS, Fort Macon, March 23, 1862.

General J. G. PARKE, Brigadier-General, Commanding Morehead City, N. C.:

SIR: Your request is received, and I have the honor to decline evacuating Fort Macon.

Very respectfully, yours, &c.,

M. J. WHITE, Colonel, Commanding.

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HDQRS. THIRD BRIGADE, DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, Carolina City, March 24, 1862-11 p.m.

MY DEAR GENERAL: Pell has just arrived. I will detain him until morning, as I have now a move on foot which is of so great importance that I wish you to be apprised of the result.

Since my communication of yesterday’s date I have been steadily occupied in cutting off all communication with the fort. I have two companies posted in Morehead City, under Major Allen, with orders to cut off all communication with the fort and Beaufort.

To-day I sent to Beaufort for the town authorities. Captain Gardner met them, and informed them that I required them to stop all communication with the fort. They all have a great horror of Colonel White, and fear that if they communicate with us lie will shell their town. However they have determined to hold a town meeting, and I will get their reply to-morrow.

At first I had not the means nor provisions to occupy it. My wagon train has now made two trips to Slocum’s Creek Landing, and I have now supplies until Saturday morning; and if the reply is not satisfactory I will send one company over there. The destruction of the Newport River Bridge is a bad business. I hope Field will soon have it in order, and Flagler and Morris will soon have their guns here.

I presume Flagler will inform you of the burning of the hotel at this place, also of the barracks just below here.

Last night Colonel White burnt the prize bark lying under the fort. There are two ships at Morehead, one at the wharf and the other in the stream, purporting to be English, and loaded now with turpentine, cotton, &c. They came in last August, and have not been able to escape. I presume the fact of their flying English colors has secured them against Colonel White’s torch.

My work for to-night is to send two companies over to the Banks under a good pilot. I send a boat to be carried across the sand hills to the sea, with a letter to the commanding officer of the fleet informing him of my move and requesting his co-operation.

My transportation is only sufficient to carry over two companies, but it is so very important to occupy the Banks.

We shave made two captures, one a schooner load of corn going from the fort to Swansborough, the other a bearer of dispatches from the captain of a picket company on Queen’s Creek, beyond Swansborough, to Colonel White. I have the captain of the schooner and the dispatch bearer now confined, and will send them to you by the first opportunity.

O for some of [the] Navy people. Can’t you send one or two boat howitzers and ammunition down by rail so that I can send them over to the Banks? One could be mounted on our schooner with all ease.

I am informed that the Union could come through Core Sound with some ship’s launches in tow. These could out off Beaufort and the fort.

{p.279}

Tell the Navy people of these two big ships and cargo.

On this county road there are two points where main roads come in from the Swansborough side, and at these I will establish a guard to protect my wagon train until the railroad is in running order. The enemy may send some cavalry in from that side, but I don’t think there is much danger.

MARCH 25-12.45.

Colonel Harland has just reported to me that it is out of the question to get our boats up from Morehead owing to the interference of our old friends the wind, tide, and shoals. I have therefore postponed my trip to the Banks, and it must be all for the best.

Now I will wait for the boat howitzers and their crews and make a lodgment by daylight. Please send them forthwith by rail.

In addition to the schooner I can raise four large boats, but only nine oars. Send some extra ones.

Pell will tell you the condition of the bridge, &c.

As I have not taken steps toward seizing these ships, let Commodore Rowan send an officer down at once to act in the matter. I will furnish him men, and let the howitzers follow as soon as possible.

Let Flagler and Morris have a lot of contrabands, with some teams to carry their ordnance to the railroad, so that it can be run down here on the completion of the bridge.

The people here are all frightened. What shall I do about the oath of allegiance and neutrality?

Please send me the forms and instructions about administering them. I have administered but two oaths of neutrality. Please send some blank passes.

There are some rabid secessionists about here, but they don’t make their appearance.

My command is in good health and spirits, excepting the two companies in Morehead; they are bivouacking, but have good shelter.

We expect to supply ourselves with fish, &c.

Very faithfully, yours,

JNO. G. PARKE.

[General AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE.]

P. S.-I send the prisoner by Pell, together with the papers found on him.

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HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, Carolina City, March 26, 1862.

GENERAL: Yesterday morning I received a visit from Mr. Rumley and Mr. Chadwick on “behalf of the citizens of Beaufort.” They expressed the thanks of the citizens for the courtesy and consideration shown them, but were forced to acknowledge that they were powerless in reference to cutting off communication with the fort. They told me that they had communicated with White in reference to my proposition, and he replied that he would not permit us to land in Beaufort; he would shell the town, &c. This of course disgusted the citizens of Beaufort, and I think they express the sentiments of the Beaufort portion of the garrison-about one company.

At the close of the interview Mr. Rumley asked me what course I intended to pursue. I replied that my mind was made up, and that {p.280} they would soon hear from me. He informed me that there were no supplies for troops in the town; that they had not more than three months, for themselves, and, as all communication with Hyde County was cut off, they were in a sorry plight.

Last night I sent Major Allen, with two companies, over to Beaufort, but as yet I have no report from him, nor have we any reports from the fort.

I ordered him to seize all boats, and, if possible, surprise any parties that might be there from the fort. I ordered that no passes be granted unless the parties take the oath of allegiance, excepting passes to come and see me.

I look to-day for some of our Navy people and a boat howitzer.

My two old pilots returned last night from up the Banks. They report a rough sea outside. We can see the enemy’s outposts on the Banks opposite in small squads.

I can’t learn whether or not they have any small pieces mounted at the salt-works. As that is a good landing I think it possible, and therefore would rather postpone a landing until we can bring at least one howitzer to bear upon them and feel them before we expose too many men.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. G. PARKE, Brigadier-General Volunteers.

General BURNSIDE.

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HDQRS. THIRD BRIGADE, DEPT. NORTH CAROLINA, Carolina City, March 31, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report the complete investment of Fort Macon.

Three companies are stationed in Beaufort and two in Morehead City, with instructions to cut off all communications between those points and the fort. The commanding officers at these posts have seized all the boats.

On the 29th I sent a reconnoitering party over to the Banks, consisting of 20 men, with a commissioned officer. Meeting no resistance, the party remained through the night.

During yesterday I sent the remainder of the company over, and tonight I will send over another company.

As soon as the signal officers arrive I will detail an officer for that station and send another to the fleet.

Captain Morris has just arrived with the Parrott guns. The Newport Bridge being finished, they were brought through by rail.

As soon as the boats come over from Beaufort I will send this battery over to the Banks and commence operations.

In my opinion these guns and mortars will be required ultimately, and will do more service on the Banks than they could at Morehead.

The railroad embankment at Morehead will serve us a good purpose in mounting and serving the 100-pounder rifle.

I have now in confinement Mr. Josiah F. Bell, the collector of Beaufort. I will send him up to you, together with papers, &c., and a report.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. G. PARKE, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

General BURNSIDE.

{p.281}

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CAROLINA CITY, April 8, 1862-noon.

GENERAL: I sent a dispatch to you yesterday evening, and as the sergeant has not yet returned I fear he may have been intercepted by the rebel cavalry between Havelock and New Berne.

In the dispatch I inclose Colonel Wilson’s report* of an attack upon his outside pickets by the rebel cavalry, wounding 1 man and probably taking 1 prisoner.

This morning he reports that not only 1 but 8 are missing; that he increased the picket last night, but nothing further occurred. To-day he sends out four companies to burn the county-road bridges.

This second dispatch I sent you this morning, and fearing that the bearer may be waylaid beyond Havelock, I will send this by Slocum’s Creek.

I am informed that Captain King some two or three days ago, heard some cavalry, I believe two, on a cross-road near the deserted battery, Croatan, and shortly after he saw a rocket. Now this may be mere rumor. Still it behooves us to look out. I will write King to make a report to you of the circumstances.

We sent quite a large mail this morning. I sincerely hope it has not been picked up by the enemy.

The balance of the Ninth New Jersey should be sent down to Newport at once, and I think it advisable to have strong pickets posted throughout the railroad; but it is out of the question for me to attend to it from this point.

The stern-wheeler cannot reach the Banks, and taking advantage of the tides is a slow progress.

Morris’ company goes over this evening, the Eighth Connecticut during the night, and then I will send all the Fourth Rhode Island, excepting two companies, which I will leave here. The two launches with howitzers are here; these can protect the retreat of the two companies to the stern-wheeler if forced to retire; this is hardly to be expected.

I wish I had some cavalry down here to drive these rebels out of the country. I do not believe there are more than two companies of them.

In haste, yours, faithfully,

JNO. G. PARKE.

General BURNSIDE.

* See p. 295.

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HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, Beaufort, N. C., May 9, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor respectfully to submit the following report of the movements and operations of the troops under my command from the date of their embarking at New Berne, March 19, up to the reduction of Fort Macon, April 26:

On the 19th the Fourth Rhode Island Regiment, Col. I. P. Rodman commanding, and the Eighth Connecticut Regiment, Col. Edward Harland commanding, were embarked, and on the 20th we steamed down the Neuse to Slocum’s Creek, and, preceded by the gunboat Picket, followed up this latter stream to the landing place previously determined on by the commanding general.

The Fifth Rhode Island Battalion, Maj. John Wright commanding, marched from New Berne down the railroad, and joined us at Havelock Station, a mile and one-half distant from Slocum’s Creek Landing.

{p.282}

Capt. Lewis O. Morris, First United States Artillery, being assigned to duty with the brigade, was placed in charge of the three 30-pounder Parrott guns, and Lieut. D. W. Flagler, of the Ordnance, had charge of the two mortar batteries.

From Slocum’s Creek it was intended to haul the siege train over to the railroad, and thence transport it on cars with horse-power to Carolina City. Immediately on landing at Slocum’s Creek I was informed that the enemy had burned the railroad bridge over Newport River, and fearing that a similar attempt would be made on the county-road bridge, I dispatched a company to guard it, and followed with the available force that had landed. We thus secured this bridge, and had an unobstructed route by the common road to Carolina City, which point we reached on the 22d.

The Fifth Rhode Island Battalion was ordered to the crossing of Newport River, and to the major commanding was intrusted the rebuilding of the railroad bridge. This was accomplished in a few days.

On the 23d a demand was made for the surrender of the fort and garrison. This being refused, steps were at once taken to completely invest the work and preparations made for besieging the place.

Two companies were sent to Morehead City, the terminus of the railway, and three companies to Beaufort, with instructions to the commanding officers at both points to seize all the boats and cut off all supplies for the garrison and stop all communication with the fort. A gunboat served to blockade Core Sound, and by the aid of one or two small boats at Carolina City we were enabled to cut off all communication through Bogue Sound. From Beaufort a communication was opened with the blockading fleet, a party crossing to Shackelford Banks, and thence in a fisherman’s boat to the fleet.

Having received a ship’s launch and howitzer from New Berne by the way of Clubfoot Canal, a small party on the 29th of March under cover of this gun, effected a landing on the Banks directly opposite Carolina City, thus completely investing the work.

The enemy now seemed to be very active in and about the fort. The bark Glen, lying under the guns of the fort, was burned; also the Eliason House. The light-house tower and beacon were overturned, and all the outbuildings were destroyed. All parties of our men crossing from Morehead to Beaufort, or anywhere within range of the guns of the fort, were continually fired upon.

Fort Macon is situated upon the eastern extremity of Bogue Banks, a narrow sand island stretching off to the westward a distance of about 25 miles, and separated from the main-land by Bogue Sound, in which the depth of the water is so slight as to permit no navigation other than that of the lightest-draught flats and small boats. From a point on the island opposite Carolina City to the fort, a distance of about 5 miles, the surface of the island is broken, commencing a short distance from the beach, into irregular knolls of sand, varying in height and extent. Toward the sound these knolls decrease in size until they approach an extensive salt-marsh, through which run numerous creeks. Near the head of one of these creeks, Hoop Pole, our permanent camp and depot was located, and to this point it was necessary to transport all the troops, supplies, siege guns, ammunition, &c., in scows and small boats. On account of the intricacy of the channel and the slight depth of the water, even with the boats which we obtained, no supplies could be transported excepting upon full tide.

Finding that a large force was necessary to guard the Newport {p.283} Railroad Bridge, the Ninth New Jersey Regiment, having reported for duty with the brigade, was assigned to that post, with instructions to picket the line of railroad and protect it from encroachments of the enemy from the direction of Swansborough. The Fifth Rhode Island Battalion, being thus relieved, joined me on the 4th of April at Carolina City.

On the 29th of March the first troops were crossed to the Banks, and from that time to April 10 every available hour of night and day was spent in transporting men, siege train, and supplies.

During this period of thirteen days I crossed eight companies of the Fourth Rhode Island Regiment; seven companies of the Eighth Connecticut Regiment; the Fifth Rhode Island Battalion; Company C, First United States Artillery; Company I, Third New York Artillery, Captain Ammon commanding, who reported for duty at Carolina City, and the siege train.

Communication was immediately established with the fleet, a signal officer being placed aboard the vessel of the commanding officer.

On the 11th, aided by Captain Williamson, of the Topographical Engineers, Captain Morris, of the Artillery, and Lieutenant Flagler, of the Ordnance,I made a reconnaissance in force in the direction of the fort. Meeting the enemy’s pickets, they were driven in after a slight skirmish, and we advanced to within a mile of the work, when the guns of the fort opened upon us with shot and shell. The men were placed under cover of the sand hills, while Captains Williamson and Morris and Lieutenant Flagler made a careful examination of the ground in our front, and selected sites for our batteries ranging from 1,300 to 1,700 yards from the fort. The force was then withdrawn, no casualties having occurred from the fire of the enemy. In the reconnaissance we received great assistance from the blockading fleet, Capt. S. S. Prentiss commanding. The gunboats engaged the fort and shelled the beach in our front.-For this and other timely aid rendered us I desire to express my acknowledgments and thanks.

On the 12th a permanent advance guard of five companies was organized and work on the approaches was commenced. During this day a skirmish occurred with the enemy, in which Captain Sheffield and a private of the Eighth Connecticut Regiment were wounded. The enemy were driven back, and although more than seventy shot and shell were flied on our advance guard and fatigue parties, not a man was injured by them. From this date the regular work on the approaches, trenches, batteries, and rifle pits was vigorously pushed forward by all our available force both night and day, in spite of the desultory fire kept up by the enemy.

The road along the beach being in full view or the lookout on the flag-staff of the fort, it became necessary to transport our guns, mortars, and ammunition to the batteries and, magazines under cover of the night. The enemy made two ineffectual attempts at night to dislodge us from our advanced position, in one of which Lieutenant Landers and a private of the Fifth Rhode Island Battalion were slightly wounded, and in the other Major Appleman and a private of the Eighth Connecticut Regiment received severe contusions from a discharge of grape while digging rifle pits within 750 yards of the fort.

On the morning of the 24th the two mortar batteries were prepared to open fire, and the Parrott-gun battery was ready, with the exception of the opening of the embrasures, which was delayed until the moment of opening fire was arranged, so that the enemy might not discover our position.

{p.284}

In selecting sites for our batteries advantage was taken of the sand hills previously spoken of. By cutting down the natural slopes of these hills to a sufficient depth to lay the platforms for our guns and mortars and revetting the interior faces with sand bags excellent epaulements were formed. Embrasures for the Parrott guns were cut directly through the sand hills, and revetted with sods taken from the salt-marsh close at hand. During the night of the 24th the embrasures of the Parrott-gun battery were opened, and at 5.40 o’clock on the morning of the 25th the first shot was fired upon the fort. Immediately all three of our batteries opened, and our fire was vigorously answered.

Owing to the high wind and rough sea it was impracticable to communicate with the blockading fleet our intention of opening fire on the morning of the 25th. As soon, however, as the commanding officer, Capt. Samuel Lockwood, discovered our movements he brought all his vessels into action, and for a time attracted the enemy’s attention to such an extent as to greatly facilitate the officers in charge of the mortar batteries in correcting their range and length of fuse, but owing to the extreme roughness of the sea the fleet was compelled to withdraw. At 4.30 in the afternoon a white flag was displayed upon the ramparts of the fort and the firing ceased upon both sides. After communicating with the general commanding during the night of the 25th, on the morning of the 26th, at 9.30 o’clock, I received the surrender of the fort and garrison.

A copy of the terms of capitulation is herewith transmitted.*

For the detailed operation of the three batteries I have to refer you to the very interesting reports of Captain Morris and Lieutenant Flagler.

The fort and armament bear evidence not only of the great skill with which these batteries were served, but also of the wonderful effects produced by the introduction of rifled guns into our siege trains. The number of guns disabled and the effect produced upon the scarp-wall, although not exposed to view from our position, are sufficient proof of the great value of the 30-pounder Parrott as a siege gun.

In truth, the result of the ten and a half hours’ firing from our three batteries exceeded my most sanguine expectations, and they reflect the highest credit upon the officers and men engaged in their location and construction, as well as the working of the mortars and guns.

To Capt. R. S. Williamson, of the Topographical Engineers, I am under lasting obligations. His bold and daring reconnaissances to within 800 yards of the fort gave us full and complete knowledge of the ground up to the very foot of the glacis. He so located the batteries that the sand hills themselves served as epaulements, rendering but little work necessary to prepare them for the guns and mortars and the construction of the magazines.

Captain Morris and Lieutenant Flagler were untiring in their zeal and energy in superintending the construction of the batteries. The work was carried on both by day and night under their supervision by the men of Company C, First United States Artillery, and Company I, Third New York Artillery, and such details as could be spared from the infantry force.

The Parrott-gun battery was commanded by Captain Morris, First United States Artillery, assisted by Lieutenant Gowan, Forty-eighth Pennsylvania Regiment, and Lieutenant Pollock, First United States Artillery.

{p.285}

The 10-inch mortar battery was commanded by Lieutenant Flagler, of the Ordnance, assisted by Captain Ammon, Third New York Artillery, and Captain Pell, aide-de-camp to the general commanding, who volunteered his services. The 8-inch mortar battery was commanded by Lieutenant Prouty, of the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts Regiment, assisted by Lieutenants Thomas and Kelsey, of the Third New York Artillery. The result shows the efficiency with which the batteries were worked, and I take great pleasure in acknowledging my thanks to these officers.

From the time of our first occupying the ground immediately in front of the fort very severe and onerous duty was performed by the officers and men of the Fourth Rhode Island, Eighth Connecticut, and Fifth Rhode Island Battalion. Owing to companies being detached from the first two regiments and their otherwise weak condition the tour of duty in the trenches and on advance picket guard returned every third day. This, in connection with a march of 3 1/2 miles through heavy sand to and from camp and occasional fatigue duty, was beginning to tell fearfully on both officers and men; still they bore it all without complaint, and it gives me pleasure to commend them as soldiers of true grit.

The Ninth New Jersey Regiment guarded our route of supplies, and rendered most efficient service in completely protecting our line of communication from raids of the rebel cavalry, who were constantly prowling about the country.

During the investment of the work and active operations of the siege kept up constant communication with my force by means of the officers of the Signal Corps. From favorable positions previously determined upon these officers were enabled to report to the commanding officers of the batteries the effect of their shot and shell.

During the action I have to report the following loss: 1 killed and 2 wounded. Killed, Private William R. Dart, Company I, Third New York Artillery. He fell, struck by a round shot, while in the performance of his duty resetting a pointing stake on the parapet of the 10-inch mortar battery. Wounded, Sergeant Hynes and Private Bonnet, of Company C, First United States Artillery.

The reported killed and wounded in the fort is as follows: Killed, 8; wounded, 20.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. G. PARKE, Brigadier-General, Commanding Third Division.

Capt. LEWIS RICHMOND, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* See p. 276.

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No. 3.

Report of Lieut. Daniel W. Flagler, U. S. Ordnance Department.

FORT MACON, N. C., April 29, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to submit for your information the following report of the disposition made of the siege batteries used in the attack upon Fort Macon:

I was detailed for duty with the Third Division in the Department of North Carolina on the 19th of March, and, in accordance with an order from General Parke, turned over a Parrott-gun battery of three rifled {p.286} 30-pounders to Captain Morris, of the First Artillery, and also loaded a battery of four 10-inch siege mortars upon a bark, holding them in readiness to proceed with the division whenever it should move. When the division arrived at Slocum’s Creek, as it was not sure the-re would be occasion to use these batteries, they were left on board the vessels at that point.

I came on with the division to Carolina City, and after the general had communicated with the commanding officer of the fort I received an order from him (General Parke) to return immediately and attend to the transportation of the batteries. Fearing we had not artillery enough I went to New Berne and loaded another battery of four 8-inch mortars upon a barge, and Lieut. M. F. Prouty, of the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts Regiment, having reported to me for artillery duty, I left him to bring this battery to Slocum’s Creek. From the head of this creek to Carolina City the artillery had to be transported by land.

The quartermaster could furnish very little transportation, as nearly all that could be procured was engaged in bringing down baggage and stores for the troops.

There were no men with the batteries to unload and move them, and the labor had to be performed by negroes, whom I obtained from Captain King, the division quartermaster. The batteries were hauled to Havelock Station in quartermasters’ wagons and there loaded on cars, and hauled to Carolina City with horses and mules. The large quantity of heavy shell necessary for the mortar batteries, and the lack of men, wagons, and cars to transport them, must account for the delay of these batteries in reaching Carolina City.

At the latter point only one scow could be obtained suitable for carrying purposes across Bogue Sound to the Banks, and owing to tides and the difficulties of a shallow, intricate channel not more than one trip could be made daily.

A magazine was established in a deserted building at the point of landing, and again all the materials had to be hauled a distance of 4 1/2 miles along a sandy beach.

On the 12th instant, the day after the enemy’s pickets were driven into the fort, I went with Captain Williamson, Corps of Topographical Engineers, and selected positions for the batteries. The first of these, the 10-inch mortar battery, was at a distance of 1,680 yards from the fort, and behind a natural sand hill, which was sufficiently high to protect it from the direct fire of the enemy’s cannon. It was near the marsh, on the left side of the island.

Captain Morris’ battery of Parrott guns was placed about 200 yards in advance of this and a little to the right. The position of the sand hills was such and the strip of available land so narrow that the latter had to be put more nearly in front of the mortars than was desirable in order to distract the enemy’s fire. The 8-inch mortars were placed still 200 yards farther in advance, and on the right, near the sea-shore.

The work of moving the ordnance, building the mortar batteries, constructing roads, &c., was all performed by details from the regiments of infantry of the division and from Captain Ammon’s company of the Third New York Artillery. The men were often at work before they were rested from the fatigue of twenty-four hours’ picket duty, the pickets themselves often volunteering to assist, and always with a cheerfulness which evinced their determination to accomplish the end we had in view. While at work the men were often annoyed by artillery firing from the fort, but no one in the batteries was even hurt, the sand hills affording good protection. On the evening of the 23d {p.287} instant the batteries, magazines, and roads leading to them were all completed. Wagons had been engaged for several nights previous hauling shells to the mortar batteries, and on the night of the 23d I had the magazines filled with ammunition and reported to General Parke that we were ready to open fire.

