Lieutenant Commanding R. Werden’s report.
Lieutenant Commanding A Murray’s report.
Lieutenant Commanding H. K. Davenport’s report.
Lieutenant Commanding Wm. N. Jeffers’s report.
Lieutenant Commanding S. P. Quackenbush’s report.
Lieutenant Commanding C. W. Flusser’s report.
Lieutenant Commanding J. C. Chaplin’s report.
Acting Lieutenant Commanding R. F. Renshaw’s report
Acting Lieutenant Commanding Edward B. Colhoun’s report.
Acting Volunteer Lieutenant C. F. W. Behm’s report.
Acting Master Commanding Peter Hays’s report.
Acting Master Commanding Chas. A French’s report.
Acting Master Commanding G. W. Graves’s report.
Acting Master Commanding John E Giddings’s report.
Acting Master Commanding F. S. Wells’s report.
Acting Master Commanding John McDiarmid’s report.
Acting Master Commanding Wm. J. Hotchkiss’s report
Acting Master Commanding Thomas J. Woodward’s report.
Midshipman Benj H. Porter’s report, with a list of killed and wounded.
Detailed report of attack and capture of Roanoke island, North Carolina, February 7 and 8, 1862.
UNITED STATES FLAG-STEAMER PHILADELPHIA, Of Roanoke Island, February 18, 1862.
Sin: The following detailed report concerning the part taken by some of the vessels belonging to the North Atlantic blockading squadron in the engagement of the 7th and 8th instant, I have now the honor to submit: On the 28th ultimo, all the vessels composing the naval branch of our combined expedition intended by my arrangements to participate in the reduction of Roanoke island, and operate elsewhere in its vicinities, were over the bulkhead at Hatteras inlet and in readiness for service; but, owing to circumstances already communicated to the department, it was not until the 5th instant that those composing the army branch of it were similarly situated.
The naval vessels in view, all of which were placed by me under the general command of Commander S. C. Rowan, were the Stars and Stripes, Lieutenant Commanding Reed Werden; Louisiana, Lieutenant Commanding A. Murray; Hetzel, Lieutenant Commanding H. K. Davenport; Underwriter, Lieutenant Commanding William N. Jeffers; Delaware, Lieutenant Commanding S. P. Quackenbush; Commodore Perry, Lieutenant Commanding C. W. Flusser; Valley City, Lieutenant Commanding J. C. Chaplin; Commodore Barney, Acting Lieutenant Commanding R. T. Renshaw; Hunchback, Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Commanding E. R. Colhoun; Southfield, Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Commanding C. F. W. Behm; Morse, Acting 1aster Commanding Peter Hayes; Whitehead, Acting Master Commanding Charles A. French; Lockwood, Acting Master Commanding G. W. Graves; Brincker, Acting Master Commanding John E. Giddings; I. N. Seymour, Acting Master Commanding F. S. Wells; Ceres, Acting Master Commanding John McDiarmid; Putnam, Acting Master Commanding W. J. Hotchkiss; Shaweheen, Acting Master Commanding Thomas 0-. Woodward; and Granite, Acting Master’s Mate Commanding E. Boomer.
During our detention at the inlet we resorted to every means in our power to get accurate information of the enemy’s position and preparation, and we obtained enough to enable us to arrange our programme of attack, which, in substance, was as follows: The naval division was to lead from the time of starting up to that of encountering the enemy. The marshes, in case of being defended by a battery and the enemy’s vessels, were to be passed by noticing the former only in a transitory way, and by dashing, without delay, directly at the latter. On approaching Roanoke island sufficiently near, the batteries at Pork and Sandy Points (if any at the latter) and the vessels of the enemy, if drawn up to meet us, were to be the first objects assailed by the naval division, aided by such fighting vessels, under the general command of Commander Samuel F. Hazard, as the army division could afford.
While this work was going on the army, under cover of its own vessels and six of our armed launches, was to land at Ashby’s harbor, or, if preferable, a portion of it at Sandy Point, half a mile above. In advancing from the inlet the vessels of both branches of the expedition were to observe my signals.
Early on the morning of the 5th, the necessary general signals for a move were thrown out from the Philadelphia, and, as soon afterward as could be expected for so large a number of vessels, all were under way, with the naval division as prescribed arranged in three columns, commanded, respectively, by Lieutenants Commanding Werden, Murray, and Davenport. Although the weather favored us, our progress was unavoidably slow.
Apprehending that the buoy on the eastern extremity of Long Point shoal, distant some twenty miles from the inlet, might have been removed, a steamer, with the Granite in tow, was sent ahead to ascertain the fact, and, if necessary-, to place another already prepared in its stead. Fortunately, it had not been removed. A flag, however, was placed upon it, a signal of caution was made, and thus the shoal, the worst obstruction in the way, was safely avoided by- each and all.
At sundown, having arrived off Stumpy Point and within ten miles of the marshes, the whole force anchored by signal, each vessel occupying as nearly as practicable, the same relative position toward the rest as she had done in steaming. Here it was judged expedient to detail a small party to visit a certain house on the mainland for the purpose of securing, even forcibly, the services of a certain individual, whose name had been given to us at the iplet. An officer took it in charge, and before midnight he brought the man to me on board the Philadelphia.