The following day at 2 o’clock I received orders from him to commence firing that afternoon, if possible. I obtained details of men for the mortar batteries from Captain Ammon’s company of the Third New York Artillery. The men, having a march of 4 miles to the batteries, did not arrive there till late in the afternoon. Captain Morris reported that line would not be able to open fire till the next morning, as he had still some work to do upon the embrasures. As I was confident that the enemy was ignorant of the nature and position of our batteries and as we would be able to fire only a few shells before dark, while obtaining our ranges, I thought it better to wait till morning, keeping the enemy in ignorance till we were ready to open fire upon all the batteries simultaneously and to continue it. The men slept in the batteries that night, and all commenced fire shortly after sunrise in the morning.

Lieutenant Prouty commanded the 8-inch mortar battery, and I took charge of the 10-inch, and was assisted by Captain Ammon, and by Captain Pell, aide-de-camp to General Burnside. The first few discharges were from the Parrott guns, which were followed soon by the mortars, and the fire was continued without interruption till 5 p.m. It was returned from the fort with twenty-one guns, among which were one 8-inch and two 10-inch columbiads and six 32-pounders mounted as mortars. At first the enemy’s fire was very rapid, principally shells and shrapnel, and the fort was so enveloped in smoke that it was difficult to tell whether our shells were falling within or beyond them. At 9 o’clock I received a dispatch from the signal officer at Beaufort, saying the mortars were “firing too far.” The error was corrected immediately, and shortly after the enemy’s fire was somewhat slackened.

The smoke cleared away, and I could observe the effect of every shell distinctly. The bolsters of the 10-inch and one of the 8-inch mortar-beds were split during the day. The platforms of the 10-inch mortars were badly injured, as the soil was too light to afford a firm foundation. These were all repaired, stopping fire from one piece at a time for that purpose. During the afternoon we fired very carefully, but slowly, as I wished to reserve ammunition enough for night firing if necessary.

After 11 o’clock more than five-eighths of the shells fell within the fort. The epaulement of the 10-inch battery was considerably injured by round shot and the explosion of a few 10-inch columbiad shells from the fort. The pointing stakes were several times displaced. At about 5 o’clock the enemy hoisted a white flag and we ceased firing. During the night the batteries were completely repaired and the magazines replenished. The men slept in the batteries, that they might open fire again if necessary.

But one man was killed in my battery and none wounded. I received most valuable assistance from Captains Pell and Ammon, and I cannot speak in too high terms of the men. The detachments from Captain Ammon’s company were without previous knowledge of mortar practice except what they had gained from a drill the preceding day, yet they served the pieces efficiently and without accident throughout the day. The gunners detailed from Captain Morris’ company, Privates Carlin, McKinstry, Reising, and McKenna were invaluable.

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I take particular pleasure in calling your attention to the management of the 8-inch mortar battery. It was under the charge of Lieutenant Prouty, who, as a volunteer officer of infantry, has had no practical experience in artillery practice and no knowledge on the subject except what he has gained since he reported to me. His success is the result of his own industry and energy. I inclose his report. I have since examined the fort, and find that of the 1,150 shots fired from our three batteries about 500 took effect within the works of the enemy, not counting the shells that were exploded over the fort. The fire of the Parrott guns was most destructive, these three pieces having disabled nineteen of the enemy’s guns. Only about 3 feet in width along the tops of the scarp-wall of the western face could be reached by their fire, yet in this narrow portion 41 shots had taken effect, some of them penetrating the brick masonry to a depth of 2 feet. Comparing the angle at which the guns were fired with the angle of fall necessary for the shot to reach this wall, I am confident they could not have reached it without having been partially spent by passing through the crest of the glacis.

Barricades for the casemates have been formed-within the fort by standing bars of railroad iron up against the casemate inside walk. Several traverse circles were blown up by mortar shell, but they did not seem in any other way to have disabled guns. Forty-eight of the same shell exploded in the bottom of the ditch and a large number on the parade. One of the latter broke through into the drain of the fort.

The choice of the kind and caliber of the artillery used in the attack upon Fort Macon was certainly a good one. The object to be effected with the siege mortars was, at first, by exploding the shells at short distance above the fort, to drive the cannoneers from the guns or prevent them from being efficiently served; afterward, by exploding the shells at or after striking, to disable guns. In both respects they were successful. The destructive and accurate fire of the 30-pounder Parrott guns has shown that the work of dismounting or disabling guns with them is not a matter of chance, but of certainty. There was no exposed wall on which to try their breaching power.

During the enemy’s fire since the first commencement of operations I have often had occasion to observe the want of effect in the explosion of their shells. I have examined a few of those left in the fort and find them filled with cannon powder.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. W. FLAGLER, First Lieutenant of Ordnance.

Capt. CHARLES T. GARDNER, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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No. 4.

Report of Lieut. Merrick F. Prouty, Twenty-fifth Massachusetts Infantry.

SIR: I have the honor to report that on Thursday, April 24, 1862, at 1 p.m., I was ordered by you to move to the 8-inch mortar battery of four pieces, which was planted 1,280 yards from Fort Macon, and open fire on the fort.

Lieutenants Thomas and Kelsey and 15 men of the Third New York Artillery and 5 men of Captain Morris’ battery were detailed to man {p.289} the mortars, but owing to the distance of the camp from the battery and hard walking in the loose sand we did not reach there till 3.30 p.m., and before we could open fire I was ordered by you to await further orders before doing so. The men remained in the battery during the night, and I opened fire, as you ordered, about 5.30 a.m. The first shells falling short, the charges were increased and a good range was obtained in a short time. A steady and effective fire was kept up from each piece until 11 a.m., when the bolster of No. 4 was broken by the recoil, and that was not worked until about 1 p.m., when, having been repaired, it was again opened. At 3 p.m. I received an order from you that a reserve of ammunition should be kept for contingencies during the night, and from 3.20 p.m. to 5 but two pieces were used. At that time firing was suspended, the enemy showing a white flag. The firing during the afternoon was very fine, nearly every shell bursting within or over the fort. During the night of the 25th shell and ammunition were brought, and at daylight of the 26th the men were at their posts, and everything in good order to open fire, had it been necessary.

Very efficient service was rendered me by Lieutenants Thomas and Kelsey, and the conduct of the men was beyond praise.

I am happy to report that no casualties occurred; but two of the enemy’s shell bursting in or over the battery.

Very respectfully,

M. F. PROUTY, Lieut. Co. C, 25th Mass. Vols., Comdg. 8-inch Mortar Battery.

Lieut. D. W. FLAGLER.

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No. 5.

Report of Capt. Lewis O. Morris, First U. S. Artillery.

FORT MACON, N. C., April 28, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of Company C, First Artillery, during the siege and reduction of Fort Macon:

As you are aware, I was ordered to leave my light battery at New Berne and report to you with three Parrott 30-pounder guns as part of the siege train for the reduction of Fort Macon, and that they did their work well the sequel has proved.

After the investment of the fort and a careful reconnaissance it was decided to place my battery at a distance of 1,500 yards from the fort, the 10-inch mortar battery about 200 yards in rear, and the 8-inch mortar battery about 200 yards to the right and front. As these batteries were constructed under fire, much of the work was done at night, which, added to the fact that guns, ammunition, and materials were transported through deep sand some 3 1/2 miles, will prove that it was no light labor which the men performed so cheerfully and so well.

The company, having worked all night, completed the battery on the morning of the 25th of April, and at 5.30 I opened fire on the fort, the first shot striking the parapet. The mortar batteries followed immediately, and shot and shell were poured rapidly into the fort, which returned the fire with spirit. For several hours the fire from the fort {p.290} was rapid and well sustained, and 8 and 10 inch shell and shot, 32-pounder shot and shell, 24-pounder shot and rifled projectiles were ploughing the ground in furrows before the battery, striking the parapet or exploding in front and rear. After that time they served a less number of guns.

Six 32-pounder shot passed through my embrasures, one of which struck the Parrott gun on the left of the battery, but fortunately did not disable it. The piece was struck on the chase and wrought-iron band, carrying away the breech sight. About the same time a 10-inch shell fell upon the wheel of a limber and shattered it. This was all the damage to my battery by the enemy’s fire.

About 9 o’clock in the morning the blockading fleet engaged the fort and withdrew after an hour’s firing. During the afternoon the fire from the batteries was rapid and effective,so much so that about 5 o’clock a white flag was displayed from the fort and a proposition to surrender was made. The following morning the flag of the Union was floating over another rebel fortification. There was fired during the day from my three guns 450 shot and shell, and the effects of these projectiles are seen everywhere in disabled guns and broken walls. One shot disabled two guns, 8 and 10 inch columbiads; another passed through a bar of railroad iron and buried itself in the wall. The scarp-wall was protected by the glacis, but occasionally a shot would strike this wall and penetrate over 2 feet. Had this wall been exposed to a direct fire from these guns it could have been breached in a few hours. Nineteen guns were disabled by my fire. From rapid and continued firing the vents of all my guns were enlarged, one of them so much so as to render the gun unserviceable.

To the officers and men of my command I am indebted for the coolness and skill with which they served the pieces. First Lieut. G. W. Gowan, Forty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, attached to my company, and Second Lieut. W. K. Pollock, First Artillery, each had charge of a piece, which they pointed themselves during most of the day and disabled many of the enemy’s guns. Sergeant Reynolds and Corporal Leahy rendered efficient service as gunners and made some fine shots. Sergeant Thompson did good service in the magazine, filling and fusing shell and serving out ammunition. Nine of my men were detailed to serve as gunners in the two mortar batteries, which service they performed to the satisfaction of the commanders of these batteries. These men were replaced by nine men from Captain Ammon’s company, I, Third Regiment New York Volunteer Artillery, who did their duty well. It gives me pleasure to report that during the day only two men, Sergeant Hynes and Private Bonnet, were slightly wounded.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

LEWIS O. MORRIS, Captain, First Artillery, Commanding Company C.

Capt. CHARLES T. GARDNER, A. A. G., Third Division.

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No. 6.

Report of Col. Isaac P. Rodman, Fourth Rhode Island Infantry.

HDQRS. FOURTH REGIMENT RHODE ISLAND VOLS., DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Beaufort, N. C., May 1, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report the action of the Fourth Rhode {p.291} Island in the reduction of Fort Macon, which surrendered to our forces on the 26th ultimo:

After a march, which was necessarily a forced one, the Third Brigade of this department, or a portion of it, arrived and invested Fort Macon on March 26. The Fourth Rhode Island had two companies in Beaufort, one in Carolina City, and seven on the Banks. The labor of those on the Banks was very arduous,as much so as we could well endure, which was cheerfully performed without flinching. Five companies of the Fourth alternately relieved the. Eighth Connecticut and Fifth Rhode Island Battalion in the trenches for fifteen days, exposed through the day to the fire of the enemy, during which time our siege batteries were planted. Not a day passed that the enemy did not open on us, firing from 30 to 50 shells, none of which, I am happy to say, injured any of my regiment.

The exposure and fatigue incident to our duty has largely increased our sick list, and we have lost 6 men by death since we arrived. Their names will appear in the adjutant’s report to General Mauran, which we have at last completed.

Our batteries opened on the morning of the 26th, and in two or three hours told with fearful effect on the enemy’s works. They held out for about ten hours, when by a flag of truce they requested a cessation of hostilities preparatory to a surrender. General Burnside granted this, and on the morning of the 27th Fort Macon was ours. The Fifth Rhode Island-Battalion, being on duty in the trenches, received their arms, and five companies of my regiment relieved Major Wright, guarding the prisoners until they were shipped off. The fort is much damaged by our fire and some twenty-six guns were rendered unfit for service. The flag that was flying on the fort General Parke has requested General Burnside to send to you.

Nine companies of the Fourth are now quartered here, and we have a fine building for a hospital, where, I do not doubt, our men will rapidly improve. Dr. Millar assures me that they are better already. I hope soon to have the most of them able for duty.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

I have the honor to remain, your obedient servant,

I. P. RODMAN, Colonel Fourth Rhode Island Volunteers.

Gov. WILLIAM SPRAGUE, Providence, R. I.

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No. 7.

Report of Lieut. William S. Andrews, Ninth New York Infantry, Acting Signal Officer.

BEAUFORT, N. C., May 1, 1862.

MAJOR: Fort Macon fell on the 25th of April. I believe that never in the history of warfare have signals been used with more complete success or to greater advantage than during the siege of that place. When operations were commenced against Fort Macon, between four and five weeks ago, I was ordered to open a station at this place to communicate with General Parke’s headquarters via Morehead City and with the blockading squadron. From that time until the 25th instant all orders were sent and received by signals. At times no other communication was had with headquarters, it being unsafe for boats to {p.292} cross the harbor except under cover of the night. From my station (less than 2 miles distant from the fort) I could with the aid of glasses observe distinctly the movements of the enemy, as, for instance, should a force go out to attack our troops at work on the siege batteries or any alteration be made in the position or bearing of guns or any movement made important to be immediately known at headquarters, and of which our men could have no knowledge from their position. On my representing this fact to General Parke he ordered a station to be open by day on Bogue Banks, near our batteries, to receive official messages only, having reference to observations made from my station (this station was at different times worked by Lieutenants Marsh, Lyon, and Palmer, and was several times fired upon by the enemy). By this arrangement the enemy were held under a complete surveillance during daylight. I was the only officer on the Beaufort station until the 21st instant, when Lieut. Marvin Wait reported for duty.

On the night preceding the bombardment a number of important official messages were sent and received in communication between General Burnside’s headquarters on board the steamer Alice Price (lying in Core Sound back of Beaufort) and General Parke.

The bombardment commenced on the 25th instant at 6 a.m. I had expected to receive special instructions to watch and report the accuracy of fire; but not receiving them, I determined to act upon my own responsibility. My station was at very nearly a right angle with the line of fire, so that I was enabled to judge with accuracy the distance over or short that the shot fell. The 10-inch shell were falling almost without exception more than 300 yards beyond the fort. Lieutenant Wait and myself continued to signal to the officer in charge until the correct range was obtained. The 8-inch shell were falling short; we signaled to the officer in charge of that battery with the same effect. The same was the case with the battery of Parrott guns, which were much elevated. From the position of our batteries it was impossible for the officers in charge of them to see how their shot fell; but owing [to] the observations made by Lieutenant Wait and myself and signaled to them from time to time, an accurate range was obtained by all the batteries, and was not lost during the day. After 12 m. every shot fired from our batteries fell in or on the fort. The accuracy of fire astonished ourselves equally with the enemy. From that time until 4 p.m., when a white flag appeared upon the fort and the firing ceased, a greater amount of execution was done than could have occurred in twenty-four hours further bombardment without the aid of signals.

The proposition to surrender and the reply, with terms of capitulation, were sent to and from General Burnside through this station by Lieutenant Wait and myself. I saw General Parke immediately after the occupation of Fort Macon by our forces. He spoke in the highest terms of praise of the system of signals used, and extended his thanks to the signal officers for the services they had rendered.

Constant signaling during a period of over four weeks across a sheet of glaring water has injured my eyes somewhat.*

Very respectfully,

W. S. ANDREWS, Second Lieutenant, Ninth N. Y. Vols., Acting Signal Officer.

Maj. ALBERT J. MYER, Signal Officer, U. S. Army.

* Some personal matter omitted.

{p.293}

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No. 8.

Report of Col. Moses J. White, C. S. Army.

GOLDSBOROUGH, N. C., May 4, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the defense of Fort Macon, which you will find to be imperfect. As my adjutant has mysteriously disappeared with his papers, I have no means of giving you a full report:

A demand was made for the surrender of Fort Macon on March 23 last by Brigadier-General Parke, U. S. Army, which demand was refused. General Parke then, having collected a large force at Carolina City, took possession of Beaufort and Shackelford Banks, thus cutting us off from any communication without the range of our guns.

Having established his camp 8 miles from the fort, on Bogue Banks, the enemy drove in our pickets on April 10, and established themselves just without the range of our guns and their pickets within 1 mile of the fort. In retiring before them our pickets showed great coolness, and forced the enemy to advance with caution, although flanked by a fire from the sea. The enemy, after fully establishing themselves, commenced their advance on the fort by means of ditches, using the sand hills as a covering for their working parties.

With their larger force (being well protected by the sand hills) they were able by April 22 to establish their batteries within 1,400 yards of Fort Macon.

Only one sortie was made during their advance, which consisted of an attempt made with two companies to drive in their working parties and pickets on April 11, but, they being largely re-enforced from their camp, our companies were forced to retire. Occasional firing took place between our pickets and those of the enemy at night, but without any casualties on our side. We could only annoy the enemy by the fire of our artillery, which, fired horizontally, could do them no damage and only force them to keep behind the sand hills. Not having a mortar in the fort, we mounted six old 32-pounder carronades, which had been placed in the fort for defending the ditch, with 40° elevation, and used them for throwing shell behind the enemy’s coverings. Two 10-inch guns were also used for the same purpose. They were, however, so completely concealed that we could seldom ascertain the position of their working parties, and when driven from them we could not see when they returned, and from scarcity of shell could not keep up a continued fire. Had the fort been built and armed for defense from a land attack the siege might have lasted longer; but as neither was the case, the enemy were able to complete their batteries, completely masked, in a shorter time than I had hoped for. During the siege some discontent arose among the garrison, which ended in several desertions. The men complained of their fare, although furnished with full rations, and seemed to be dissatisfied with being shut up in such a small place, so near their relations and friends, but unable to communicate with them. I am sorry to say that the officers did not act in a proper manner to suppress the difficulty. The health of the troops did not seem to be good, although we lost but one man by sickness. Nearly one-third were generally on the sick list.

On April 22 General Burnside arrived with several boats and anchored about 4 miles down the sound, but was forced by the fire of a rifled gun to retire and take up a position near Harker’s Island.

{p.294}

On the 23d a demand was made by General Burnside for the surrender of Fort Macon, which being refused, a request was made that I should meet him in person the next day on Shackelford Banks on very important business.

At 8 a.m. on the 24th I met General Burnside, as he requested. He then attempted by persuasion to produce a change in my determination, but was told that the fort would be defended as long as possible.

At 6 a.m. on the 25th the enemy’s land batteries opened upon the fort, and at 6.30 a.m. their vessels, consisting of three war steamers and one sailing vessel, commenced a cross-fire with rifle and 11-inch shell. The fire from both directions was immediately returned, and at 7 a.m. the ships retired-one disabled and two others in a damaged condition. The attack from land was kept up with great vigor, the enemy having immense advantage from their superior force, being able to relieve their men at the guns, while our morning reports showed only 263 men for duty. Our guns were well managed, but being able to do little damage to water batteries and siege guns, firing through very narrow embrasures. The enemy kept up a very vigorous and accurate fire from both rifles and mortars, dismounting guns, disabling men, and tearing the parade, parapet, and walls of the fort.

At 6.30 p.m., finding that our loss had been very great, and from the fatigue of our men being unable to keep up the fire with but two guns, a proposition was made to General Parke for the surrender of Fort Macon. General Parke demanded an unconditional surrender, which was refused, and the general informed that the firing would be renewed immediately. He then requested that the firing should cease until the next morning in order that he might consult with General Burnside, and that the general should meet me the next morning at Shackelford Banks. This proposition was accepted.

On the 26th, at 7 a.m., I met General Burnside, as proposed, and a surrender was agreed to on terms shown in the inclosed paper.* The Southern flag was hauled down at 12 m. and the men left the fort as soon as means could be furnished. A portion crossed to Beaufort.

Captain Guion’s company started for New Berne on the 27th, and on the same day 150 men, consisting of parts of several companies, started for Wilmington on the United States gunboat Chippewa, arriving at Fort Caswell at 7 p.m. on the 28th.

Our loss during the fight was 7 killed and 18 wounded-2 dangerously. Privates Langston and Jewel I was forced to leave in the fort. All other of the wounded were brought off. A nurse was left with the two men. The fort was very much damaged and fifteen guns disabled. Two days more of such firing would have reduced the whole to a mere mass of ruins.

Respectfully submitted.

M. J. WHITE, Colonel, C. S. Army.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Commanding Forces North Carolina.

* See inclosures to Burnside’s report, p. 276.

{p.295}

APRIL 7, 1862.–Skirmish near Newport, N. C.

REPORTS.

No. 1.–Lieut. Col. James Wilson, Ninth New Jersey Infantry.
No. 2.–Capt. John Boothe, C. S. Army.

No. 1.

Report of Lieut. Col. James Wilson, Ninth New Jersey Infantry.

NEWPORT BARRACKS, N. C., April 7, 1862-2.30 p.m.

GENERAL: I have to inform you that our outside pickets on the Cedar Point road were attacked this noon at about 1 o’clock by a force of about 40 cavalry mounted and about 20 on foot, who made a sudden dash upon our post.

In skirmishing we had 1 man shot, wounded, and are fearful 1 made prisoner. This information I have from courier sent in.

Our men stood the attack and returned the fire, killing one horse, but are unable to learn any other damage, as the enemy retreated at a rapid rate, but suppose they must have killed or wounded some.

I have sent forward another company to strengthen this post, who arrived there soon after the attack.

Awaiting your orders,* I remain your most obedient servant,

JAMES WILSON, Lieutenant-Colonel, Comdg. Ninth Regiment New Jersey Vols.

Maj. Gen. J. G. PARKE.

* See Parke to Burnside, April 8, in “Correspondence, etc.,” post.

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No. 2.

Report of Capt. John Boothe, C. S. Army.

JONES COUNTY, N. C., April 8, 1862.

SIR: According to your instructions I make the following report of my progress since Saturday last:

I took my march toward Carteret County on Saturday, and reached Mr. Foscue’s, on the Beaufort road, 20 miles below Trenton.

Sunday I was joined by Captain Hill and 50 of his men and proceeded toward Beaufort. At sunset I halted, and sent forward to ascertain the number and position of the enemy’s advance reported to be ahead. At 1 o’clock in the night my scouts came in, not able to find anything, and I proceeded to Eli Saunders’ and fed my horses and men.

Monday morning I was joined by Lieutenant Humphreys with about 30 men. By agreement with Captain Hill and Lieutenant Humphreys I divided the whole force into four platoons of about 30 men each, placing the men with the best arms in the first platoon. This platoon I placed under command of Lieutenant Eure and sent it forward as an advance down the road from Saunders’ toward Newport. I followed with the other three platoons and their commanders a short distance behind the advance. After going within 5 miles of Newport the {p.296} advance saw a squad of 5 of the enemy and charged them, capturing 3 and killing 2. About 200 yards in advance of the first squad there was another squad of 12, which being discovered. Lieutenant Eure rallied his platoon and charged them, killing 1 and capturing O. Most of the enemy fired their muskets without injuring a horse or man on our side. In five minutes after the firing ceased two companies of the enemy came in sight and fired upon us and fell into the marsh. By their fire the only damage done was the killing of my horse under me. I ordered the men to retire down the hill, as there was no chance to charge them from a miry causeway. With our 9 prisoners I retraced my steps to this place last night.

As the first platoon did the principal work, I deem it sheer justice to say that they behaved with great bravery.

I let Lieutenant Humphreys take charge of 3 prisoners, Captain Hill 3, and I send the remainder to you and through you to General Ransom.

I am very anxious that you should recall me forthwith, as my horses and men are completely exhausted and tired out.

I also send 7 muskets captured from the enemy and Captain Hill took two.

The number of the enemy at Newport and stationed at intervals from Newport to the place we encountered them is about 600 or 700 from the best information. At and about Morehead City one regiment.

All praise is due to Lieutenant Eure and Orderly Jordan, who led the charge of the advance guard.

Your obedient servant,

JNO. BOOTHE, Captain, Commanding.

Col. W. G. ROBINSON.

P. S.-Since writing the above one of my pickets has come in from Haughton’s, about 4 miles from Pollocksville, toward Wilmington, saying the enemy had fired upon him and killed or taken the 2 pickets that were with him, and that there was 500 or 600 of the enemy.

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APRIL 7-8, 1862.–Expedition to Elizabeth City, N. C.

Report of Col. Rush C. Hawkins, Ninth New York Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS ROANOKE ISLAND, N. C., April 11, 1862.

SIR: On the morning of the 7th instant a detachment of 600 men left here on board of the steamers Virginia, Putnam, Ceres, and Eagle for Elizabeth City, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Griffin, of the Sixth New Hampshire Volunteers. At 4 o’clock a.m. of the 8th instant they landed two companies of the New York Ninth at the city and four companies of the New Hampshire Sixth 6 miles above the city. They surprised two companies of the enemy’s forces, who ran without firing a shot. Our forces pursued and succeeded in capturing 73 of the rebels, belonging to the First Brigade of North Carolina Militia, who are now here and await your orders. Unless I hear from you to the contrary I shall release them on their parole and send them back.

Our forces killed a noted rebel scout by the name of Tim. Gregory {p.297} and wounded a rebel vedette. These were the only 2 killed or wounded on either side.

Fifty stand of arms, 2 drums, 4 horses and saddles, and 1,000 rounds of cartridges were captured and brought away.

Trusting that this little transaction will meet with your approval, I am, most faithfully, your obedient servant,

RUSH C. HAWKINS, Colonel, Commanding Fourth Brigade and Post.

Maj. Gen. AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE, Comdg. Dept. of North Carolina, New Berne, N. C.

P. S.-I have just heard that the enemy are building flats in a creek about 4 miles above Currituck Court-House. If I can get the Navy to co-operate and you will send me the Picket, I will organize a party to break up the rebel forces at the Court-House and at the creek. This can be done without running any great risk. I wish you would let me have the Picket. She would be of very great use here in running about in these shallow waters.

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APRIL 13, 1862.–Skirmish at Gillett’s Farm, Pebbly Run, N. C.

REPORTS, ETC.

No. 1.–Baron Egloffstein, Colonel One hundred and third New York Infantry.
No. 2.–Brig. Gen. Robert Ransom, jr., C. S. Army, with letter from General Robert E. Lee.

No. 1.

Reports of Baron Egloffstein, Colonel One hundred and third New York Infantry.

HDQRS. SEWARD INFANTRY, 103D REGT. N. Y. S. V., Hdqrs. 9th N. J. Regt., near Newport, April 15, 1862.

SIR: With this I have the honor to report to you the partial success of my expedition against the Second Regiment North Carolina Volunteers.

I brought all the available forces of that regiment to battle last night at Th. Gillett’s farm. The regiment was commanded by its colonel, William G. Robinson, formerly of the Regular Army, an old Indian fighter, like myself. I made him prisoner. I could not recapture the Ninth New Jersey boys, they having been transported to Kinston before I reached Young’s. Th. Gillett’s farm, the battle ground is situated 6 miles south of Young’s, at the fork of the Onslow and Carolina City roads. I made many prisoners. The wounded enemies number considerable.

I will have the honor to report to you in full on my arrival at New Berne.

I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

BARON EGLOFFSTEIN, Colonel, Seward Infantry, 103d Regt. N. Y. S. V.

Maj. Gen. AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE, Commanding Department of North Carolina.

P. S.-Most of my men are mounted on the horses captured from the enemy and beg to serve as cavalry on similar expeditions. The regiment of Col. William G. Robinson was perfectly routed, but owing {p.298} to the absence of cavalry on my part I could not reap the full advantages of the victory gained in pursuing the rebels.

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HDQRS. SEWARD INFANTRY, 103D REGT. N. Y. S. V., Camp Burnside, New Berne, N. C., April 19, 1862.

April 5.-In obedience to Special Orders of Headquarters Second Division, Department of North Carolina, No 66 a detachment of 141 men left April 5 in order to occupy Evans’ Mill; distance, 6 miles; course south.

April 6.-The party, being re-enforced, left Evans’ Mill at midnight, under command of Colonel Baron Egloffstein, leaving a small garrison to protect both the grist and the lumber mill.

April 7.-Breakfasted at Tippe’s plantation. Reached Noah Jackson’s plantation, where we were informed of the presence of pickets, stationed 1 mile farther west, on Christopher Foy’s farm, the owner of which had been instrumental in carrying away N. Jackson the day before and burning several thousand bales of cotton. Arriving on Christopher Foy’s plantation, the colonel was fired at by the pickets, Foy being reported as taking part in the skirmish. I retaliated by driving the pickets off the ground and securing 50 head of cattle for the use of the Government. We captured 3 horses on the premises, and commenced mounting our infantry, encamped on Foy’s plantation. The next morning a detachment of 25 men, commanded by Captain Schuckhart, was sent to Camp Burnside in charge of the cattle. Left late in the evening for Haughton’s Mill. When near Mill Creek arrested a lone traveler on horseback, who was returning in the direction from Kinston. Through his instrumentality we made the first rebel prisoner at Haughton’s Mill. Major Quentin, with a small detachment, acted as a surprise party with great promptitude.

April 8.-Encamped at Haughton’s residence at 1 o’clock at night. Sent out another surprise party to Crooked Run. Two rebels crossing the run at 9 o’clock in the morning, one of them was made prisoner; the other, having been shot at, escaped through the woods in a southerly direction. From Evans’ Mill we traveled 1 mile south to the fork of the Trenton and Beaufort road; took the Trenton road running west for 10 miles; changed course 2 1/2 miles south to Haughton’s Mill. Later in the afternoon 6 men (pickets) ran in our trap on Crooked Run, but returned post-haste on the road they came, owing to one of the inexperienced soldiers firing too soon. Left the mill at 10 o’clock p.m., having sent the prisoners back to New Berne with a strong escort of cavalry.

April 9.-After a severe march in rain and storm we arrived at Mr. E. Foy’s farm before daybreak-course, west 3 miles, south 2 1/2 miles. Captain Schuckhart rejoined us here, bringing orders for the colonel to return to New Berne for further instructions, Major Quentin remaining in command under instructions to return on the road we came, but securing his position and retreat by scouting parties to the plantations of Cummings, William and Henry McDaniel, by means of which we were informed that 9 prisoners of the Ninth New Jersey Regiment, under an escort amounting nearly to 100 men of cavalry, had passed on their way to Kinston.

April 11.-Colonel Baron Egloffstein returned from New Berne the next evening. The column moved on to Cummings’ farm during the night, reaching Jones’ Mill, where a picket of 11 rebels was posted.

April 12.-The column was halted, and Major Quentin marched {p.299} stealthily with a small body of men through the swamps surrounding the enemy, who, on discovering our men, sought their safety in flight, taking the Onslow road. The major made 1 rebel prisoner in person. We proceeded to the Jones’ estate, superintended by Thomas Garrock; course south, 7 miles. I ordered the major to conduct the infantry through the swamps and across White Oak River, guided by an experienced negro, to Thomas Gillett’s farm, on Pebbly Run. With a view to mislead the enemy I marched the cavalry back to Cummings’ plantation, the fork of the Onslow and Hadnot road, marked Young’s on old geographical maps.

April 13.-To draw the attention of the enemy to the movement of the cavalry I made a number of secessionists prisoners on this road during the night. Marched 6 miles on the Hadnot road, course southeast, to Thomas Gillett’s farm, where we joined the infantry in the afternoon. Foske’s and Bell’s farms were occupied by our own pickets south of Pebbly Run, and a strong picket posted north of Gillett’s plantation to apprise us of the approach of the enemy. The whole cavalry was sent on picket duty in the immediate neighborhood.

At 11 o’clock p.m. our northern picket was driven in by the advance guard of the Second Regiment of Cavalry (Nineteenth Regiment North Carolina Volunteers),led by their colonel, William G. Robinson. Rapid firing on the part of the advancing enemy, chiefly directed to the windows of the room occupied by Colonel Baron Egloffstein, roused our men to prompt action. The inclosures of Gillett’s farm were simultaneously attacked by 300 men-well-mounted cavalry. Gallant conduct was shown on the part of our officers and men. Three charges were repulsed with the greatest firmness, after which the enemy fled in confusion and disorder in all directions, leaving 1 dead, their colonel, and 2 privates as prisoners in our hands. Twelve horses of the enemy we found dead on the battle-field and 5 more hors de combat.

Col. William G. Robinson exhibited much boldness, and deserving of being better sustained by his followers. He was wounded in the thigh heading the third attack in person. Two of our élites, Captain Langner, Prussian artillery, and Lieutenant Martinez, adjutant to General Garibaldi, wrested the colonel from his command.

Our loss was Sergt. Adolph Grossmann, of Company F; Capt. Th. Schuckhart, shot through the heart; Sergt. Henry Bopp, Company B, Captain Muller; Privates Morgenstern, same company, and Muhsam, Company F, wounded, and since recovering.

In the morning pistols, sabers, and guns were found lying about the fields and along the road to Cummings’ and several stray horses were captured.

The élite Geiger was promoted to an honorary lieutenancy on the battle-field. Lieut. Arthur von Brand rendered valuable services. Capt. Th. Schuckhart proved an efficient officer. Drs. John Kraeuter and Marc Boecking deserve credit for giving prompt medical attention to the wounded. First Sergt. Niemetz von Rottenberg, Company K, defended the entrance to the inclosure with much energy and coolness and is deserving of promotion. He was well seconded by Corp. Franz Ebner, same company. Sergeant Krauth, of Company E, acted promptly. Sergeant Wettstein and Corporal Schrag, Company F, behaved bravely. Private Durr, of Company K, was bold and cool. Private Polguere, of Company K, remained on guard during the whole engagement like an old soldier. Sergt. Martin Hacker, of Company K, acted well. Élites Bernhard von Schmidt and Louis von Waldeck acted well. Sergt. Valentine Horst was instrumental in securing the {p.300} gates against the boldest cavalrists, and prevented the disaster which might have followed an early success on the part of the enemy. Privates Muhsam, Ohnesorg, Rieke, Glyckherr, and Nagel, of Company F, fought bravely at the same post. Sergeant Leither, same company, exhibited much courage and electrified our men when most needed. Sergeants Zimmermann and Buhmann were active in resisting the main charge directed to the rear of the premises.

April 14.-For the purpose of delivering Col. William G. Robinson to headquarters without running the risk of another engagement the colonel determined to march without delay to the encampment of the Ninth New Jersey Regiment at Newport. This was accomplished by marching 27 miles our fatigued and brave men. We destroyed the bridge at Jones’ Mill to prevent the enemy from following close to our heels. We reached Carolina City and reported to General J. G. Parke, meeting Capt. D. A. Pell, aide to General Burnside, who directed the immediate delivery of the prisoner colonel to New Berne, where Mrs. William G. Robinson had arrived with a flag of truce to welcome him.

April 18.-By means of railroad and steamer we reached Camp Burnside without further incidents.

BARON EGLOFFSTEIN, Colonel 103d Regt. N. Y. S. V., Seward Infantry.

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No. 2.

Report of Brig. Gen. Robert Ransom, jr., C. S. Army, with letter from General Robert E. Lee.

HDQRS. FIRST BRIG., ARMY [DISTRICT] OF THE PAMLICO, April 20, 1862.

SIR: In compliance with instructions from General Holmes I have the honor to make the following report of the circumstances attending in attack made by Lieutenant-Colonel Robinson, with a part of the Second North Carolina Cavalry (Nineteenth North Carolina Volunteers), upon a detachment of the enemy’s infantry, near White Oak Run on the night of the 13th instant:

Colonel Robinson’s command was composed as follows: Company D, Captain Strange, Lieutenants Baker and Williams, 54 men; Company 1, Captain Bryan, Lieutenant Blasingame, 45 men; Company K, Captain Turner, Lieutenants Graham, Lockhart, and Moore, 45 men; Company B, Lieutenant Allison, 14 men, Company F, Lieutenant King, about 15 men; Company E, 25 men; Company A, 4 men. Total, 1 lieutenant-colonel, 3 captains, 8 lieutenants, and 202 men.

About 2 miles before reaching the house in which the enemy was known to be Colonel Robinson called the three captains together and consulted about a plan of attack. At first it was agreed to dismount two companies, who were to attack in flank and rear while the rest were to charge in front. This mode was, for some unexplained cause, abandoned, and it was determined to charge the premises mounted, and the following arrangement was made:

Captain Bryan, with his company, and the detached portions of Andrews’, Thomas’, and Cole’s (B, E, and F) companies, was to charge down the lane to the front of the house. Strange, with his company, was to throw down the fence on the left, and Turner, with his company, was to do the same on the right, and each to charge on the flanks and rear.

The moon was at the full and the night cloudless. A negro belonging {p.301} to the premises was taken, and from him and Lieutenant Nethercutt, of the Twenty-seventh North Carolina Volunteers, the exact locality of the premises was ascertained and information minute in detail collected. Before getting close an advanced party of 6 privates (4 from Company A and 2 from Company D) was thrown forward to draw off any guard protecting the front. It was concerted that when this party fired the whole command was to move in the direction indicated, each party taking the route previously determined. Near the mouth of the lane a small guard was found and the sentinel shot by the advance party. The lane is about 100 yards long. Immediately upon hearing the shot Colonel Robinson ordered the charge. The advanced party and Captain Bryan and Lieutenant Blasingame, with a small portion of Bryan’s company, obeyed, and reached the yard fence while many of the enemy were yet lying down. Being feebly sustained, they, after discharging their pieces, fell back near the mouth of the lane, where by far the greater portion of all had halted and were wildly and wastefully throwing away their fire. No effort up to this time had been made by either Captains Turner or Strange to reach the flanks and rear of the house.

By some means or other a second charge was made up to the yard gate (which was only about 20 feet from the house), and Captain Bryan and several men state that an officer came out of the house and begged to have the firing cease, offered to surrender, and Captain Bryan gave the order to cease, and for an instant it was obeyed; but some person cried out, “Shoot the d-d rascal!” and at once the firing recommenced on each side.

By this time 2 or 3 of the men had been wounded and 1 or 2 killed, and again the party fell back. Colonel Robinson was all this time trying to urge the men up to their work, but in vain. A large number took to the woods; nearly all hesitated and refused to charge. By dint of personal effort and the assistance of a few others Colonel Robinson threw down the fence on the left, and with about 20 or 30 men (among whom was Captain Strange) charged to the left and rear. Captain Bryan says he joined the party. When nearly in rear of the house the men fell off behind a low hill and left Colonel Robinson almost alone close to the paling. Here he was wounded and fell off his horse. Captain Bryan says he saw and recognized the horse and tried to catch him.

The whole party that had gone into the field toward the rear now galloped entirely around and passed into the road some 200 or 300 yards in rear of the mouth of the lane. Lieutenant Allison says he was not close to the house, as his horse run away with him. About the time that the second charge was made up the lane Captain Turner’s horse was seen to turn back and move off with him. When Colonel Robinson took the field to the left Lieutenants Graham and Moore say that they pulled down the fence on the right, rode into the field, and tried to get their men to follow, but all effort was futile. The whole, except the small party who had gone with Colonel Robinson, either remained in the road, took to the woods, or retired by the way they had come. When those who had pretended to follow Colonel Robinson reached the road all seemed to have become confused and perfect disorder prevailed for 15 miles. Lieutenant Baker says he remained with a small number near the mouth of the lane for more than an hour after the rest had gone. At any rate some reached camp two or three hours sooner than others. No effort was made by any one after Colonel Robinson was wounded to rally the men and renew the fight. It is apparent that a {p.302} success was completely and with scarcely an effort won and afterward lost by folly and cowardice.

Captain Turner was found about 200 yards from the mouth of the lane, lying wounded and stunned in the road. Some suppose that he was wounded in the head and thrown by his horse. As I examined the wound I am satisfied all his injuries were caused by the fall from his horse.

The casualties are Colonel Robinson and Captain Turner wounded; 2 privates killed, 5 wounded, and 5 taken prisoners-probably all wounded.

It is impossible to express too harsh terms toward the men for their dastardly behavior, and we can hardly justly [sic] apply his severe disapprobation to officers who could permit their commander to fall into the hands of the enemy without an effort to rescue him, and who exhibited scarcely the first quality which ought to entitle them to command.

It is but right to remark that the enemy’s numbers have been variously estimated at from 50 to 200. I cannot determine the real strength, but suppose a mean between the two numbers would be just.

To keep such troops in the presence of the enemy would be useless [and] criminal, and I respectfully suggest that the officers and men who have on two occasions covered themselves with shame and our arms with dishonor be debarred the privilege of combatting for our liberties. The officers should be reduced, never to hold commissions; the men should be dismounted and disarmed and placed at hard labor during the war, and the second in command should be made an especial example for the benefit of our country and its cause. It may, perhaps, appear severe that the few who seemed willing to do their duty should suffer with the multitude of those who failed in all that becomes the officer or soldier, but they are so inextricably mingled that human ingenuity would fail to make the just discrimination.

I respectfully recommend that all but one squadron of the regiment be transferred to the rear and there be placed in a school of instruction under competent officers. Ignorance, idleness, and incapacity so strongly characterize a large number of the officers that a thorough purging is required.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. RANSOM, JR., Brigadier-General.

Maj. ARCHER ANDERSON, Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of North Carolina.

P. S.-I inclose a rough map, which will explain the report.

[Indorsements.]

HEADQUARTERS, Goldsborough, N. C., April 21, 1862.

This report is respectfully referred to the Secretary of War, with a recommendation that General Ransom’s suggestion be complied with.

TH. H. HOLMES, Major-General.

APRIL 23, 1862.

Respectfully referred to General Lee.

S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General.

{p.303}

[Inclosure.]

>

1. Route which Strange ought to have taken at first and which was taken by Colonel Robinson.

2. Route which Turner ought to have taken but did not.

3. Low hill behind which the men skulked.

4. Route taken by Strange and party.

5. Robinson wounded.

6. Bryan’s retreat and pursuit of Robinson’s horse.

7. Turner’s fall from his horse.

8. Road going and returning.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., April 25, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Commanding, &c., Department, &c., Goldsborough, N. C.:

GENERAL: The report of Brig. Gen. Ransom of the circumstances attending an attack by Colonel Robinson’s command upon the enemy’s infantry, with your indorsement, recommending that the suggestions of General Ransom be complied with as regards the men and officers who have on two occasions covered themselves with shame and our arms with dishonor has been referred by the Department for my action.

While deeply mortified at the conduct of the men, as reported by General R., I cannot see how his suggestions to reduce the officers and disarm the men and condemn them to hard labor can be carried out, unless charges be properly preferred and the matter submitted for investigation to a court-martial when it could be ascertained how far they were culpable and what punishment is merited. If in your judgment it is deemed advisable, the whole companies might be disbanded and their arms given to others. But it would appear from the report of the detachments engaged that but a few men from some of the companies were present. For the bad behavior of a few it would not appear just to punish the whole. I would suggest that these men be stationed at some point, if possible, where their drill could be perfected, as it would seem that their unfortunate behavior was attributable in a great measure to lack of drill and discipline.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General

{p.304}

APRIL 19, 1862.–Engagement at South Mills, Camden County, N. C.

REPORTS, ETC.

No. 1.–Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, U. S. Army.
No. 2.–Brig. Gen. Jesse L. Reno, U. S. Army.
No. 3.–Col. William A. Howard, First New York Marine Artillery.
No. 4.–Col. Rush C. Hawkins, Ninth New York Infantry, commanding Fourth Brigade, with resulting correspondence.
No. 5.–Lieut. Col. Thomas S. Bell, Fifty-first Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.
No. 6.–Lieut. Col. William S. Clark, Twenty-first Massachusetts Infantry.
No. 7.–Maj. Edwin Schall, Fifty-first Pennsylvania Infantry.
No. 8.–Maj. Gen. Benjamin Huger, C. S. Army, with communications from General R. E. Lee.

No. 1.

Report of Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, U. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, New Berne, April 29, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to inclose General Reno’s report of the movement made by him, in accordance with my order, for the purpose of accomplishing certain objects already indicated in a former dispatch, the main one of which was most successfully accomplished. General Reno’s report gives a detailed account of the movement, and I need only add that I feel an increased confidence in the brave officers and soldiers who accomplished so much in so short a time.

Our loss in the engagement was 14 killed and 96 wounded and 2 taken prisoners.* The enemy’s loss must have been much greater, as the chaplain of the Ninth New York, left in charge of the wounded, reports having seen on the field 30 killed, besides several wounded, the main body of the wounded having been taken from the field when they retreated.

Our forces drove the enemy from the field in a most gallant style, buried our dead, bivouacked on the field for seven hours, transported all the wounded, except 14 so severely wounded that they could not be moved, but were comfortably provided for and left in charge of a surgeon and chaplain.

General Reno then, in obedience to orders, returned to his fleet and embarked his men. He felt less reluctance in leaving behind these 14 wounded with the surgeon and chaplain from the fact that I had but a few days before released some 80 wounded, with the surgeons, who were left by the enemy in New Berne, and the commanding officer in that neighborhood would be less than human were he to refuse to release these wounded as soon as they can be transported safely.

I beg to inclose my congratulatory order with the report of General Reno; also the correspondence between the general and the commanding officer at South Mills.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

A. E. BURNSIDE, Major-General, Commanding Department of North Carolina.

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington.

* But see revised statement, p. 307.

{p.305}

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No. 2.

Report of Brig. Gen. Jesse L. Reno, U. S. Army, with congratulatory order.

HEADQUARTERS SECOND DIVISION, New Berne, N. C., April 22, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to the order of Major-General Burnside, I proceeded from New Berne with the Twenty-first Massachusetts and Fifty-first Pennsylvania Regiments to Roanoke, and was there joined by part of the Ninth and Eighty-ninth New York and Sixth New Hampshire.

We proceeded directly to Elizabeth City and commenced disembarking on the 19th instant at midnight, at a point about 3 miles below, on the east side. By 3 p.m. Colonel Hawkins’ brigade, consisting of the Ninth and Eighty-ninth New York and the Sixth New Hampshire, were landed and ready to move. I ordered Colonel Hawkins to proceed at once with his brigade toward South Mills for the purpose of making a demonstration on Norfolk. I remained to bring up the other two regiments, they having been delayed by their vessels getting aground at the mouth of the river. They came up at daylight and were landed by 7 a.m. I proceeded directly toward South Mills, and about 12 miles out met Colonel Hawkins’ brigade, who, it seems, lost his way, either by the treachery or incompetency of his guide, he having marched some 10 miles out of his way. As his men were very much jaded by their long march, I ordered them to follow the Second Brigade.

Proceeding about 4 miles farther, to within a mile and a half of South Mills, the rebels opened upon us with artillery before my advance guard discovered them. I immediately reconnoitered their position, and found that they were posted in an advantageous position in a line perpendicular to the road-their infantry in ditches and their artillery commanding all the direct approaches, their rear protected by a dense forest. I ordered the Fifty-first Pennsylvania immediately to file to the right and pass over to the edge of the woods to turn their left. I also ordered the Twenty-first Massachusetts to pursue the same course, and when Colonel Hawkins came up with his brigade I sent him with the Ninth and Eighty-ninth New York to their support. The Sixth New Hampshire were formed in line to the left of the road and ordered to support our four pieces of artillery.

Owing to the excessive fatigue of the men they could not reach their position for some time. In the mean time the enemy kept up a brisk artillery fire, which was gallantly responded to by our small pieces under charge of Colonel Howard, of the Coast Guard, who during the entire engagement displayed most conspicuous gallantry and rendered very efficient service both during the action and upon the return, he bringing up the rear. As soon as the Fifty-first Pennsylvania and Twenty-first Massachusetts had succeeded in turning their left they opened a brisk musketry fire, and about the same time the Ninth New York, also coming in range and being too eager to engage, unfortunately charged upon the enemy’s artillery. It was a most gallant charge, but they were exposed to a most deadly fire of canister, grape, and musketry, and were forced to retire, but rallied immediately upon the Eighty-ninth New York. I then ordered both regiments to form a junction with the Twenty-first Massachusetts. In the mean time the {p.306} Fifty-first Pennsylvania and Twenty-first Massachusetts kept up an incessant fire upon the rebels, who now had withdrawn their artillery and had commenced to retire in good order. The Sixth New Hampshire had steadily advanced in line to the left of the road, and when within about 200 yards poured in a most deadly volley, which completely demoralized the enemy and finished the battle. Our men were so completely fagged out by the intense heat and their long march that we could not pursue them. The men rested under arms in line of battle until about 10 o’clock p.m., when I ordered a return to our boats, having accomplished the principal object of the expedition, conveying the idea that the entire Burnside expedition was marching upon Norfolk.

Owing to the want of transportation I was compelled to leave some 16 of our most severely wounded men. Assistant Surgeon Warren, of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, was left with the men. I sent a flag of truce the next day to ask that they might be returned to us, Commodore Rowan kindly volunteering to attend to it. We took only a few prisoners, some 10 or 15, most of whom belonged to the Third Georgia Regiment.

The Ninth New York suffered most severely, owing to their premature charge, our total loss in killed and wounded being about 90, some 60 belonging to that regiment.*

The officers and men of the several regiments all behaved with their usual gallantry and many are worthy of particular mention, and I presume the brigade and regimental commanders will do justice to their respective commands. I will forward their reports as soon as received.

The return march was made in perfect order, and few if any stragglers were left behind. Considering that during the advance the weather was intensely hot and that on the return a severe rain rendered the roads very muddy, and that a portion of the command had to march 45 miles and the other 35 and fight a battle in the mean time, and that all this was accomplished in less than twenty-four hours, I think that the commanding general has every reason to be satisfied with his command.

I desire to return my thanks to Commodore Rowan and the officers and men under him for their untiring energy in disembarking and re-embarking my command, and also to Lieutenant Flusser for the gallant manner in which he assisted us by proceeding up the river and driving the enemy out of the woods along the banks. Colonel Hawkins, commanding the First [Fourth] Brigade, and Lieutenant-Colonel Bell, commanding Second, both displayed conspicuous courage, as did also the regimental commanders. Lieutenant-Colonel Clark commanded the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Major Schall the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, Lieutenant-Colonel Kimball the Ninth New York, Colonel Fairchild the Eighty-ninth New York, and Lieutenant-Colonel Griffin the Sixth New Hampshire. Captain Fearing, aide-de-camp to General Burnside, accompanied me as volunteer aide, and rendered efficient and gallant service; also Captain Ritchie, commissary of subsistence, and Lieutenants Gordon and Breed, of the Signal Corps. My own aides, Lieutenants Reno and Morris, behaved with their usual gallantry. As soon as the brigade and regimental reports are furnished I will forward them, together with a complete list of killed and wounded.

The enemy’s loss was considerable, but they succeeded in carrying off most of their wounded. Several, however, were left on the field, one of whom was a captain of the Third Georgia Regiment. The color-bearer of the Third Georgia Regiment was shot down by the Twenty-first {p.307} Massachusetts while waving defiantly his traitorous flag. The enemy had from six to ten pieces of artillery and from 1,800 to 2,000 men. We approached to within 30 miles of Norfolk, and undoubtedly the defeat of one of their best regiments, the Third. Georgia, produced considerable panic at Norfolk.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. L. RENO, Brigadier-General, Commanding Second Division.

Capt. LEWIS RICHMOND, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* But see Addenda following.

[Addenda.]

Return of casualties in the United States troops in the engagement at South Mills, N. C., April 19, 1862.

[Compiled from nominal lists of casualties, returns, &c.]

Command.Killed.Wounded.Captured or missing.Aggregate.
Officers.Enlisted men.Officers.Enlisted men.Officers.Enlisted men.
6th New Hampshire Infantry1214
21st Massachusetts Infantry115117
1st New York Marine Artillery, detachment*
9th New York Infantry17754675
89th New York Infantry1326
51st Pennsylvania Infantry3118325
Total11299213127

* No loss reported.

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GENERAL ORDERS, No. 30.}

HDQRS. DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, April 26, 1862.

The general commanding desires to express his high appreciation of the excellent conduct of the forces under command of Brigadier-General Reno in the late demonstration upon Norfolk. He congratulates them as well upon the manly fortitude with which they endured excessive, heat and extraordinary fatigue on a forced march of 40 miles in twenty-four hours as upon the indomitable courage with which, notwithstanding their exhaustion, they attacked a large body of the enemy’s best artillery, infantry, and cavalry in their own chosen position, achieving a complete victory. It is therefore ordered, as a deserved tribute to the perseverance, discipline, and bravery exhibited by the officers and soldiers of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Fifty-first Pennsylvania, Ninth New York, Eighty-ninth New York, and Sixth New Hampshire, on the 19th of April-a day already memorable in the history of our country-that the above regiments inscribe upon their respective colors the name, “Camden, April 19.”

The general commanding desires to express his approbation of General Reno’s strict observance of orders when the temptation to follow the retreating enemy was so great.

By command of Maj. Gen. A. E. Burnside:

LEWIS RICHMOND, Assistant Adjutant-General.

{p.308}

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No. 3.

Report of Col. William A. Howard, First New York Marine Artillery.

HEADQUARTERS MARINE ARTILLERY, On Board Steamer Virginia, Croatan Sound, April 20, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that in accordance with your instructions of the morning of the 18th instant I took the schooner Edward Slade, with Professor Maillefert and corps in her, and proceeded to the mouth of the Pasquotank River and anchored. On the arrival of the gunboats and troop ships I proceeded up the river and anchored with the fleet. Two launches, with boat howitzers and crews, under command of Lieutenants Gerard and Avery, of Marine Artillerymen, landed, and joined the advancing column, under command of Colonel Hawkins, Ninth (Zouaves) New York Volunteers. The launches were employed landing troops. The steamers Northerner and Guide, with the Twenty-first Massachusetts and Fifty-first Pennsylvania, not appearing, I dispatched by your orders the steamers Virginia, Ocean Wave, Massasoit, and Phoenix down the river to bring up the troops, which was done about daylight. The troops were landed, also two howitzers (one smooth, one rifled) belonging to the Ninth New York Volunteers, and were attached to the column under your immediate command, Lieutenant Herbert, with a detachment of the Ninth, in charge. By your orders I assumed command of the advance guard and guides and moved into the interior. Having marched several miles, it was observed that a picket of 8 horsemen were watching our movements, giving us, however, only one opportunity of firing upon them. We had marched about 14 miles when dense black smoke was seen to arise from burning buildings, and sweeping across the road concealed the enemy from our sight. On arriving at the line of smoke the advance was arrested by the unmasking of a battery of 12-pounders, which opened fire with shell and grape. Having examined their position as far as possible I reported to you, and was directed to bring up the howitzers, which was done. You had previously, however, directed a flanking movement made by your column. The column of advance, under Colonel Hawkins, not having made its appearance, it was evident we had been misled by his guide. It became necessary, therefore, to keep the enemy in play until its arrival, In forty-five minutes or thereabouts that brigade appeared. The two howitzers and men belonging to the Marine Artillery reported and asked for orders; also Lieutenant Morris, with 15 men of the Ninth New York, to serve with the guns, which were immediately run into position, the range and direction given them, when a very hot fire was opened and continued until the enemy withdrew his pieces, which I reported to you.

On the near approach, however, of the Ninth New York and Eighty-ninth New York on their left flank their guns were again run into position, and severe fire of grape and canister opened upon the charging troops. Our battery was immediately advanced and opened with grape and shell and continued until their final retreat. Our forces, having quiet possession of the field, rested. A reconnaissance made by your instructions showed the object of the movement had been accomplished.

Having given the men sufficient rest and food, at 10 o’clock we commenced our return. By your direction I assumed command of the rear guard with two pieces, supported by the Twenty-first Massachusetts and one company of the Fifty-first Pennsylvania. The rain in the evening having made the roads very bad, our progress was somewhat retarded, {p.309} but on arriving at our place of landing at 6 o’clock, finding our boats ready to receive us, we embarked on board our proper transports, proceeded to this anchorage, landing the detachment belonging to Roanoke, and those destined for New Berne proceeded to their stations.

I cannot close this report without bearing testimony to the gallant officers and men under my command. Lieutenants Gerard and Avery, Marine Artillery; Lieutenants Morris and Herbert, Ninth (Zouaves) New York Volunteers, deserve all I can say for their coolness and courage. Mr. Albert E. Hand, formerly clerk of this vessel, attached himself to my command, and behaved in the most gallant manner. Captain Child, temporarily on duty in this vessel, S. C. D., and Mr. Moore, pilot, were indefatigable in landing the troops, piloting the vessel, &c. When it is considered that our men marched nearly all night, fought a hard battle of three hours’ duration, and marched the same distance the second night without sleep through deep mud cheerfully, without a murmur, too much praise cannot be awarded them.

Respectfully submitted.

W. A. HOWARD, Colonel Marine Artillery.

Brigadier-General RENO, U. S. A., New Berne, Department North Carolina.

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No. 4.

Reports of Col. Rush C. Hawkins, Ninth New York Infantry, commanding Fourth Brigade, with resulting correspondence.

HEADQUARTERS, Roanoke Island, N. C., April 21, 1862.

SIR: In accordance with orders from department headquarters I, on the 18th, at about 11 a.m., embarked on board of the transports about 2,000 men of my brigade from the following regiments: Ninth New York Volunteers, 727; Eighty-ninth New York Volunteers, 625, and Sixth New Hampshire Volunteers, 600. In this force was included two boat guns belonging to Company K, Ninth New York Volunteers.

About 11 o’clock the same evening my brigade commenced landing at a place opposite Cobb’s Point, about 4 miles below Elizabeth City, on the Pasquotank River.

By 2.30 o’clock on the morning of the 19th the landing of my brigade had been completed, including two field pieces from the steamer Virginia; this through the water where it was more than knee-deep, which the men were compelled to wade.

At 3 a.m. the whole brigade was on the march,and continued for the next twelve hours on its weary way through a long, circuitous route of 32 miles, beneath the terrible heat of the sun, amid the constantly-rising dust.

At about 3 p.m. I succeeded in arriving in eight of the enemy’s position with about one-half of the men who had commenced the march, when we were immediately ordered into action, the Sixth New Hampshire Volunteers going to the left of the enemy’s position, the Ninth and Eighty-ninth New York going to the right through the woods to outflank the enemy on each side. Up to this time the part of a battery from the Ninth New York, worked by Lieutenant Herbert, assisted by {p.310} 5 men (the rest having been worn out by fatigue), received and sustained the whole fire of the enemy’s battery.

After marching about 2 miles through a swamp covered with thick undergrowth I arrived within about three-eighths of a mile of the enemy’s position, where they were concealed in the woods. After a short tour of observation I came to the conclusion that it would be impossible to outflank them on the right the undergrowth and swamp being almost impenetrable. A charge through an open field directly in front of the enemy’s position was thought to be the only way in which they could be dislodged. I then returned to where I had left the Ninth New York and found them lying on the ground completely exhausted. I stated to the regiment what I proposed to do, and asked the men if they felt equal to the task. Their answer was, “We will try, colonel, and follow wherever you may lead us.” Immediately the command, “Forward!” was given, the Ninth New York taking the lead, followed by the Eighty-ninth New York. We had proceeded to within about 200 yards of the enemy’s concealed position when the Ninth New York received the full and direct fire from the enemy’s infantry and batteries. This completely staggered the men, who were before completely exhausted, and the order was given for the regiment to turn to the right, where it would be partly sheltered from the fire. This order was executed, but slowly. Soon after the Eighty-ninth New York commenced to move forward, supported by the Ninth New York, when the enemy retreated. When this commenced the Sixth New Hampshire poured a volley into the right wing of the Third Regiment Georgia Volunteers, which completely cut them to pieces. The troops then bivouacked on the field, where they remained until 10 p.m., when they were ordered to fall in and return to their transports.

It is seldom, if ever, that men have been called upon to perform so much in so short a time as those were who composed the Fourth Brigade under my command. Marching 50 miles and fighting a battle all in twenty-six hours you will admit is no small undertaking, and yet this was done without a murmur or a complaint.

In the charge of the Ninth New York, that regiment lost 9 killed and 56 wounded. Among the former was Lieut. Charles A. Gadsden, adjutant, who fell at the head of his regiment. He was a kind, considerate man and a most excellent soldier, and dies greatly lamented by all of his companions.

Colonel Howard, of the steamer Virginia, who was in command of the artillery, has not yet made his report, consequently I am unable to give any particulars concerning his part in the engagement, but believe that he behaved with great coolness and bravery, as well as all of the men and officers under him.

Soon after the troops had returned to Roanoke Island the Rev. T. W. Conway, chaplain of the Ninth New York Volunteers, returned, bringing with him about 50 stragglers and some of the wounded left behind on the field of battle. He remained to bury the dead and to assist the wounded. On the morning of the 20th he started out to find the rebel pickets, and after going some distance he was informed that the rebels had left the night before-re-enforcements which they had only a few moments before received included-for Suffolk, thinking that our forces were by a flank movement getting in their rear to cut them off; returned to the hospital by the way of the battle-field, where he counted 30 of the enemy’s dead. After the dead were buried and the wounded who could not be brought away cared for, all the stragglers who could {p.311} be found armed themselves and started for the place of debarkation and arrived here in safety the next morning.

In this enterprise you have received another evidence of the courage and enterprise of the troops under your command. Although the results of this expedition may seem disastrous on account of the loss of life, still the reconnaissance cannot fail to be of great value to you when connected with future operations.

In justice to other regiments I cannot say what I should like to about the officers and men of my own, consequently would only say that all alike did their duty faithfully and well.

I regret to add that, owing to our limited transportation, we were compelled to leave behind 14 of our wounded in care of Dr. Warren, of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, 2 or 3 of which were brought away by the chaplain of the Ninth. I have to-day sent a flag of truce by Major Jardine, who was accompanied by the surgeon, chaplain, and 10 privates, of the Ninth New York, for the purpose of bringing back the wounded and the bodies of Lieutenant Gadsden and our dead who were buried on the field.

Herewith you will find a complete list of the killed, wounded, and missing of the Fourth Brigade in the action of the 19th.*

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

RUSH C. HAWKINS, Colonel, Commanding Fourth Brigade and Post.

Maj. Gen. AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE, Comdg. Dept. of North Carolina, New Berne, N. C.

* Embodied in statement on p. 307.

[Indorsement No. 1.]

HEADQUARTERS, New Berne, N. C., May 1, 1862.

Respectfully referred to General Reno, to whom it should have originally been addressed.

By order of Major-General Burnside:

LEWIS RICHMOND, Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Indorsement No. 2.]

HEADQUARTERS SECOND DIVISION, May 2, 1862.

I beg to inclose the following indorsement.

J. L. RENO, Brigadier-General, Commanding Second Division.

[Indorsement No. 3.]

HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, New Berne, N. C., May 1, 1862.

Capt. LEWIS RICHMOND, Assistant Adjutant-General:

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to indorse upon the report of Colonel R. C. Hawkins, Ninth New York Volunteers, which you this day caused to be referred to me, the following remarks and statements, viz:

In the first place I beg leave to call your attention to the fact that this report was rendered by Colonel Hawkins directly to you instead {p.312} of to me, his immediate commanding officer, which is in violation of the Army Regulations and Rules of Service, as also that the spirit of the report indicates a disposition to ignore me, the commanding officer of the expedition, as well as the rest of my command not embraced in Colonel Hawkins’ brigade. No mention is made by Colonel Hawkins in his report of the orders received on the march and during the engagement from me personally and through my aides. He gives no explanation of the way in which my orders were carried out, nor why some of the orders given him were not obeyed. To be more explicit, I will state in detail that the whole force under my command, consisting of the Sixth New Hampshire, Ninth and Eighty-ninth New York Volunteers (which three regiments composed the brigade of Colonel Hawkins), the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, and Twenty-first Massachusetts, set sail from Roanoke Island by my orders, and debarked near Elizabeth City by my order and under my personal direction, and that the march toward South Mills was executed by though not according to my express orders, as Colonel Hawkins took his brigade by a most circuitous route. The orders I gave Colonel Hawkins on landing were to proceed directly to the bridge across the Pasquotank, about a mile this side of South Mills, and to occupy it. This order he did not obey promptly, and I sent two aides in succession to order him to proceed, and finally was obliged to go in person to force obedience to my order. Four hours after this I landed with the remaining two regiments, which had been delayed in disembarking by the steamers Northerner and Guide getting aground at the mouth of the river. We passed Colonel Hawkins’ brigade about 12 miles out and before he had got upon the direct road, he having marched some 10 or 12 miles out of the way. The road to South Mills was open, plain, and perfectly direct, known to every resident in the country, and nothing but design or negligence could have caused him to miss the road. With respect to the statement in Colonel Hawkins’ report to you that “at about 3 p.m. I succeeded in arriving in sight of the enemy’s position with about one-half of the men who had commenced the march, when we were immediately ordered into action, the Sixth New Hampshire Volunteers going to the left of the enemy’s position, the Ninth and Eighty-ninth New York Volunteers going to the right through the woods to outflank the enemy on each side,” I have to state that at about 1 o’clock I arrived with my whole command in front of the enemy’s position, the Fifty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, followed by the Twenty-first Massachusetts Volunteers, with Colonel Howard’s artillery, being in advance, the brigade under Colonel Hawkins following. I immediately sent the Fifty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers and Twenty-first Massachusetts Volunteers to the right with orders to turn the enemy’s left, and at once sent orders to Colonel Hawkins to move forward with his whole brigade. This order not being promptly obeyed, I went back and found that he had halted his command and had not prepared to move. I immediately ordered him forward, with directions to follow (with two regiments) the Twenty-first Massachusetts Volunteers and Fifty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, to aid in turning the enemy’s left. I then went forward and placed the two latter regiments in proper position, and, returning, met Colonel Hawkins, and again giving the orders above named, I pointed out to him the position of the Twenty-first Massachusetts and Fifty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers. The way was through an open pine wood, which had already been passed over by the above-named regiments. It is thus shown that the time at which the engagement commenced was before the time which the said report would lead one to suppose, and {p.313} that the time consumed by Colonel Hawkins in coming under fire was due to unnecessary delay on his part, and that the studious avoidance of the mention of orders received by him from me was calculated to cover this delay and convey the impression that he acted by his own authority.

With respect to the statement that “after marching about 2 miles through a swamp covered by thick undergrowth I arrived within about three-eighths of a mile of the enemy’s position, where they were concealed in the woods, I came to the conclusion that it would be impossible to outflank them on the right, the undergrowth and swamp being almost impenetrable,” I have to state that the route pursued by the command of Colonel Hawkins did not lead through a swamp or almost impenetrable undergrowth, as is shown by the fact that two regiments (the Twenty-first Massachusetts and Fifty-first Pennsylvania) had already passed over this ground, and that I had been over the ground myself and found it dry and perfectly practicable for passage.

As to the statement that “a charge through an open field directly in front of the enemy’s position was thought to be the only way in which they could be dislodged,” I have to state that if the intention be to convey the idea that I, the commanding officer, thought so, it is untrue, as it was directly contrary to my opinion. If the intention be to convey the idea that he or other officers thought so and that he acted upon that conclusion, it was an act of insubordination, as it was contrary to my orders.

As to the statement that “soon after the Eighty-ninth New York commenced to move forward, supported by the Ninth New York, when the enemy retreated,” &c., I have to state that it is calculated to give the false impression that this movement caused the retreat of the enemy, when in reality it was caused by the enemy’s flank being turned by the Twenty-first Massachusetts and Fifty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers.

In conclusion, I have to state that Col. R. C. Hawkins, in making his report directly to you instead of his commanding officer, has been guilty of a breach of military usage and discipline, and that the spirit of said report is calculated to ignore my presence as commanding officer, to ignore orders received from me as well as to ignore the presence of those regiments which principally fought the engagement, and that the report tends to convey a false impression of the circumstances arising during the engagement and of the part which he played in it, and that it contains a perversion of truth in the statements concerning the obstacles to his progress in moving to turn the enemy’s left. I beg leave also to state that the principal loss in killed and wounded is due to the unauthorized and unnecessary charge made by the Ninth New York, under the immediate command of Colonel Hawkins.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. L. RENO, Brigadier-General, Commanding Second Division.

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HEADQUARTERS, Roanoke island, N. C., April 21, 1862.

SIR: In accordance with orders from the department headquarters, and under your immediate orders I, on the 18th, at about 11 a.m., embarked on board of the transport about 2,000 men of my brigade from the following regiments: Ninth New York Volunteers, 727; {p.314} Eighty-ninth New York Volunteers, 625, and Sixth New Hampshire Volunteers, 600. In this force was included two boat guns belonging to Company K, Ninth New York Volunteers.

About 11 p.m. the same evening my brigade commenced landing at a place opposite Cobb’s Point, about 4 miles below Elizabeth City, on the Pasquotank River.

By 2.30 o’clock on the morning of the 19th the landing of my brigade had been completed, including two field pieces from the steamer Virginia; this through the water where it was more than knee-deep, which the men were compelled to wade.

At 3 a.m. the whole brigade was on the march, and continued for the next twelve hours on its weary way through a long, circuitous route of 32 miles, beneath the terrible heat of the sun, amid the constantly-rising dust.

At about 3 p.m. I succeeded in arriving in sight of the enemy’s position with about one-half of the men who had commenced the march, when we were immediately ordered by yourself into action, the Sixth New Hampshire Volunteers going to the left of the enemy’s position, the Ninth and Eighty-ninth New York going to the right through the woods to outflank the enemy on each side. Up to this time the part of a battery from the Ninth New York, worked by Lieutenant Herbert, assisted by 5 men (the rest having been worn out by fatigue), received and sustained the whole fire of the enemy’s battery.

After marching about 2 miles through a swamp covered with thick undergrowth I arrived within about three-eighths of a mile of the enemy’s position where they were concealed in the woods. After a short tour of observation I came to the conclusion that it would be impossible to outflank them on the right, the undergrowth and swamp being almost impenetrable; A charge through an open field in front of the enemy’s position was thought to be the only way in which they could be dislodged. I then returned to where I had left the Ninth New York, and found them lying on the ground completely exhausted. I stated to the regiment what I proposed to do, and asked the men if they felt equal to the task. Their answer was, “We will try, colonel, and follow wherever you may lead us.” Immediately the command forward was given, the Ninth New York taking the lead, followed by the Eighty-ninth New York. We had proceeded to within about 200 yards of the enemy’s concealed position when the Ninth New York received the full, direct, right-oblique, and left-oblique fires from the enemy’s infantry and batteries. This completely staggered the men, who were before quite exhausted. The order was then given for the regiment to turn to the right, where it would be partly sheltered from the fire. This order was executed, but slowly. Soon after the Eighty-ninth New York commenced to move forward, supported by the Ninth New York, when the enemy retreated. When this commenced the Sixth New Hampshire poured a volley into the right wing of the Third Georgia Volunteer Regiment, which completely cut them into pieces. The troops then bivouacked on the field, where they remained until 10 p.m., when they were ordered to fall in and return to their transports.

It is seldom, if ever, that men have been called upon to perform so much in so short a time as those were who composed the Fourth Brigade, under my command. Marching 50 miles and fighting a battle all in twenty-six hours you will: admit is no small undertaking, and yet this was done without a murmur or complaint.

In the charge of the Ninth New York that regiment lost 9 killed and {p.315} 60 wounded. Among the former was Lieut. Charles A. Gadsden, adjutant, who fell at the head of his regiment. He was a kind, considerate man and a most excellent soldier, and dies greatly lamented by all of his companions.

Colonel Howard, of the steamer Virginia, who was in command of the artillery, has not yet made his report, consequently I am unable to give any particulars concerning his part in the engagement, but believe that he behaved with coolness and bravery, as well as all of the men and officers under him.

Soon after the troops had returned to Roanoke Island the Rev. T. W. Conway, chaplain of the Ninth New York Volunteers, returned, bringing with him about 50 stragglers and some of the wounded left behind on the field of battle. He remained behind to bury the dead and to assist the wounded. On the morning of the 20th he started out to find the rebel pickets, and after going some distance he was informed that the rebels had left the night before-re-enforcements which they had only a few moments before received included-for Suffolk, thinking that our forces were by a flank movement getting in their rear to cut them off. He returned to the hospital by the way of the battle-field, where he counted 30 of the enemy’s dead. After the dead were buried and the wounded who could not be brought away cared for all the stragglers who could be found armed themselves and started for the place of debarkation, and arrived here in safety the next morning.

In this enterprise the commanding general has received another evidence of the courage and enterprise of the troops under his command. Although the results of this expedition may seem disastrous on account of the loss of life, still the reconnaissance cannot fail to be of great value to him when connected with future operations.

In justice to other regiments I cannot say what I should like to about the officers and men of my own, consequently would only say that all alike did their duty faithfully and well.

I regret to add that owing to our limited transportation we were compelled to leave behind 14 of our wounded in care of Dr. Warren, of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, 2 or 3 of which were brought away by the chaplain of the Ninth New York. I have to-day sent a flag of truce by Major Jardine; who was accompanied by the surgeon, chaplain, and 10 privates of the Ninth New York, for the purpose of bringing back the wounded and the bodies of Lieutenant Gadsden and our dead who were buried on the field.

Herewith you will find a complete list of the killed, wounded, and missing of the Fourth Brigade in the action of the 19th.*

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

RUSH C. HAWKINS, Colonel Ninth New York Volunteers, Comdg. Fourth Brigade.

Brig. Gen. JESSE L. RENO, Comdg. Second Div., Dept. of North Carolina, New Berne, N. C.

* Embodied in statement on p. 307.

[Indorsement.]

HDQRS. SECOND DIV., DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, New Berne, N. C., May 15, 1862.

This amended report of Colonel Hawkins, made to me in obedience to your express orders, exhibiting the same inconsistencies and misstatements as the first or original report, is not deemed satisfactory, and {p.316} I can see no reason for altering or suppressing my original remarks or indorsement. I therefore recommend that his original report, with my indorsement, be forwarded.

J. L. RENO, Brigadier-General.

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HEADQUARTERS, Roanoke Island, N. C., April 23, 1862.

SIR: Doubtless the unfortunate occurrence of the 19th has been brought fully to your notice. No one can regret the result more than myself. First, because of the loss of life; second the object of the expedition not being accomplished after all the obstacles in our way had been removed. It seems that both parties were badly frightened. The enemy ran like quarter-horses toward Norfolk and we as fast as our weary legs would carry us toward Roanoke, leaving quite a number of our wounded and destroying the bridges behind us. In this connection I will only add our retirement was discretion, our valor having been wholly spent on the field of battle. There is one satisfaction, that we whipped them in their own well-chosen position like the devil. They acknowledged to have had three companies of the Georgia Third completely cut to pieces, and from this acknowledgment it is but fair to infer their loss was much greater. Their force, as near as I can ascertain, was the Georgia Third, 1,165 strong; a battery of Henningsen’s artillery of four pieces, and some North Carolina Militia, number not known, and a full squadron of Suffolk and Southampton cavalry. This statement of the enemy’s forces I believe to be very nearly correct.

I most cordially join in the recommendations of the surgeons that the wounded be removed North as soon as possible, and that a steamer, made comfortable by the necessary beds, &c., be sent here for that purpose at the earliest moment. They can be of no service here and will recover much more rapidly at the North, besides relieving our surgeons, who are already worn-out by their arduous labors. Owing to the little wound received in my left arm in the affair of the 19th I am compelled, by the advice of surgeons, to lay up in ordinary for repairs, much against my desire or inclination. They say it will be eight weeks before I am fit for service. Under such circumstances, being forbidden to perform any labor, I would ask for leave of absence until such time as I am able to return to duty, which will be at the earliest possible moment. But still, if you cannot spare me, I will remain and render such service as I am able to perform lying on my back. I know and can dictate what ought to be done.

I should be very happy to see you here, as I have much to say to you that I cannot write.

Most faithfully, your friend and servant,

RUSH C. HAWKINS, Commanding Post.

Maj. Gen. AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE, Commanding Department of North Carolina.

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NEW BERNE, N. C., April 24, 1862.

MY DEAR GENERAL: Foster showed me the letter of that infernal scoundrel Hawkins, and he and other rascals have been circulating {p.317} reports concerning my conduct and the command at the recent battle of Camden which are calculated to do me and the gallant men with me great injustice. You remember that my orders were not to risk any disaster, and that I did not go prepared to remain absent more than two days. After ascertaining that the Navy could not make a junction with me at the bridge, and hearing from a variety of sources that I considered reliable that re-enforcements were on the way, I deemed it for the best to retire, and no man more highly approved that course than the rascal Hawkins. In fact, it was his bad conduct in placing his regiment in a position to get whipped and demoralized that principally induced me to change my first intention, which was to remain on the field and proceed to South Mills in the morning. The commanding officers of both the Twenty-first and Fifty-first came to me to urge that course, stating that they had not sufficient ammunition to risk another battle. The doctors also stated that the wounded could be moved more easily then than at any other time, and not being able to divine the future or imagine that they would abandon a 32-pounder battery, which I knew they had at South Mills, I believed I was carrying out your wishes in returning. If such was the fact, I think that out of justice to me and the command you should publish an order to that effect. You have no idea how industriously some scoundrel has been spreading reports that we were badly whipped, and how dissatisfied the officers and men of the Twenty-first and Fifty-first are that no official contradiction of such lying reports has been made.

All well here. We will keep up a sharp lookout for our secesh friends. I think that I will send the One hundred and third New York to Parke. My love to him, yourself, and others.

Yours, truly,

J. L. RENO.

General AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE.

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No. 5.

Report of Lieut. Col. Thomas S. Bell, Fifty-first Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.

CAIN FIFTY-FIRST REGIMENT PENNSYLVANIA VOLS., New Berne, N. C., April 23, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report, for the information of the general commanding the division, that on the landing of the Fifty-first Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers and Twenty-first Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers at the point on the Pasquotank River about 3 miles below Elizabeth City, between the hours of 6 and 7 a.m. on the 19th instant, I by his order took command of the two regiments and formed them in line in the open field. Sending forward Company A, of the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, as an advance guard to the column, the wagons hauling the cannon and loaded with the ammunition, &c., were next put in line. These were followed by the Fifty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers and Twenty-first Massachusetts. Everything being in readiness, the march was commenced about 7.30 o’clock.

Colonel Hawkins (Ninth New York), commanding the First [Fourth] Brigade, composed of the Ninth New York, Eighty-ninth New or , and Sixth New Hampshire Volunteers, had marched from the point of landing between the hours of 2 and 3 a.m., and was supposed to be in possession {p.318} of the bridge near South Mills at the time of our marching. The road was in most excellent marching condition, and the men pushed forward as rapidly as could be desired. The extreme heat of the sun, though, soon began to exhaust them very much. After having marched a distance of about 10 miles we were unexpectedly joined from the right by Colonel Hawkins’ command, who, through an unfortunate mistake upon the part of his guide, had taken the wrong road and been misled some 10 miles from his course. His brigade fell in rear of the column, and as rapidly as possible we moved forward.

Company F, of the Fifty-first, was now sent forward to strengthen the advance guard. The heat of the sun was most oppressive, the road dusty, the men hungry. About noon General Reno, who was in advance, was just about to call a halt, in order that the men might dine and rest themselves, when, most unexpectedly, the enemy opened upon us with cannon, the position of which was well masked by a burning house and some cedar trees. They kept up from the first discharge a vigorous fire. By order from General Reno I directed the Fifty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers to move by the right flank across the field to the woods on the enemy’s left, in order to flank the battery and troops supporting it. The Twenty-first Massachusetts, having halted to rest before the enemy opened, was some distance in rear. The enemy kept up an incessant fire at the Fifty-first Regiment as it crossed the field toward the woods, but the range being too great for canister they were obliged to confine themselves to solid shot, and these did no damage. After reaching the woods they were moved toward the enemy’s position. On account of the extreme exhaustion of the men and the thickness of the underbrush their advance was necessarily slow and tedious. The enemy followed the movement with his cannon but not until we had approached sufficiently near for him to use canister did he do any injury. By the canister 1 man was killed and several wounded.

I ordered Major Schall, commanding the Fifty-first, to put out his skirmishers and advance on the enemy’s left to where the Third Georgia Volunteers were posted in the woods and engage them and sent back to bring up the Twenty-first Massachusetts. On their arrival I conducted them, by order of General Reno, along the edge of the woods in the course taken by the Fifty-first. On coming up with the Fifty-first the skirmishers of the enemy showed themselves in the field and woods, and fire was immediately opened upon them by Company B, of the Fifty-first. That regiment, by my order, immediately advanced to the fence on the edge of the open field and opened an enfilading fire on the Third Georgia and other troops of the enemy who were drawn up in the woods skirting the open field at right angles to our position. Our fire was warmly responded to. I ordered the Twenty-first Massachusetts farther to the right, in order to guard against any attack on our flank or rear. They were immediately engaged with the enemy.

Soon after we had opened fire the Ninth New York (Hawkins’ Zouaves) started to charge the position of the enemy across the open field in front, but by heavy discharges of canister they were repulsed with considerable loss. Many of the men of the regiment joined us in our position. After the firing had been vigorously kept up from half to three-quarters of an hour I ordered a charge across the field on their position. This was most gallantly done by the Fifty-first Pennsylvania and Twenty-first Massachusetts, the Sixth New Hampshire advancing up the left of the road and the Eighty-ninth and Ninth New York from the woods. The enemy broke and fled from the field precipitately, leaving {p.319} us in undisputed possession of it. Our troops being too much fatigued from the long march and the battle to pursue the enemy farther, they were, by order of the general commanding, bivouacked in the woods.

On account of the ease with which the enemy could be re-enforced from Norfolk, distant only about 28 miles, and the probability that he had already been largely re-enforced, thus accomplishing the chief object of the reconnaissance, and because of the smallness of our force, the lack of ammunition and provisions, it was deemed prudent by the general commanding and all the officers consulted by him to retire to our vessels. Accordingly, between 9 and 10 o’clock p.m., large camp-fires having been built, the column moved off. The Twenty-first Massachusetts brought up the rear, Company D, under Lieutenant Barker, and two guns, under the command of Colonel Howard, of the Marine Artillery, and the Pioneer Corps of the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, under Lieutenant Ortlip (to destroy the bridge), acting as our guard.

On account of a heavy rain which had fallen the roads were in a miserable condition, but the arduous march to the landing was accomplished by between 6 and 7 o’clock a.m. on the 20th.

On account of the lack of transportation and the severity of their wounds the medical director of the column, Dr. Humphreys, of the Ninth New York, was obliged to leave about 20 of the wounded in charge of Dr. Warren, assistant surgeon of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, in the hospital established in the houses about the field. Some few from exhaustion failed to reach the place of landing in time to embark in the transports, but it is confidently expected that they have all been taken on board the gunboat sent up to the creek above Camden Court-House, and will soon rejoin their regiments. On arriving at the landing the troops were placed on board the transports and soon sailed. The Twenty-first and Fifty-first arrived at New Berne about 12 o’clock on Tuesday, the 22d instant.

I transmit herewith the reports of Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, commanding Twenty-first Massachusetts, and Major Schall, commanding the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, with their list of casualties. Though both regiments were almost utterly exhausted before the commencement of the action, both attacked the enemy with great vigor, and by their gallant charge completely routed them.

I desire to mention particularly the assistance rendered me during the march and on the field by my acting aides, Lieutenant Harlow, quartermaster of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, and Lieutenants Beaver and Fair, of the Fifty-first Pennsylvania.

I am, captain, very respectfully, yours,

THOMAS S. BELL, Lieut. Col., 51st Pa. Vols., Comdg. Brig., Reconnoitering Expedition.

Capt. EDWARD M. NEILL, A. A. G., Second Division.

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No. 6.

Report of Lieut. Col. William S. Clark, Twenty-first Massachusetts Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-FIRST MASSACHUSETTS VOLS., Steamer Northerner, Pamlico Sound, April 21, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that, in accordance with orders from Acting Major-General Reno, the Twenty-first Massachusetts Volunteers {p.320} embarked on board the transport-steamer Northerner at 5 o’clock p.m. on the 17th instant, and proceeded to the mouth of the Pasquotank River, in Albemarle Sound, where we arrived about sunrise on the 19th.

The regiment was here transferred to the light-draught steamers Ocean Wave and Massasoit, and afterward to small row-boats and launches, which were run in as near shore as possible at a point on the north bank of the river about 3 miles below Elizabeth City. Officers and men now cheerfully sprang into the water and waded to land, where the line was immediately formed and muskets loaded. We numbered 500 picked men, and were furnished with two days’ rations and 60 rounds of ammunition.

Three regiments, the Ninth and Eighty-ninth New York Volunteers and the Sixth New Hampshire Volunteers, had been landed about 2 o’clock a.m. and sent forward, under command of Colonel Hawkins, to take possession of a bridge near South Mills, where are extensive stone locks on the Dismal Swamp Canal.

A little before 7 o’clock General Reno followed with the Fifty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers and the Twenty-first Massachusetts Volunteers, which regiments had been delayed about four hours by the want of suitable pilots to bring up the transports. The column advanced rapidly along an excellent road through a level and fertile district, halting a few minutes occasionally for water and rest. About 10 o’clock, as we were lying by the road-side, we were astonished to see a large body of troops coming down upon our left flank. “Attention” was immediately sounded by the bugle and the general rode out to reconnoiter. He was not a little chagrined to find that Colonel Hawkins, with his command, having been misled by his guide, had marched 10 miles farther than was necessary to reach this point, and instead of having surprised the enemy by an early arrival at the bridge had nearly exhausted his men by a wearisome march. The weather was now very oppressive, and the men began to suffer greatly from the heat and the want of water, as their canteens were emptied early in the day and there had been no opportunity of refilling them. As no halt had been made for breakfast, and hard bread and salt beef could not well be eaten without water, they were also faint from the want of food.

Before noon large numbers had fallen out from all the regiments, utterly unable to proceed, and General Reno, who was now in advance, with the Fifty-first Pennsylvania and the Twenty-first Massachusetts, was just about to order a halt for dinner, when most unexpectedly a brisk fire of round shot and canister was opened upon us.

The battery of the rebels was skillfully masked by the smoke from a dwelling-house and outbuildings on the highway, which had been set on fire for this purpose, and our advance guard was close upon it when the cannonade commenced. General Reno at once ordered the Fifty-first Pennsylvania to take shelter in the woods on the left of the enemy’s position, and sent back for the remaining regiments and the four howitzers which were under command of Colonel Howard of the Marine Artillery.

In consequence of the extreme exhaustion of the men considerable time elapsed before they could be brought into position for the attack, and the artillery of the rebels continued for more than an hour without interruption from us and without doing us much damage, as they had no shells and the range was too great for canister. Many trees and a few men were injured by their round shot, which were thrown with considerable accuracy.

{p.321}

The rebels had one light battery stationed on the main road behind the burning buildings, and another one about 50 yards to the right of the first, upon a road running in that direction. The batteries were supported by two regiments of infantry, numbering about 1,800 men, and 200 cavalry. The Third Georgia Volunteers was formed in line of battle in a grove of young pines some 300 yards behind and to the left of the burning buildings, and their skirmishers were thrown far into the swampy forest on their left to prevent us from getting in their rear.

By command of General Reno I advanced with my regiment as rapidly as the greenbrier and tangled underbrush would permit, marching by the flank toward the line of the Third Georgia until fired upon by their skirmishers. Two companies were then ordered into line and to fire several volleys into the swamp from which the bullets came, when the rebels retired. My regiment was now entirely in the rear of the batteries and very near the Third Georgia, whose traitorous flag was distinctly seen through the pines.

Company K, under Captain Davis, was sent forward into the swamp to follow up the rebel skirmishers and prevent any attack upon our rear. Company G, commanded by Lieutenant Wheeler, was then ordered to advance to the fence between the woods and the cleared field and open fire upon the Georgians. This difficult task was performed in the most admirable manner amid a perfect storm of bullets, and the company gallantly formed along the fence and drove out the skirmishers of the enemy, some of whom fired upon them from a distance of not more than 20 yards. The entire regiment was now ordered to form in line behind the fence and commenced firing as rapidly as possible, and the battle was fairly opened.

The position of my regiment was all that could be desired, as we were well protected by the fence and bushes were in the rear of the batteries and immediately upon the left of the Georgians, our line being at right angles to theirs, so that our fire was constantly right-oblique. Upon our left was the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, then the Ninth New York, and then the Eighty-ninth New York. About half an hour after the firing commenced the Ninth New York (Hawkins’ Zouaves) charged across the open field toward the enemy, but were repelled by a destructive volley from the Third Georgia Volunteers. The Twenty-first Massachusetts, being thus temporarily relieved from their fire, immediately sprang over the fence into the open field and killed the color-sergeant, who was defiantly waving his rebel flag several yards in front of his regiment.

Our entire line now advanced from the woods and charged with shouts and cheers across the cleared ground, while the Sixth New Hampshire, which had supported our howitzers in front of the enemy’s position, poured in a tremendous volley by command of General Reno, who happened to be with them at the moment. The rebels fled precipitately to the woods and were seen no more.

As it was now nearly night and our forces were quite exhausted and as we had no cavalry, it was impossible to pursue them. The Twenty-first was at once formed in line, and having stacked arms, sat down upon the battle ground to rest. Squads were now sent out from each company to pick up the killed and wounded and their weapons. Our hospital was established in a house near by, and the regiment prepared to bivouac on the very spot in the forest which they had occupied {p.322} during the fight, the fence which had served so well as a protection by day furnishing excellent fuel for camp-fires at night.

In consequence of the unfortunate delay referred to in the first part of the report it was impossible to carry out the original plan of the expedition. Accordingly, as we had neither provisions nor ammunition enough to do another day’s work, the general reluctantly decided to return to his vessels, and, considering that the night was rainy and the men without tents or blankets and that the enemy might receive re-enforcements before daylight from Norfolk, which was only 30 miles distant, and harass us on our return with their cavalry and flying artillery, he resolved to make the march by night. Orders were therefore issued to build large fires around the battle-field and to provide transportation for such of the wounded as were able to be moved. About 30 of them were unavoidably left behind, in charge of Dr. O. Warren, assistant surgeon of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, who cheerfully remained, subject to the tender mercies of the rebels. The choice of surgeon for this duty was made by lot. Chaplain Ball labored as usual most assiduously to promote the comfort of the wounded both on the field and at the hospital, and especially on the return to the transports and on the voyage to New Berne, when, in the absence of any surgeon, he kindly dressed their wounds and administered such remedies as their circumstances required.

At 9 o’clock Lieutenant Reno, aide-de-camp, started with the Ninth New York Volunteers to take possession of a draw-bridge near Camden Court-House and prevent its destruction in case the enemy should attempt it. The other regiments silently left their places in the woods and moved along the road past the hospitals; the wagons, with their wounded, took their position in the center of the column, and the general followed with the Twenty-first Massachusetts as the rear guard.

Company D, under Lieutenant Barker, performed in the most efficient manner the very arduous and unpleasant duty of rear guard to the regiment. Not only were they obliged to be constantly on the lookout for the enemy, but they were compelled to labor incessantly to urge and assist forward the numerous stragglers who fell out from the various regiments. Between Company D and the rest of the Twenty-first Colonel Howard was placed with two howitzers.

A more wearisome march has been seldom made by any troops. The night was dark, the soft, clayey mud from 3 to 12 inches in depth, and the men worn out by the labors of the day, having marched 16 miles and most of them 26, besides passing through the excitement and fatigue of the battle. Nevertheless the greater part of them bore up manfully, and though terribly exhausted moved steadily to the landing, where the head of the column arrived about 5 o’clock in the morning.

I am happy to report that while the Twenty-first was unable to do much damage to the enemy they suffered a comparatively slight loss. Not a man was injured by artillery and but 15 by infantry, owing to our excellent position. Only two others failed to come up with the regiment, although the Twenty-first constituted the rear guard on the return march, and these both fell out before the battle. Notwithstanding the difficulties of the march every rifle taken from the camp was returned to it in good condition, including those of the killed and wounded, except one thrown away by an exhausted man and the two in the hands of the missing men.

On the whole I think I may safely say that nearly every officer, non-commissioned {p.323} officer, and private did his duty to the extent of his ability. The members of the Twenty-first will remember with peculiar pride that on the 19th of April, 1862, just one year after the blood of Massachusetts men was first shed by the rebels of Baltimore, we conquered them at the battle of Camden, and we shall be no less proud of this name inscribed upon our war-worn banner than that of “Roanoke” and “New Berne.”

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. S. CLARK, Lieutenant-Colonel, Comdg. Twenty-first Massachusetts Vols.

Capt. EDWARD M. NEILL, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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No. 7.

Report of Maj. Edwin Schall, Fifty-first Pennsylvania Infantry.

HDQRS. FIFTY-FIRST REGIMENT PENNSYLVANIA VOLS., New Berne, N. C., April 22, 1862.

SIR: For the information of the colonel commanding the Second Brigade I submit the following report:

After the landing of the regiment below Elizabeth City, on the 19th instant, I immediately formed it, and by your orders detailed Company A as an advance guard. When we got some distance into the enemy’s country Company F was sent forward to the support of Company A. While moving forward along the main road the enemy suddenly opened fire upon us, their position being masked by the dense smoke arising from burning buildings. I immediately filed to the right with the regiment and formed in an open field. In compliance with your orders I conducted the regiment into the woods and moved forward to get on the left of the enemy. While advancing through the woods I received orders from you to send forward a body of skirmishers. I at once ordered Company D forward, which after some delay returned and reported to me the position of the enemy and his battery. I then ordered the regiment forward with the intention of coming on his left and rear; but the thicket being so dense and orders having just been received from you to make no delay in getting into position, I ordered a halt and determined to move forward, left in front. Going to the left, I ordered Company B to reconnoiter immediately to our front and right.

Having definitely learned the position of the enemy by reports and personal observations I ordered Company B to advance to the right along the edge of the woods, taking position behind the fence. The remaining companies of the regiment followed and got into position. After being exposed to a heavy fire for some time you in person ordered a charge, the men with cheers responding as they advanced across the field in face of a hot fire, driving the enemy before them and obtaining full possession of the ground occupied by them. After this successful charge and termination of the battle I formed the regiment in the open field, and by your orders marched the regiment to the woods occupied by us during the engagement, and threw out as pickets Company B. A detail also was made to bury the killed during the battle.

Early in the evening I received orders from you to hold the regiment {p.324} in readiness to retire from the field. Shortly after 9 o’clock I had the soldiers noiselessly awakened and formed the regiment as quietly as it was possible to do. The pickets were called in, and the Pioneer Corps, under command of Lieut. Abraham L. Ortlip, sent to the rear to destroy the bridge as we retired.

We moved off between 10 and 11 o’clock, and reached the place of disembarkation the day previous at 6 o’clock on the morning of the 20th instant. The march was long and the rain and mud were well calculated to exhaust the men. Few, however, were left behind, as the stronger very generously assisted the weaker comrades. After some delay the men were re-embarked on steamer Guide.

It is with pain I announce that Lieut. Lewis Hallman, in command of Company B, fell wounded on the field while gallantly leading on his men and is now a prisoner in the hands of the enemy, it being impossible, in consequence of his weakness, to bring him with us. With him are 5 more of our men, who by reason of their wounds and the lack of transportation we were compelled to leave behind. As already stated, the number killed is 3; 19 are wounded and 3 are missing. Of the wounded 4 are supposed to be mortally, while the remainder have received but slight injuries. The missing, it is believed, will yet make their appearance.

It gives me pleasure to mention the excellent services rendered me by Actg. Adjt. Lieut. George Shorkley on the 19th and 20th instant. For his activity and courage during the engagement lie deserves and has my warmest thanks. I also feel indebted to the quartermaster, Lieut. John J. Freedley, for conveying orders, and he deserves well for the prompt and faithful manner in which he had the wounded cared for. Surgeon Hosack was untiring in his attendance upon the wounded, whose wounds he carefully dressed and administered to their every want up to the hour of our departure. Nor can I forget to mention Sergeant-Major Iredell, who was constantly by my side during the engagement, carrying orders and giving me valuable information by his gallant reconnoitering.

The officers and men all, I may say, behaved well and acquitted themselves in a creditable manner. Too much praise cannot be awarded them for the manner in which they bore up under the fatigue of the long and dusty march. It was well calculated to weary them, yet all behaved most gallantly.

In conclusion, I can only say I endeavored, as far as possible, to carry out all your orders on the 19th and 20th instant.

I am, very truly, yours,

EDWIN SCHALL, Major, Commanding Fifty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers.

THOMAS S. BELL, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Second Brigade.

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No. 8.

Reports of Maj. Gen. Benjamin Huger, C. S. Army, with communication from General R. E. Lee.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., April 21, 1862.

I informed you by telegraph yesterday that the enemy had on the 19th instant attacked Colonel Wright in his position near South Mills, {p.325} N. C. He reports they advanced on him in strong force (estimated by him at 5,000) and commenced the attack at 11.45 a.m. He had in a strong position, with an open space in front of some 600 yards over which they had to advance, some 400 men and four pieces of artillery. The enemy were held in check till 5 p.m.

At 4 p.m. Captain McComas, who commanded the battery, was killed. Colonel Wright speaks of his gallantry and good conduct in high terms.

The ammunition in the limber-boxes was exhausted and the caissons not at hand. There was some confusion and the pieces went after the caissons, and at 5 p.m. Colonel Wright retired a mile or so.

Early yesterday morning he moved all his forces back to Northwest Lock (about half way on the Dismal Swamp Canal), at which point Brigadier-General Blanchard joined him yesterday with the Thirty-second North Carolina and First Louisiana Regiments.

Lieutenant Sloan, aide-de-camp, returned from Northwest Lock last night. Up to 3 p.m. they had heard of no movement of the enemy.

Colonel Wright reports his total loss of killed, wounded, and missing at 73. He does not give other numbers. I make out from the wounded who have arrived at the hospital that the number killed was 7 or 8; wounded, 20; only 10 severely enough to be sent to the hospital. Colonel Wright mentions that he fears Lieutenant Wilson is killed. He was wounded and is missing.

Whether the enemy intend to occupy Elizabeth City and neighborhood or whether this was only an expedition to capture the troops there, I cannot yet tell.

Colonel Wright estimates the killed and wounded of the enemy as very large. At all events, he did not pursue our troops at all.

Since writing the above I have received the inclosed letter from General Blanchard, covering copy of one from Brigadier-General Reno, from which it appears it was Reno’s brigade, of Burnside’s army, which made the attack, and they were evidently severely handled and defeated.

I am, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General, Commanding.

General R. E. LEE, Commanding General.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

SOUTH MILLS, N. C., April 20, 1862.

GENERAL: I inclose a copy of a letter from General Reno, U. S. Army, relative to wounded men, by which you will see that he recognizes a defeat. It appears that the enemy were entirely defeated, and if our forces could have pursued them we could have made many prisoners. Two are sent with this dispatch. Our people are gathering many guns, &c., left on the field by the fleeing foe. A return will be made of the property captured.

I am in doubt what answer to make about the wounded enemy (about 14), now in hospital, under charge of their surgeon. Please advise me without delay, as I am not sure it is not a plan to find out where we are. I shall send troops down the country toward Elizabeth City early to-morrow.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. G. BLANCHARD, Brig. Gen., Prov. Army C. S., Commanding Third Brigade.

General B. HUGER, Commanding Department.

{p.326}

[Inclosure No. 2.]

HDQRS. SECOND BRIG., DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, April 20, 1862.

SIR: In the recent engagement near South Mills owing to a lack of transportation, I was compelled to leave a few of my wounded under the charge of one of our surgeons. As it has been invariably our practice to release the wounded on parole, I confidently anticipate that you will pursue the same course, in which case you will please inform Commodore Rowan at what time and place they can be received. I also request permission to remove the body of Lieutenant Gadsden, of the Ninth New York. The surgeon will point out the place of his interment.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. L. RENO, Brigadier-General, U. S. Army.

To the COMMANDING OFFICER, At Elizabeth City or at South Mills, N.C.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, April 22, 1862.

GENERAL: I have heard but little from South Mills and Elizabeth City since my letter of yesterday. I have a dispatch from General Blanchard, from South Mills, dated yesterday. The enemy had returned to their boats and destroyed the bridges behind them on their retreat.

A small steamer came in last night and brought 1,100 pounds of powder, and I am informed we have collected a good many muskets and tools.

A diary and letter to his wife from one of the band were picked up on the field of battle. He belonged to a Massachusetts regiment, and left New Berne under orders for a short expedition, embarked on board the steamer Northerner, and was told by Colonel Clark they were to go via Roanoke Island to Elizabeth City and thence to blow up the locks to a canal from Norfolk, to prevent the rebels from coming down with their iron-clad steamers to destroy our fleet at New Berne. He said the rebels had two regiments and four cannon to guard the canal, and we would have five regiments and eight cannon to fight them, if they should fight. ... We have been lying here near Roanoke Island pretty much all day, and the report is after dark we have got to land and march from 12 to 20 miles. Dated April 18.

The captured powder, other reports, and this letter confirm the opinion that their intention was to capture the forces at South Mills and destroy the locks of the canal to prevent our use of it. When they retire I will withdraw our troops, keeping only a guard at South Mills, and make Deep Creek the position for the main body to re-enforce them.

[BENJ. HUGER.]

General R. E. LEE, Commanding.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., April 28, 1862.

GENERAL: I have received through Brigadier-General Blanchard, commanding Third Brigade, the reports of Cols. A. R. Wright and {p.327} Ferebee, commanding the drafted North Carolina Militia, and Lieut. D. A. French, who succeeded to the command of the battery of artillery after the death of its gallant captain, McComas.

I would forward these reports to you at once, but there are some discrepancies and omissions in them which I desire first to have corrected, and will therefore try to make a brief statement from these reports, to give you and the War Department information concerning this severe and well-fought action, which was successful, inasmuch as the enemy failed to accomplish his object and was obliged to retire to his vessels with great loss.

I send herewith a sketch of the country between South Mills and Elizabeth City, showing the position of the battle.

All the forces under the command of Colonel Wright were the Third Regiment Georgia Volunteers, some drafted militia, under Colonel Ferebee, of North Carolina (Colonel F. omits to state in his report how many he had on duty), McComas’ battery of artillery (one rifled piece and three bronze 6-pounders), and one company of cavalry, Captain Gillett’s Southampton company.

On Friday, the 18th, I had ordered forward the Thirty-second North Carolina Regiment (Colonel Brabble’s) and the First Louisiana Regiment (Colonel Vincent’s), but they did not arrive until after the battle.

On Friday, the 18th, Colonel Wright occupied South Mills with three companies of his regiment (160 strong) and the drafted North Carolina Militia, two companies at the intrenchments at Richardson’s Mills (125 effectives) and five companies (about 300 men) and McComas’ battery of artillery at Elizabeth City.

On Friday evening, anticipating the enemy’s advance and in compliance with my instructions to concentrate his forces at or near South Mills, he ordered the companies at Elizabeth City to retire 9 miles to Richardson’s Mills. From some cause not yet explained these companies did not leave Elizabeth City until after daylight on Saturday morning.

The cavalry company from Camden Court-House reported at 8.30 o’clock.

On the 19th, the enemy approaching, having then passed the Court-House, Colonel Wright moved forward with his three companies, and at 9.30 o’clock was met by Colonel McComas with his battery. After advancing 3 miles from South Mills the road emerged from the woods, and the field on the right and left extended 160 to 180 yards to thick woods and swamp. On the edge of the woods, on both sides of the road and perpendicular to it, was a small ditch, the earth from which was thrown up on the south side in a ridge, upon which was a heavy rail fence. From this point the road led through a narrow lane (Sawyer’s) for 1 mile, with cleared land on both sides of it. Here he determined to make his stand.

About 300 yards from the woods ran a deep, wide ditch parallel with the one first mentioned and extending to the woods on either side of the road, and a short distance beyond it were dwellings and outhouses which would give cover for the enemy. Colonel Wright therefore ordered them burned. The large ditch in his front he filled with fence rails and set them on fire, his object being to have this ditch so hot by the time the enemy came up they could not occupy it. (This ditch is marked on sketch as “Roasted Ditch.”)

Two pieces of artillery (the road was too narrow for more) were placed in the road just where it emerged from the woods, which commanded the road-the range of the guns. He also threw down the fences for {p.328} 300 yards on each side of the road for 300 yards in front of the guns, and tossed the rails into the road to destroy the effect of the enemy’s ricochet firing and to deprive him of the cover of the fences. The fences on the sides of the woods were taken down and laid in heaps on the embankment in front of his men.

All these arrangements were made, and it was 11 o’clock before he was joined by Lieutenant-Colonel Reid and the seven companies from below. Two of these under Major Lee, were placed at River Bridge, with one piece of McComas’ artillery, with directions to destroy it and stop the enemy there if he should attempt to get into our rear by coming up the west side of the river, Lieutenant-Colonel Reid and three companies of the Third Georgia (and by Colonel Ferebee’s report the North Carolina Militia) were placed about a mile in the rear at the meeting of an old road, to protect that passage and serve as a reserve. The remaining five companies were deployed in open order across the road on the right and left of the artillery, protected by the ditch and fence rails on the banks.

The smoke from the burning buildings and fences was rolled toward the enemy, thus masking the position. At 11.45 a.m. the front of a heavy column of the enemy was seen passing through the smoke and Captain McComas opened a destructive fire upon it, which checked its advance for half an hour, when it again approached under the fire of a 12-pounder, but soon retired entirely out of sight in considerable confusion. Up to 3 o’clock thrice had the heavy columns of the enemy been beaten back by the heavy fire of Captain McComas’ artillery, and our only casualties were one man wounded and one wheel injured.

At 3.15 p.m. the enemy again advanced and deployed two regiments to their right, our left. These regiments, after advancing toward us, were driven back by the well-directed fire of Captain McComas’ artillery and Captains Nesbet’s and Musgrove’s companies. Captain McWhorter’s fire also caused the Zouaves on our right to retire, and this attack ceased by 3.35 p.m. Our loss up to this time was very slight, while that of the enemy was very severe, as we could plainly see them fall, and they had raised the hospital flag on a building in rear of their line.

They soon advanced again, two regiments skirting the woods on our left, and approached near enough to engage the skirmishers. One company from the right was moved over and Colonel Reid ordered to send one company from the reserve. The enemy deployed in the open field and bore down rapidly, but the heavy fire of musketry caused them to waver, and they fell back to the fence. Three regiments and a field piece were in the center and the Ninth New York Regiment on the right. The fire was now brisk from one end of the line to the other, and the enemy were held in check, when just at this moment Captain McComas was killed by a Minie ball, and his men, who for four hours had fought with most indomitable courage, became panic stricken and left the field, taking their pieces with them. Colonel Wright succeeded in rallying them and getting two pieces and a few men in position, and the enemy had advanced so close that canister was fired on them with effect and they again fell back. The ammunition in the limber-boxes was exhausted, and during the temporary absence of Colonel Wright the artillery left the field.

The enemy made a charge upon our line, but the steady fire at close distance (Colonel Wright estimates it at 50 yards) caused them to break in confusion and they fell back. Taking advantage of their confusion Colonel Wright now fell back in good order to the intrench {p.329} ments on Joy’s Creek, about 2 miles in his rear, and called in Lieutenant-Colonel Reid’s and Major Lee’s commands, and there awaited the enemy, who it appears were so badly injured that they made no advance, but at about 8 p.m. began to retreat to their boats. At this time I am informed that several companies of the Thirty-second North Carolina Regiment joined Colonel Wright, who during the night retired from this position to the Northwest Lock.

Colonel Wright states his loss at 6 killed, 19 wounded, and 3 taken prisoners. The enemy’s loss he estimates as very large, as high as 300. Colonel Wright states that the regiments opposed to him were the Ninth, Twenty-first, and Eighty-ninth New York, and the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Sixth New Hampshire, and Fifty-first Pennsylvania Regiments (we have prisoners or wounded of five of these regiments), the whole commanded by Brigadier-General Reno. Among the killed he is grieved to announce the loss of Captain McComas, an estimable gentleman and brave and skillful officer, whose conduct throughout the action elicited the highest praise.

All the command engaged behaved in the most gallant manner, standing firmly against overwhelming odds until ordered to fall back to our intrenchments. They maintained their position over five hours, and killed and disabled more of the enemy than we had in action.

On returning to the field next day we recovered 1,100 pounds of powder, and the arms, accouterments, tools, &c., left by the enemy. I have already reported his leaving such wounded as he could not remove, and I have sent them to Fort Monroe on parole. Some 10 or 12 stragglers were taken on the 20th and held as prisoners of war. I will forward the original reports as soon as they are corrected, and meanwhile submit this as a summary.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER, Major-General, Commanding.

General R. E. LEE, Commanding, &c.

{p.330}

[Inclosure.]

{p.331}

HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., April 20, 1862.

Maj. Gen. B. HUGER, Comdg. Dept., Norfolk, Va.:

GENERAL: I have received this morning your telegram of the 19th instant, reporting the landing of the enemy at Elizabeth City and his attack upon the Third Georgia Regiment near South Mills. It is presumed this is but a feint or predatory excursion made from his reserve at Roanoke Island. Not knowing the advantages of the position at South Mills, it seems to me to be too far removed from your line of operations and calculated to invite an attack of the enemy, inasmuch as the strength of your party would be reported by the disaffected, and they would reasonably hope to out it off. A corps of observation would seem only to be necessary for such an advanced point, and your force should be stationed nearer to you, at some strong point behind the Dismal Swamp, which could be more readily re-enforced. By pursuing this system on other points your troops could be more rapidly concentrated to strike a blow whenever the enemy showed himself within your reach.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., April 22, 1862.

Maj. Gen. B. HUGER, Comdg., &c., Norfolk, Va.:

GENERAL: I am directed by General Lee to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 21st, with its inclosures, reporting the result of the attack by the enemy at South Mills and his subsequent action concerning his captured wounded, and to say in reply that he is much gratified at the determined resistance made by Colonel Wright to so largely superior force, but regrets the loss of Captain McComas, whom he knew to be a gallant officer. As regards the wounded prisoners of the enemy, he is under the impression that General Burnside has generally pursued the course indicated in the letter of Brigadier-General Reno, and sees no objection to releasing the wounded prisoners on their parole as an offset to some of our men liberated under similar circumstances.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. H. TAYLOR, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., April 24, 1862.

Maj. Gen. T. H. HOLMES, Comdg., &c., Goldsborough, N. C.:

GENERAL: General Huger reports that Colonel Wright, with 400 men and four pieces of artillery, was attacked near South Mills by the enemy on the 19th instant. Colonel Wright estimates the enemy’s force at about 5,000 men, and it appears from a letter received by Colonel Wright from Brigadier-General Reno, U. S. Army, asking permission to remove the body of an officer and that his wounded might be released on parole, that the attacking force was composed of the Second Brigade. A letter and diary written by a soldier, which were picked up on the field, show that his force consisted of five regiments and eight pieces of artillery, and that it left New Berne on a short expedition {p.332} to destroy the locks of the canal. A quantity of powder and some tools captured by our forces seemed to confirm this account. The enemy were repulsed by Colonel Wright with considerable loss and retired to their boats, burning the bridges behind them in their retreat. This is probably the force reported by you as having left New Berne on the 16th and 18th instant.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General.

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HEADQUARTERS, Richmond, Va., April 29, 1862.

Maj. Gen. B. HUGER, Commanding, &c., Yorktown, Va.:

GENERAL: General Lee directs me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 28th instant, together with the report of the brilliant affair at South Mills, which he has read with much interest and pleasure, and which reflects so creditably upon the officers and men engaged. As regards your request that additional troops be sent to Suffolk, which you represent as being particularly weak, he instructs me to say that the call for troops from every department is urgent, and it is impossible to re-enforce points more seriously threatened than Suffolk. He wishes it was in his power to meet your requisition, but had hoped that with the addition of the Militia (2,000 or 3,000 of which have been reported to him to be inactive and unassigned in your department) your command would be materially strengthened and the approaches to your rear rendered more secure, inasmuch as this acquisition to your force would enable you to increase the number of troops protecting Suffolk and vicinity.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. H. TAYLOR, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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APRIL 27, 1862.–Skirmish near Haughton’s Mill, Pollocksville Road, N. C.

Report of Baron Egloffstein, Colonel One hundred and third New York Infantry.

HDQRS. SEWARD INFANTRY, 103D REGT., N. Y. S. V., HELEN’S PLANTATION, 3 MILES SOUTH OF POLLOCKSVILLE, April 27, 1862.

SIR: Agreeably to orders from General J. L. Reno, a detachment of 40 men (cavalry) and three officers left New Berne for Pollocksville on the 26th instant, in the evening. Passed through Evans’ Mill at midnight. To secure the line of communication to Pollocksville 70 men of infantry followed in the rear. Passed Haughton’s Mill to cross Mill Creek 2 miles south of Pollocksville road, the bridge on the Pollocksville road being destroyed. About 3 o’clock-in the afternoon the first rebel picket was seen on the Onslow and Pollocksville road. Major Quentin and myself chased the advance guard of the enemy on an open plain a quarter of a mile to Helen’s mansion, gradually followed by our cavalry. I gave the order for immediate firing to prevent the enemy from {p.333} running away. They were 30 men strong, located in and around a frame house. We wounded and killed several by means of revolvers and rifles, our cavalry having dismounted with a view to Cut off the retreat of the enemy from the premises at as small a loss on our side as possible. When the infantry came up we charged bayonets and made ourselves masters of the position. The enemy, having a more perfect knowledge of the premises, succeeded in taking away some of their wounded, killed, and horses in the direction of Kinston during the hottest fight.

The loss of the enemy was 2 men killed by bullets, 1 by bayonet, 8 wounded, 9 horses, 3 prisoners-N. W. Collins, James H. Kelly, and G. Battle, privates of Company C, Second Regiment of Cavalry North Carolina Volunteers. A number of arms captured-carbines, sabers, pistols, double-barreled shot-guns-and 5 fine horses, with equipments.

Our loss was Private Sanders killed and Lieutenants Von Seldeneck and Von Vogt, of the cavalry, wounded-since recovering; 4 more slightly wounded-flesh wounds. Col. Baron V. Egloffstein was wounded in the leg in dismounting, his horse having been killed under him. Besides, 2 of our cavalry horses killed.

Our cavalry distinguished themselves in their first fight by rapid action and good firing. Had we prepared a slow attack on the cavalry they would have fled from us as on former occasions. The wound of the colonel being of a more serious character than first imagined, we halted and reconnoitered the surrounding country by means of cavalry patrols. Several encampments in the direction of Trenton were discovered. I determined to return after this successful reconnaissance, drawing in the boards at Haughton’s Mill for the purpose of securing said mill for the Government.

I beg to propose to station several hundred men at once at Haughton’s Mill as an advance guard, to prevent the enemy from occupying this valuable military position situated within 2 miles of Pollocksville.

I will have the honor, general, to report the details on my arrival at New Berne.

Remaining, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

BARON EGLOFFSTEIN, Colonel of Seward Infantry.

Brig. Gen. JESSE L. RENO, Commanding Second Division, Department of North Carolina.

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APRIL 29, 1862.–Skirmish near Batchelder’s Creek, N. C.

Report of Maj. Andrew Elwell, Twenty-third Massachusetts Infantry.

HDQRS. TWENTY-THIRD REGIMENT MASS. VOLS., Railroad Bridge, Batchelder’s Creek, April 30, 1862.

The picket established by Special Brigade Order, No. 7, was attacked Yesterday. They were posted in accordance with the above-named order one-half mile in advance of the bridge, deployed on either side of the railroad to the distance of one-fourth of a mile. About 12 o’clock m. a body of rebel cavalry emerged from the woods and attacked the extreme right flank, passing between the right group and the rest of the picket, thus cutting them off. As far as can be ascertained the enemy numbered about 70. The picket opened fire upon those of the {p.334} enemy who were in the advance, while the enemy returned the fire with a volley of some 20 or 30 shots, killing 1 man, three shots penetrating his body. The remainder of the picket instantly rallied to the spot, but the enemy had fled, taking with them probably the other 3 belonging to the group, as they are missing.

Upon hearing the report in camp sufficient force was immediately sent to the assistance of the picket. This re-enforcement made an advance some 2 miles through the woods, but nothing could be heard from our missing men or the enemy. The affair has given rise to exaggerated stories, but it was not deemed of sufficient importance to give any alarm or call for any assistance. The picket force has been increased to treble its former numbers, and everything has been quiet since the attack.

The names of the killed and wounded are Edward B. Braley, private Company E, killed; Corp. Hiram J. Lauman, Privates Edward Smith and John Taylor, of the same company, missing.

Respectfully submitted.

A. ELWELL, Major, Commanding Twenty-third Massachusetts.

Lieut. E. T. PARKINSON, A. A. A. U., First Brigade First Division

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MAY 2, 1862.–Skirmish near Deep Gully, Trenton Road, N. C.

Report of Lieut. Charles H. Pope, First Rhode Island Light Artillery.

HDQRS. BATTERY F, RHODE ISLAND ARTILLERY, New Berne, N. C., May 2, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that our pickets, stationed on the Trenton road, about 1 mile from the Deep Gully, were attacked by a body of rebel infantry, supposed to be about 40 in number. They came into the Trenton road by the cross road from the Red House, firing upon our pickets, instantly killing Corporal Martindale and severely wounding Private Vincent, who has not been found yet.

C. H. POPE, First Lieutenant First R. I. Art., Comdg. Battery F.

Brig. Gen. J. G. FOSTER, Commanding First Division.

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MAY 7-8, 1862.–Expedition from Roanoke Island toward Gatesville, N. C.

Report of Col. Rush C. Hawkins, U. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS, Roanoke Island, N. C., May 10, 1862.

SIR: Having ascertained that the rebels had a large amount of stores, consisting of bacon, corn, salt, flour, &c., at a place about 8 miles south of Gatesville, on the 7th instant I sent Captain Parisen’s company (C, Ninth New York Volunteers), on board of the gunboat Shawsheen, for the purpose of destroying these stores.

This force landed about 1 a.m. on the morning of the 8th instant 2 miles up Catherine’s Creek, which empties into the Chowan River opposite {p.335} to Holliday’s Island. After marching about 8 miles they came to the place where the stores were, set fire to the building in which they were contained, and destroyed the whole. The estimated value of the stores (so the officers in charge of the forces was informed) was $50,000.

On the return of the force to the gunboat the rear guard was attacked by a small body of cavalry which had been concealed in the woods. They (the cavalry) were repulsed with a loss of one of their number, who was shot through the breast.

Captain Parisen, in charge of his company, and Captain Woodward, of the gunboat Shawsheen, both deserve great praise for the manner in which they carried out their instructions and the dispatch with which the work was performed.

I am, respectfully, your most faithful servant,

RUSH C. HAWKINS, Colonel, Commanding Fourth Brigade and Post.

Maj. Gen. AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE, Commanding Department of North Carolina, New Berne, N. C.

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MAY 15-16, 1862.-Skirmishes near Trenton Bridge, at Young’s Cross-Roads, and Pollocksville, N. C.

REPORTS.

No. 1.–Col. Thomas J. C. Amory, Seventeenth Massachusetts Infantry.
No. 2.–Lieut. Col. J. Eugene Duryée, Second Maryland Infantry.
No. 3.–Col. Simon H. Mix, Third New York Cavalry.

No. 1.

Report of Col. Thomas J. C. Amory, Seventeenth Massachusetts Infantry.

HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION, New Berne, N. C., May 15, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that in accordance with the instructions of General Foster I proceeded this morning at 2.30 o’clock on a reconnaissance in the direction of Trenton. My command, consisting of the Third New York Cavalry, the Seventeenth and Twenty-fifth Regiments Massachusetts Volunteers, and two pieces of artillery, was attacked 5 miles this side of Trenton. Not having as yet received the official reports of regimental commanders, I can state generally from my personal knowledge that our loss consists in the wounding of 3 privates and 1 officer (Major Fitzsimmons), of the Third New York Cavalry, Lieutenant Mayes and 1 man, of the same regiment, missing. Six of the enemy found dead on the field and 2 prisoners-1 mortally wounded. I consider the original plan and purpose of this movement frustrated by the late arrival of the cavalry last night, owing to the storm.

To surprise the enemy at Trenton being under those circumstances impossible, and having but limited transportation for my wounded, with only twenty-four hours’ rations, I deemed it advisable to return.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

THOS. J. C. AMORY, Colonel Mass. Vols., Comdg. First Brig., First Div.

Captain HOFFMAN, Asst. Adjt. Gen., First Div., Dept. North Carolina.

{p.336}

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No. 2.

Report of Lieut. Col. J. Eugene Duryée, Second Maryland Infantry.

CAMP OF THE SECOND MARYLAND REGIMENT, Near New Berne, N. C., May 18, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report:

On Wednesday, the 14th, about noon, I received from Lieutenant Morris Brigadier-General Reno’s order to move my regiment at 5 o’clock that afternoon, with two days’ rations. In obedience to his directions I at once reported to Brigadier-General Foster and Colonel Amory for instructions. I was ordered by them to march at 5 o’clock in the afternoon to occupy Pollocksville, the bridge across the Trent, and Young’s Cross-Roads, 5 miles from Pollocksville, and hold these points until I received further orders from Colonel Amory. Between 4 and 5 o’clock I started with the regiment in the midst of a violent thunder-storm, which turned into a steady rain, making the roads almost impassable.

I reached Haughton’s Mill about 5 o’clock on Thursday morning [15th], when for the first time we encountered the pickets of the enemy. When fired upon by two of the advance guard they galloped away at full speed, part in the direction of Pollocksville and part toward Young’s Cross-Roads. Immediately after rapid firing was heard in the woods in the direction of Young’s Cross-Roads, probably to give notice of our arrival. I immediately sent three companies (D, F, and K), under the command of Capt. M. Wilson, to Young’s Cross-Roads, and with the rest of the regiment marched to Pollocksville. I found the bridge across the Trent had been burned, but nevertheless stationed sentinels there. During the remainder of the day (Thursday) everything remained quiet at Pollocksville, but at Young’s Cross-Roads, where I had stationed Captain Wilson, with three companies, a body of cavalry made their appearance about 1 p.m. They approached by the road leading from Onslow Court-House. When within about 200 yards our men fired upon them. One officer was badly wounded, but his comrades managed to keep him in his saddle and escaped with him. The citizens in the neighborhood say that the name of the officer was Col. William Cotton, and that he was dangerously wounded. About 11 o’clock that night the enemy began to annoy our pickets, driving them in twice, and during the remainder of the night Captain Wilson kept his whole command under arms. Lieutenant Fleckenstein, of Company K, made a reconnaissance for about 2 miles beyond our lines and returned in three hours having ascertained that the enemy had retreated over White Oak River Bridge, on the road leading to Onslow Court-House.

About 2 o’clock next morning the report of a musket was heard near my headquarters at Pollocksville. The long roll was sounded and the regiment immediately turned out under arms. From the statements of the prisoners whom we captured on Friday afternoon I am satisfied that the enemy was moving forward to surprise us under cover of the darkness, but on hearing the long roll beat, and perceiving the promptness with which the regiment turned out, they concluded to defer “the attack until the next day.

About 12 o’clock on Friday [16th] our pickets were driven in and there was quite a smart skirmish at two of our outposts. Two or three of the enemy were killed, a number wounded, and two prisoners were captured. I was every moment expecting an attack in force, which I had made every preparation to receive. From the circumstances I supposed that the enemy were in full retreat from Colonel Amory’s {p.337} attack, and were attempting to escape by the roads I was guarding. I felt perfectly confident of my ability to stop their retreat and hold them in check until Colonel Amory should overtake them.

Things remained in this condition until between 2 and 3 p.m., when Lieutenant Morris arrived with a squadron of cavalry, with orders that we should return immediately. I at once sent two companies, under command of Captain Bigelow, and a detachment of cavalry to Young’s Cross-Roads, with orders to Captain Wilson to join the regiment immediately with the three companies under his command.

By about 8 p.m. they arrived, and the regiment at once commenced its march homeward. The incessant rain of the previous forty-eight hours had rendered the roads still worse than during the advance, and Mill Creek, which we reached about 9 o’clock, was swollen to such a degree that the mounted officers had to swim their horses to cross it. Although the men had but partially recovered from the fatigues of their previous march, yet they plunged in without a moment’s hesitation at the word of command and crossed the stream. They bore this and all the other hardships and exposures of their march through the mud and rain like veterans.

Between 1 and 2 o’clock on Saturday morning I destroyed the bridge at Haughton’s Mill, having heard from our pickets in the rear that they had encountered the pickets of the enemy on this side of Mill Creek.

About 11 o’clock I reached Evans’ Mill, where, through the kindness of the Twenty-first Massachusetts Volunteers, we were supplied with rations and hot coffee, which supply was very gratefully received, as, having been ordered by Colonel Amory to take only two days’ rations, we had been without food for many hours. I reached camp about 4 p.m.

From a reconnaissance made by Captain Bigelow, who approached within 400 yards of the enemy’s camp, I learned there was between 800 and 900 cavalry in our immediate vicinity. I also received information that there is no regular encampment between that at Wambleton’s Bridge, which is 8 miles from Young’s Cross-Roads, and Kinston; that some days there would be in Trenton and vicinity 1,000 or 1,500 troops and other days not more than 500 or 600. I was also informed that they came from Kinston into the neighborhood of Trenton foraging and pressing horses and men into their service; also to watch and obtain information of the movements of our troops.

I have lost several men who strayed beyond our lines contrary to orders how many I am unable at present to say, as 5 whom I have already reported as prisoners have just returned, and perhaps what few others are missing may return to camp. There are now but three men missing.

In addition to the officers already spoken of I wish also to mention the names of Captain Brunner and Lieutenants Martin, Dougherty and Gault as worthy of special commendation. But where all the officers did their duty so nobly it seems invidious to single out any as specially deserving.

In conclusion, I have only to say that my orders from General Foster and Colonel Amory were to hold the points assigned to me till I received further instructions from Colonel Amory, and although the two days’ rations I was instructed to take had been entirely consumed (much of it having been spoiled by the rain during our night’s march), I was determined not to quit my post until I was ordered to do so. I had commenced to collect what few cattle, swine, and fowls had escaped {p.338} the rebel foraging parties, and had already obtained a sufficient quantity to supply the regiment with meat (such luxuries as coffee, bread, and salt being altogether too extravagant for soldiers) for at least a week. My men, though weary and foot-sore from their long march over most horrible roads were nevertheless in the best possible spirits, eager for the fray, and burning with anxiety to vindicate the ancient glory of Maryland.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

J. EUGENE DURYÉE, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Second Maryland Regiment.

Capt. EDWARD M. NEILL, Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Indorsement.]

HEADQUARTERS SECOND DIVISION, New Berne, N. C., May 20, 1862.

Respectfully forwarded. I am happy to state that Lieutenant-Colonel Duryée executed his part of the plan in a gallant and skillful manner.

J. L. RENO, Brigadier-General, Commanding Second Division.

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No. 3.

Report of Col. Simon H. Mix, Third New York Cavalry.

HDQRS. THIRD NEW YORK VOLUNTEER CAVALRY, New Berne, N. C., May 19, 1862.

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to your order dated May 14, I marched this regiment at 10 p.m. of that day, taking the Trent road in the direction of Trenton. Having arrived at your headquarters I halted by your order about two hours.

At 2 a.m. May 15 I took up the line of march from that point. After proceeding along the direct road about 8 miles I sent the First Squadron of my regiment, under command of Lieut. Col. John Mix, by a by-road, in order to cut off a party of the enemy supposed to be quartered at what is called Merritt’s house. The remainder of the regiment proceeded on the direct road, which passed by the aforesaid house. The instructions given to Lieutenant-Colonel Mix were to proceed along the by-road to its intersection with the main road, a distance of about 4 miles, and by a countermarch rejoin the regiment at Merritt’s house.

These instructions were strictly complied with. On reaching Merritt’s house I found it evacuated, no trace of the enemy being discovered. I then pushed on, sending in advance the Fourth Squadron of my regiment (Companies C and F), under command of Maj. Charles Fitzsimmons. One mile and a half beyond Merritt’s house 4 mounted vedettes of the enemy were discovered, one of whom was captured by Captain McNamara (Company F). The advance guard, composed of 18 men, under command of Lieut. John Mayes (Company C), was ordered to pursue the remainder. Major Fitzsimmons, seeing that the advance guard were getting too far from his squadron, rode forward to check it. He, however, did not reach it until it was at least a third of a mile {p.339} ahead of the squadron. He here halted and sent an order to Captain Stearns, commanding the squadron, to close up at a gallop. Before the order was executed a mounted party of the enemy, in number about 60, came into the main road from a by-path on the left between our advance guard and the squadron. They immediately opened fire on the squadron, causing it to halt. The advance guard now charged them from the rear and gallantly cut their way through the enemy and rejoined the squadron. I had in the mean time dismounted 50 of my men, armed with carbines and Belgian rifles, and deployed them in the woods to the right and left as skirmishers. The enemy, however, on seeing our force, retreated in confusion and scattered through the woods, leaving their dead and wounded, 10 in number, on the field. My skirmishers, having been relieved by infantry, were called in, and by your order my regiment countermarched and returned to New Berne, reaching here at 4 p.m. May 15.

My command behaved most gallantly throughout the affair. Major Fitzsimmons was wounded by a rifle-ball in the left shoulder at the outset of the engagement, which had the effect to dislodge him from his saddle. His horse was subsequently shot. While dismounted he received a slight wound from a rifle-ball on the back of his head, which stunned and threw him to the ground, when he was made a prisoner. He shortly recovered and made his escape, but was soon retaken. While being taken away by a rebel soldier he was struck on the forehead by the breech of a rifle in the hands of a rebel who rushed out of the woods, which was observed by a private in Company K (Thomas Maine), who rode forward and shot the assailant, thereby releasing Major Fitzsimmons.

The following is a list of the casualties in my regiment: Wounded-Maj. Charles Fitzsimmons slightly; Private William Bellows, Company C, seriously, left arm amputated; and Private Robert Craig, Company C, slightly. Missing-Lieut. John Mayes and Privates Matthews Sullivan, Joseph Carson, Benjamin Corsout, and William Hithree, all of Company C.

I am, colonel, with much respect, your obedient servant,

SIMON H. MIX, Colonel, Commanding Third New York Volunteer Cavalry.

Col. THOMAS J. C. AMORY, Seventeenth Mass. Vols., Comdg. First Brig., First Div.

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MAY 30, 1862.–Skirmish at Tranter’s Creek, N. C.

Report of Capt. George F. Jocknick, Third New York Cavalry.

WASHINGTON, N. C., May 31, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to submit to you the following report of the fight which occurred yesterday between a mounted patrol of my company and a body of rebel troops laid in ambush:

In accordance with our daily routine of duties Second Lieutenant Allis started early in the morning with a detail of 15 men to reconnoiter the Greenville road as far as Tranter’s Creek, about 8 miles from here. Having received information that only a small body of rebel troops, invariably estimated at from 12 to 15 men, were in advance, Lieutenant Allis deemed it expedient to cross the bridge over the said creek, leaving {p.340} a few men to secure his retreat, but had only proceeded a short distance when he was attacked by about a dozen men, mounted and on foot. After discharging their fire-arms and receiving our fire in return they fled to the woods, closely followed by Lieutenant Allis and his men, who succeeded in taking two prisoners. These prisoners he was subsequently compelled to let go after having secured their arms. Finding himself surrounded by a large body of infantry concealed in the woods Lieutenant Allis gallantly cut his way through the crowd, and returned here with his command about noon, with only one man-Private Ogden Harrison-badly wounded and 2 horses killed. The enemy had 3 men killed besides those wounded, supposed to have been 5 or 6. A fine horse, valued at $200, fell in our hands, which will partly make up for the two lost.

Lieutenant Allis speaks in the highest terms of the bravery and coolness displayed by our men, and I am happy to say that this little affair has reflected much credit on all concerned.

The wounded man has good medical attendance and is doing well.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. F. JOCKNICK, Captain Company I, Third New York Cavalry.

Col. E. E. POTTER, Commanding.

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JUNE 5, 1862.–Action at Tranter’s Creek, N. C.

Report of Lieut. Col. Francis A. Osborn, Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry.

HDQRS. TWENTY-FOURTH REGIMENT MASS. VOLS., Washington, N. C., June 6, 1862.

CAPTAIN: In obedience to orders received from Colonel Stevenson in person I embarked three companies of the regiment under my command on board the steamer Pilot Boy, bound for this place, at 11.30 p.m. of the 3d instant, and left instructions with Captain Maker to follow with the four companies on board the Lancer as soon as possible. Lieut. W. B. Avery came on board with a battery of three pieces and reported to me for orders.

The Pilot Boy got under way early on the morning of the 4th (Wednesday), and arrived at this place at 6 p.m. in the course of the evening Colonel Potter informed me that the enemy’s force under Colonel Singeltary was between this place and Pactolus, a village about 12 miles distant, on the Greenville road, and suggested the propriety of attacking them at once before they should hear of the arrival of re-enforcements. I therefore determined to take eight companies of the Twenty-fourth Regiment, after the arrival of the four companies left at New Berne, two pieces of artillery, and the company of the Third New York Cavalry stationed here, under command of Captain Jocknick, and to march as early as possible the next morning toward Pactolus. Colonel Potter gave orders to Captain Nichols, of the gunboat Picket, to go up Tar River to the same place, throwing shells into the woods between the river and the road as he proceeded. He also ordered him to take two scows in tow in which to bring down the troops in case they should reach Pactolus. This arrangement would leave two companies of infantry, one 12-pounder howitzer, and one {p.341} mountain howitzer for the defense of the town, besides the usual pickets and provost guard.

As the four companies under Captain Maker did not arrive until 6 a.m. Thursday the expedition was not able to take up the line of march until 9.15 a.m. I got information from contrabands as we proceeded that the enemy was posted at two bridges which crossed Tranter’s Creek, one being on the road which we were pursuing and the other about half a mile distant from the first to the right of the course we were following. I further learned that the first had been rendered impassable, but that the second, though only a slight bridge, running through a mill, was probably in order or could easily be made so. I therefore turned off to the right a mile this side of Tranter’s Creek, and after marching 2 miles came in sight of the mill. There were three buildings, about 30 feet apart, open in the lower story, through which the bridge ran. Our advance, on approaching the first of these around a turn in the road, found that the floor of the third had been torn up and made into a barricade on the opposite side, behind which was placed the advance of the enemy. Our men on seeing them immediately fired upon them and received a volley in return, which caused them to fall back and which wounded Lieut. H. D. Jarvis, who was in command of the advance. I then ordered up the artillery, which took up its position near the entrance of the first building and commenced firing in the direction in which the enemy was supposed to be, their advance having retired. This was at 2.45 p.m.

Company A, Captain Redding, was disposed on the left of the artillery, under cover of the logs and beams of the mill, and Company F Captain Clark, was ordered to advance to the support of the artillery, but owing to a misconception of the order the whole regiment approached much nearer than I had intended, inasmuch as from the conformation of the ground, which ran to a point at the mill, only about 50 or 60 men could be placed to fire with effect. I accordingly ordered all to lie down and await orders. The cavalry retired to the rear to guard against the possibility of an attack in that direction.

The firing of the enemy was at this time very rapid and well directed, and we discovered from the flash of their guns that they were distant not more than 50 paces from us. This placed our artillery at a great disadvantage, for at so short a range it could not do its best execution. It was, however, admirably managed by Lieutenant Avery, and as it seemed still to be doing good service I felt unwilling to change its position.

During the first fifteen minutes the enemy’s fire continued steady, and most of the wounds on our side were inflicted at that time. After that time it began to slacken, and when we had discovered a large number of men in trees just on the opposite bank and had poured a few rounds of canister into them it wholly ceased. At this time we could see a large number of men running along the opposite bank at some distance from us, and were satisfied that they were totally routed.

The leading companies then advanced to the third building and relaid the floor, which could not have been done until the enemy had been driven from their position, as any one attempting it would have prevented our own fire while within 30 paces of that of the enemy.

The bridge being repaired sufficiently for foot passengers, the infantry, excepting Company K, Captain Maker, which was left for the support of the artillery, crossed, and marched about 100 paces beyond the position which the enemy had occupied, forming line of battle there. Having remained there a short time and examined the position, after {p.342} consultation with Colonel Potter I deemed the object of the expedition had been gained in giving the enemy a severe lesson, and that it would be better to return to Washington rather than to go on to Pactolus, particularly as it would take some hours to make the bridges strong enough for the passage of the cavalry and artillery. I therefore ordered the infantry to recross, and returned to Washington, bringing the dead and wounded.

The battle lasted forty-five minutes, and the troops arrived at Washington at 8.30 p.m., having made a march of 18 miles in the heat of the day. During the march we constantly heard the Picket throwing shells a long way on our left.

Our force consisted of eight companies of the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment (Company D, Captain Prince, and Company C, Lieutenant Bell commanding, having been left at Washington), numbering about 430 men; two 12-pounder howitzers of the Marine Artillery, Lieut. W. B. Avery, manned by 12 men each, and Company I, of the Third New York Cavalry, Captain Jocknick, numbering 40 men.

The enemy’s force must have been quite equal to our own to judge from the firing. From what information I could gain I estimated it at 450 infantry and 70 cavalry, under command of Colonel Singeltary, of the Forty-fourth North Carolina Volunteers, now acting brigadier-general.

We have learned that information of our approach was conveyed to Colonel Singeltary by a man living on the road, so that he was able to concentrate all of his force upon us. His position was a very superior one, which could easily have been defended against us by a small body had we not had artillery.

Our loss, considering the length of the action and the small number engaged, was severe, there having been in the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts 3 men killed, 3 mortally wounded, who have since died, 1 Lieutenant and 1 man severely wounded, 1 captain and 3 men slightly wounded. In the Marine Artillery there was 1 man killed, 1 severely and 1 slightly wounded. The cavalry suffered no loss, as they were not able from the nature of the ground to be brought into action.

The enemy’s loss must have been heavy, as we found 5 dead bodies and saw a large quantity of blood in every direction. Since the action I have heard rumors of a very large loss on their side, including the death of Colonel Singeltary, but I cannot trace them to any reliable source.

I regret to say that the wound of Lieut. Horatio D. Jarvis, of Company A, is quite severe. He had been skillfully conducting the advance during the day, and I felt heavily the loss of so capable and energetic an officer. In the beginning of the affair Capt. William F. Redding, of Company A, received a buck-shot in his right wrist, but without leaving the field continued attending to his duties with his usual promptitude.

I desire to mention with the highest commendation the conduct of Lieut. William B. Avery, of the Marine Artillery, Colonel Howard. Placed in the midst of the hottest of the fire, he managed his battery with the greatest coolness and skill and contributed much to the success of the day. As I have said above, I think that but for his battery and the determination with which it was worked the enemy with a moderate amount of courage could have maintained their position. His men also deserve high praise for their courage and zeal. Of my own officers I am proud to say that they displayed the same coolness and courage that have distinguished them heretofore.

{p.343}

Capt. R. F. Clark, Company F, was particularly noticed by me as being in the advance with the foremost of the men, directing their fire and animating them by his example. Capt. C. H. Hooper, acting lieutenant-colonel; Lieut. Albert Ordway, acting adjutant; Capt. W. F. Redding, Company A; Lieut. J. C. Jones, Company F; Capt. John Daland and Lieut. Charles G. Ward, of Company H; Capt. E. C. Richardson and Lieut. J. M. Barnard, Company G, being near the head of the battalion, and their companies being at various times engaged in firing, were conspicuous for their coolness and prompt attention to their duties. The officers of the companies in rear of these proved by their bearing an equal degree of courage and determination, but were debarred from the opportunity of doing] anything but remaining passive with their companies under re which they could not return.

While, under the peculiar circumstances of the case, it may seem invidious to mention the names of some officers to the exclusion of the rest, I cannot but feel that justice demanded that they should receive the credit of what they actually did, though I believe that the others in their position would have done equally well, and I know from their urgent request to be allowed to do something that they were equally desirous of being in the front. My men behaved remarkably well situated as they were in the hardest position that a soldier can be called upon to remain in-that of not being allowed to do anything.

Col. Edward E. Potter, of First Regiment North Carolina Volunteers, [Union] military governor of this city, and Lieut. J. M. Pendleton, of his staff, accompanied me, and I have to thank them for valuable assistance and advice.

As I stated above, the conception of the plan of the expedition was due to Colonel Potter, and to his energy was it greatly indebted for being so efficiently carried out.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

F. A. OSBORN, Lieutenant-Colonel, Comdg. Twenty-fourth Regt. Mass. Vols.

Capt. WILLIAM PRATT, Act. Asst. Adjt. Gen. Second Brig., First Div., Dept. of N. C.

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JUNE 24, 1862.-Reconnaissance from Washington to Tranter’s Creek, N. C.

Report of Capt. George F. Jocknick, Third New York Cavalry.

WASHINGTON, N. C., June 25, 1862.

SIR: Having within the last few days received a number of reports from various sources in regard to certain fly-trap contrivances made by the rebels on the Greenville road for the purpose of catching my mounted patrols whenever they should venture beyond their usual limits of 4 miles, I made yesterday a reconnaissance with my company to Tranter’s Creek, a distance of 8 miles, where they were said to have a large force on each side of the stream. I advanced cautiously, with my advance guard dismounted and acting as skirmishers, but could discover no signs of the presence of an enemy until we struck the bridge where our late engagement took place. Here, within reach of our rifles and partially concealed behind the trees, we could just discover in the bend of the road on the other side of the stream two mounted pickets, whom my men were exceedingly anxious to relieve from all further troubles in {p.344} the world, but as I did not want to make any noise until the object of my reconnaissance was accomplished their lives were spared. I found the bridge partially destroyed, the mill where they made their last stand entirely deserted, and no traces whatever of the presence of a large force.

In the direct road to Greenville, about a mile from this point, is another bridge, which Lieutenant Allis crossed at the time of his engagement; but although I made a careful reconnaissance of that locality, no rebel pickets could be seen. About 12 feet of the center of this bridge has been sawed off and a breastwork of logs and lumber erected on the other side, but, as I said before, no indications of the presence of rebel troops could be found.

I mention these little particulars merely to show that our late battle at Tranter’s Creek has had a very salutary effect on the enemy, and that we shall probably not be molested here for some time to come.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. F. JOCKNICK, Captain, Commanding Company I, Third New York Cav.

First Lieut. R. M. HALL, Adjutant Third New York Cavalry, New Berne, N. C.

P. S.-I hand you inclosed requisitions for ordnance and stationery and extra return for salt, which after being approved by the colonel commanding please hand to the quartermaster, with my request to have the articles forwarded to me per next steamer. I also hand you a letter to the Adjutant-General United States Army and a private letter, both to be mailed at your post-office.

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JULY 24-28, 1862.–Expeditions from New Berne to Trenton and Pollocksville, N. C., etc.

REPORTS.

No. 1.–Brig. Gen. John G. Foster, U. S. Army.
No. 2.–Col. Horace C. Lee, Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Infantry.
No. 3.–Second-Lieutenant Byron W. Gates, Third New York Cavalry.

No. 1.

Report of Brig. Gen. John G. Foster, U. S. Army.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, New Berne, N. C., July 28, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that everything is going on well in this department. I sent on Friday last four reconnaissances, with the object of ascertaining the force of the enemy near this town, taking prisoners for the purpose of acquiring information and to acquire a more thorough knowledge of the topography of the neighboring counties. I am happy to say that the three parties heard from were perfectly successful and with very little loss. One detachment made a circuit of 50 miles by way of Trenton and Pollocksville. Another proceeded to Pollocksville by another road. A third went some 18 miles up the Neuse road and broke up the main post of the pickets on that {p.345} road. The fourth, not yet reported, were to occupy Young’s Cross-Roads, situated about 14 miles distant from and at right angles with the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, half way between Beaufort and this place. We have taken several horses and prisoners and learned much concerning the enemy’s force.

A more detailed report I shall have the honor of sending by the steamer hence on the 30th proximo.*

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Brigadier-General, U. S. Army, Commanding Department.

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.

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No. 2.

Report of Col. Horace C. Lee, Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Infantry.

HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA, New Berne, N. C., July 28, 1862.

DEAR SIR: I have the honor to report the movements of a reconnoitering body of troops under my command, consisting of six companies of the Seventeenth Massachusetts, Lieutenant-Colonel Fellows; nine companies of the Twenty-fifth, Lieutenant-Colonel Sprague; seven companies of the Twenty-seventh, Lieutenant-Colonel Lyman; five companies of cavalry, Major Lewis, and one battery of artillery, Lieutenant Pope.

We left New Berne at 5 p.m. of the 24th instant, the six companies of the Seventeenth and one company of cavalry going up on the south side of the Trent River toward Pollocksville, the balance up the north side toward Trenton. We encamped that night at Deep Gully, throwing our pickets forward to the right toward the Red House and on the left down to the creek.

We moved at daylight the next morning, two companies of cavalry acting as advance guard. When within 3 or 4 miles of the forks of the Kinston and Trenton road two companies of the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts were sent in advance and deployed as skirmishers. Rebel vedettes were from time to time in sight about 1 mile in advance. When within 1 1/2 miles of the forks I ordered Major Lewis to dash on with the cavalry and clear the road. He did so, and drove 6 or 8 of the enemy up the Kinston road, firing upon them and killing, as reported, 1 man. The fire was returned, but without injury to us.

Arriving at the forks, we left two companies of the Twenty-fifth, two companies of the Twenty-seventh, one section of battery, and 20 cavalry, under command of Captain Moulton; then pushed on rapidly for Trenton. The cavalry, being in the advance, discovered a small number of the enemy firing the bridge across Trent River. They fired upon and dispersed them, and extinguished the fire, saving the bridge. The whole force were soon up and halted, and, it being 12 o’clock, the men had their dinner and horses were fed. The bridge was soon repaired and a guard stationed to prevent the men from crossing into the village.

The force left at the forks was ordered back, and at 3.30 o’clock, the {p.346} cavalry having rode up two or three of the roads leading from Trenton without discovering an enemy, we marched through the village and on toward Pollocksville, halting at 8 o’clock and spending the night at a plantation belonging to Mr. McDaniel, who we learn left it in March last. It was now the headquarters of the rebel cavalry scouts or pickets. The artillery and baggage train found some difficulty in fording a small creek near this place, but all got safely through in the course of the evening. It rained very hard most of the night, but the men were well sheltered in the large barns and sheds, the officers occupying the house. Picket guards were thrown out, the guns of the battery stationed so as to command the different roads, and the baggage train well secured within the yard. Just previous to arriving here four prisoners were taken, who reported themselves as conscripts from Swansborough on their way to Trenton to join their company.

As we were about to move the next morning I discovered that a large grist-mill by the side of the road, below the house, was in a blaze, having been fired by some one or more of the men. It was completely destroyed. The house was also set on fire in the attic, together with a small house in the rear. By my orders a party of the Twenty-fifth, headed by Adjutant Harkness, succeeded in stopping the flames and saving the house. Although I should not have given my consent to the burning of the mill and should have prevented it had I supposed it in danger, I think it may, perhaps, have been well to have had it destroyed, as it must have been extensively used by the enemy and contained quite a quantity of grain, which could not be brought away. A guard was left to prevent any more burning; and we proceeded on to Pollocksville, being obliged to build a small bridge on the way for the artillery and baggage. Arriving at 10.30, we found there the six companies of the Seventeenth and Captain Cole’s company of cavalry, who had arrived the day before. They had lost 4 men of the cavalry; six of them on a foraging tour having been fired upon by a party of guerrillas in ambush, 2 were killed, and 2 wounded and taken prisoners. Lieutenant-Colonel Fellows immediately sent out three companies of infantry, but did not succeed in discovering the rascals. Two prisoners were taken the morning we arrived, who were suspected of being concerned in the affair. We were delayed until nearly 3 o’clock on account of the bridge built by Lieutenant-Colonel Fellows’ command across Mill Creek not proving strong enough for the artillery. It was strengthened. The artillery and baggage train got safely across, and we arrived in New Berne at 10 p.m.

Although we did not meet with as many of the enemy as we should have been glad to, I feel very well satisfied with the result. From information given us by citizens on the road and at Trenton I am satisfied that there is no force this side of Kinston, with the exception of about 100 rebel cavalry and parties of citizens acting as guerrillas. These are divided into small squads and scour the country from Deep Gully to Pollocksville.

The troops behaved extremely well throughout the entire march, and notwithstanding the heat of the weather and the many streams to be forded, some of them 3 and 4 feet in depth, there was no murmuring and but few stragglers.

The heavy rain had made the roads in many places very bad for artillery, but they came safely through, Lieutenant Pope managing them with much skill and with little bluster.

I am greatly indebted to Captain Hoffman, of General Foster’s staff, who accompanied me, and by his advice did much to make the reconnaissance {p.347} successful; also to Lieutenant Dennison, of the Twenty-seventh, who acted as aide.

The bridge built at Mill Creek was not destroyed as directed, because it would have delayed us so long that we could not have arrived at New Berne that night, and because I considered it of very little if any benefit to the enemy.

Very respectfully,

H. C. LEE, Colonel, Commanding First Brigade.

Lieut. J. F. ANDERSON, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Not found.

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No. 3.

Report of Second Lieut. Byron W. Gates, Third New York Cavalry.

CAMP RENO, near New Berne, N. C., July 29, 1862.

SIR: In compliance with your request I have the honor to report the movements of my company, as follows:

In obedience to orders received from General Foster I joined my company with the Seventeenth Massachusetts. Marched July 26 toward Pollocksville, taking the road leading past the University. Soon after reaching Mill Creek the work of bridging was commenced, when the commanding officer ordered me to have vedettes stationed along the road leading to Haughton’s Mill. I ordered a sergeant to take 5 men-went myself and posted the first, then directed him to station the next in sight of the first, that they might communicate with each other readily, and to observe the same order in posting the rest. They had proceeded about 400 yards, after stationing the second vedette, when they were fired upon by a party in ambush. I think there were 50 shots discharged. Two or three companies of infantry moved immediately to the spot, where they found the sergeant and 1 of [the] men killed, the other 2 missing. Skirmishers were deployed; the enemy’s trail followed into the woods-how far I don’t know. They soon returned, however.

As soon as the bridge was completed we moved on to Pollocksville, where we remained overnight, returning to camp next day. On our return I dismounted a portion of my men and searched the woods for the two missing men. I took the trail, which led directly to the creek, where there was a log lying across, which bore the appearance of having been used a long time by footmen to cross. I then returned to the regiment.

Very respectfully, yours,

BYRON W. GATES, Second Lieutenant, Commanding Company K.

Lieutenant-Colonel MIX.

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JULY 26-29, 1862.–Reconnaissance from Newport to Young’s Cross-Roads, N. C., and skirmish 27th.

Report of Col. Charles A. Heckman, Ninth New Jersey Volunteers.

HDQRS. NINTH REGIMENT NEW JERSEY VOLS., Newport Barracks, July 31, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report the following as the result of a reconnaissance made in force from this point to Young’s Cross-Roads:

{p.348}

The expedition consisted of six companies of the Ninth New Jersey Volunteers, under Major Zabriskie; three companies of the Third New York Cavalry, under Captain Stearns, and one section of the Rocket Battalion, under Lieutenant Graham. We started from this point on Saturday, the 26th instant, at 4 a.m., and after building two bridges proceeded as far as Davis’ Mill, 26 miles distant, where we bivouacked for the night.

At daylight on Sunday, 27th, we started for the Cross-Roads, where we arrived at 10 a.m. At 1 p.m. I started one company of cavalry toward Pollocksville and one toward Trenton for the purpose of communicating with the expedition from New Berne. With one company of cavalry I started on a reconnaissance toward Onslow. We had proceeded about 14 miles when we came to a sharp curve in the road. As soon as the advance had made the turn a volley of musketry was poured into us from the opposite side of the creek, the bridge over which had been destroyed. I immediately ordered a halt, and those of the cavalry who were armed with rifles to dismount and deploy as skirmishers, and sent back for re-enforcements. The re-enforcements arriving promptly, I deployed them as skirmishers, and a brisk fire was opened upon the enemy. I also had a piece of artillery placed in position, and opened on them with grape and canister. Under cover of our fire I had the bridge rebuilt and crossed after them, but they had been completely routed, leaving behind several sabers, shot-guns, &c., taking with them, however, all their killed and wounded, the exact number of which I could not ascertain. Our loss was 6 wounded, 1 seriously. The rebels numbered about 300, under Captains Ward, Humphreys, and Perkins. I brought in 3 prisoners, 2 of whom belonged to rebel cavalry and were home on furlough.

My orders being to proceed to Young’s Cross-Roads and if possible communicate with the expedition from New Berne, on Monday, 28th, I started, with one company of cavalry for Pollocksville, where I found the expedition had been, and left on Sunday afternoon. The distance being less from the Cross-Roads to New Berne than to Newport, and the roads I had passed over being almost impassable, I concluded to go on to New Berne and obtain transportation from there to Newport. We left the Cross-Roads on Monday at 3 p. in, and at night bivouacked at the Seminary, near Pollocksville. Tuesday morning at daylight we started, and arrived at New Berne at noon and at Newport the same evening.

I am deeply indebted to Captain Stearns, of the cavalry, and Lieutenant Graham, of the artillery, for valuable services rendered, and the prompt and energetic manner with which they executed every order. The officers and men of the infantry performed their duties nobly, and where all did their duty it is impossible to particularize.

I regret the necessity of reporting the burning of Mr. Foy’s property, 3 miles from the Cross-Roads. The column had passed the house, when I perceived smoke ascending in that direction. I returned and found the house in flames. I have been unable to find out the cause of the fire or by whom it was done.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. A. HECKMAN, Colonel, Commanding.

Brigadier-General STEVENSON, Commanding Second Brigade, First Division, Department of North Carolina.

{p.349}

JULY 28, 1862.–Expedition from Batchelder’s Creek, on Neuse Road, N. C.

Report of Capt. Charles D. Sanford, Twelfth Massachusetts Infantry.

- -, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that, having received orders from General Foster to make a reconnaissance en the Neuse road and if possible break up a company of guerrillas stationed there, I left Batchelder’s Creek with the following force at 2.45 a.m. July 28:

Company H, Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Infantry44
Company D. Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Infantry38
Company G, Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Infantry2
Company C, Third New York Artillery11
Company G, Third New York Cavalry10
Total105

Reaching the Neuse road and passing through Jumping Run Swamp (a small brook running through a dense swamp and crossed by a small log bridge), supposed to be a guerrilla rendezvous, we reached the house of White, when we were met by the outer guard of the enemy, who attempted to fire, but missed, and immediately ran into the woods. A mile farther and we reached Keith’s, at the forks of two roads, where some 15 or 20 were charged on, but escaped through the corn fields. The house was searched and a few cartridges only found. The roads were carefully watched meanwhile by infantry and cavalry in every direction. Ascertaining from the residents that French’s, a notorious rebel nest, was only a mile and a half farther on, I immediately moved forward and came on the house very suddenly, it being almost entirely concealed by trees. Sending Company D to the right and the cavalry forward, we nearly surrounded the house. We expected to meet the entire rebel force in that section there, and I therefore ordered a charge and a fire while charging (before Company D came within range of our guns on the right), considering it the shortest manner of ending the affair. The whole was well executed and promptly by the men. They fired a volley through the windows and yard, the volley being the first intimation the rebels had of our presence. They ran quickly, but only 4 escaped, 1 of them being wounded in the leg. The prisoners were brought in from the swamp and placed under guard and the house searched. Nothing was found of any value but a few sabers, the rifles and pistols being mostly worthless and condemned. Some 20 good horses were captured, only 4 escaping. The wounded of the enemy were placed in a wagon and sent under charge of the cavalry to the railroad. Everything having been cleared out of the house, it, together with most of the outbuildings, were fired, and were burning finely when we left.

We took 10 prisoners, 1 dead man being unintentionally left behind unburied, and 1 dying (Corp. Grier Black, of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina) on the return home. One with his arms shattered was immediately sent to the hospital; the remainder, by General Foster’s order, being sent to the provost-marshal. The prisoners belonged to Company G, Second North Carolina Cavalry, and had been at French’s some three weeks.

We reached Batchelder’s Creek at 9.15 a.m., having been absent six hours and a half. When we surprised the enemy at French’s the sun had but just risen.

No wounds or injuries were received by any of our men.

{p.350}

Lieutenant Randolph, of the Third New York Artillery; Lieutenant Skinner, commanding Company D; Lieutenant Joslyn and Sergeant McKay, of Company H, rendered valuable aid in searching the houses, scouting the woods, &c.

I desire especially to mention Sergeant Safford, of the Third New York Cavalry, Company G, for his brave conduct under all circumstances. He was especially cool and daring, leading off in two charges in a most gallant manner.

I am, sir, yours, very truly,

CHARLES D. SANFORD, Captain, Commanding Guard at Batchelder’s Creek, N. C.

Col. HORACE C. LEE, Commanding First Brigade.

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AUGUST 14-15, 1862.–Reconnaissance from Newport to Swansborough, N. C.

Report of Col. Charles A. Heckman, Ninth New Jersey Infantry.

HDQRS. NINTH REGIMENT NEW JERSEY VOLS., Newport Barracks, N. C., August 16, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that in accordance with your order I left camp on the evening of the 14th at 7 p.m. with one squadron of cavalry and 100 infantry on a reconnaissance. I took the White Oak road, crossed the bridge over Pettigrew’s Creek, and continued on this road until we arrived within 2 miles of Peletier’s Mill, where I found a good road leading to the mouth of Pettiford’s Creek, at which point I expected to find means of transportation across the White Oak River, which would bring me in the rear of Swansborough, and enable me to capture at least the pickets of the enemy. But I was sadly disappointed, the boats having been destroyed the week previous, as I was informed by a person whose slumber I was compelled to disturb for the night. I could not find anything in the shape of a boar and again took up the march for Cedar Point.

I took possession of Mr. E. Hill’s plantation, opposite Swansborough, at 4 a.m. Hill’s place is on high ground, separated from the village by White Oak River, about 2 miles wide, and having over 5 feet water in the channel. The only transportation that I found here was one yawl and a canoe, capable of carrying 16 persons. I dispatched Captain McChesney, with 12 men, in the yawl, followed by 4 men in the canoe, armed with rifles and Colt’s navies, with orders to reconnoiter and secure two flats, but not to attempt a landing.

On his return he reported that on his getting within a half mile of the shore a gun was discharged, and instantly a body of armed men, numbering from 250 to 300, made their appearance from the heavy timber in the rear of the village. They started three boats to capture him, but altered their minds on receiving a volley from his little party, and skedaddled for the timber. Not deeming it prudent to run in nearer the shore with so small a force, the captain returned.

Having done all that was possible with our limited transportation, I took up the return march by another route. When about 8 miles from the Point, a sailor with a fowling-piece, was picked up, who informed me that two steamers (stern-wheelers) were aground in the sound, and {p.351} had been there since early morning. By him I sent information as to matters in and about Swansborough. Knowing that I could not assist them in their difficulty, I continued my march, arriving in camp at 10 p.m. of the 15th in a drenching rain.

I have the honor to be, general, with high regards, your obedient servant,

C. A. HECKMAN, Colonel, Commanding

Maj. Gen. J. G. FOSTER, Comdg. Dept. of North Carolina.

Library Reference Information

Type of Material: Book (Book, Microform, Electronic, etc.)
Corporate Name: United States. War Dept.
Main Title: The War of the Rebellion:
a compilation of the official records of the
Union and Confederate armies.
Prepared under the direction of the Secretary of War
by Robert N. Scott.
Washington, Govt. Print. Off., 1880-1900.
Published/Created: Washington : Government Pub. Off., 1880-1901 (70 v. in 128).
Description: 70 v. in 128. 24 cm.
Subjects: United States. Army--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Sources.
Confederate States of America. Army--History--Sources.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Regimental histories.
LC Classification: E464 .U6