Early the next morning, accompanied by the chief of my staff and fleet, Captain Commander Augustus L. Case, Captain’s Clerk H. 0-. B. Fisher, as signaI officer, with two petty officers to assist him, and Lieutenants Thomas R. Robeson and Nathaniel S. Barstow, of the army signal corps, with their party of four men, I changed my quarters temporarily from the Philadelphia to the South- field, and hoisted my flag on board of her. In a little while afterward our whole force, by signal, was again under way-with two of our lighter draught steamers, the Ceres and Putnam, a mile or so in advance, in order to detect either the enemy himself or any obstructions he might have concealed. The weather was now .thick and threatening, and, of course, bad for distant discoveries.
About 9 o’clock, however, it cleared away for a short while in the direction of Roanoke island, and then, for the first time, we distinctly recognized the enemy’s armed and other vessels lying at anchor, apparently close in with the shore between Pork and Wier Point; but in an hour and a half afterwards, and when within a couple of miles of the marshes, it again became not only thick, but rainy and windy, and this induced us to anchor once more, still observing the same general order of relative position that we had done the evening before. In the course of the afternoon one of the enemy’s steamers approached the marshes for the purpose, no doubt, of reconnoitering our force. She met with no opposition from us, simply because we were not unwilling that she should accomplish her wishes.
The following morning, Friday, February 7, at daylight, the weather was more propitious, and the sky gave evident signs of a clear day. At 9 o’clock, and for the third time since leaving the inlet, the whole force was put under way by another general signal. Besides the Ceres and Putnam, the Underwriter also was placed in advance, the former two to keep not more than 400 yards ahead of the flag-ship, and the latter, at a proper time, to go as much beyond that distance as might be necessary to discover, as early as possible, if a battery had been erected on Sandy Point. The marshes were soon threaded and astern of us. Their passage-way is so narrow as not to admit more than two vessels abreast, and in this order they kept until it was cleared, and the much wider waters of Oroatan sound were reached.
Being anxious to make a decided impression upon the enemy early in the contest, all the vessels with 9-inch guns were ordered to close up around the flag-ship. At 10.30 a m., the enemy’s vessels, eight in number, all being drawn up behind an extensive obstruction formed by a double row of piles and sunken vessels stretching well across the sound and between the forts on Pork and Wier Points, one of them fired a heavy gun, probably intended to announce, generally, that an attack was just impending. In less than an hour afterwards, the Underwriter failing to draw a reply to a shot she had fired, signaled “no battery on Sandy Point.” The omission to guard this point was favorable to the arrangement of landing the troops at Ashby’s harbor. Had it been protected our difficulties would have been materially increased.
Not long after this announcement, the naval division, composed and commandded as stated above, accompanied, as predetermined, by the Picket, Captain Thomas P. Ives; Huzzar, Captain Frederick Crocker; Pioneer, Captain Charles E. Baker; Vidette, Captain John L. Foster; Ranger, Captain Samuel Emerson; Lancer, Captain M. B. Morley; and Chasseur, Captain John West, of the army division, and keeping in close order, had approached the enemy near enough to begin the attack, and to devote the most of its firing against the fort on Pork Point, not neglecting, however, the enemy’s vessels, a battery between Pork and Weir Points, and another on Redstone Point, all of which opened fire upon us, but the latter only occasionally, and without effect. By noon, our vessels having approached still nearer, the action became general on their part and that of tile enemy. At 1.30 p. m. the effect of our firing caused the barracks behind the. fort at Pork Point to burst into flames, and at 2.15 p. m. they were burning furiously, entirely beyond redemption. About this time our vessels being placed by their respective commanders as advantageously as circumstances would permit, the firing was the hottest.
Throughout the sound lying between Roanoke island and the main land the depth of water at best is but little, and the bottom everywhere is essentially lumpy and irregular. Even at the distance of a mile and more from the shore where we had to approach, scarcely a general depth at low water of more than seven feet is to be found. With one or two exceptions, none of our vessels drew less than seven feet, and some of them drew rather more than eight. In placing them, therefore, so as to make their various guns to tell effictually, their several commanders had to exercise a sound discretion, and to keep in view the consideration due to the use of shells with fuses fixed in value as to time. To have used, for instance, a five-seconds fuse in shelling uncovered works at a less distance than about 1,400 yards, would not have secured the best results. Toward 3 p. m. the troops, embarked on board of light draught steamers and boats, started to land at Ashby’s harbor.
The place was guarded by a large body of the enemy, with a field battery, but the Delaware, with Commander Rowan on board, and his division flag at her masthead, having very judiciously taken up a flanking position to the southward of Pork Point, and thus, most opportunely, being near at hand, immediately turned her guns toward the harbor, and with some 9-inch shrapnels soon cleared the way. At 4.30 p. m. Pork Point battery, and the one next to the northward of it, ceased for a while to reply to our fire; five of the enemy’s steamers, apparently injured, went back behind Weir’s Point, and the first landing of our troops took place. At S p. m. those batteries again opened upon our vessels, and the enemy’s steamers once more put forth and opened upon us. In about forty minutes, however, the latter were compelled a second time to retire. One of them, the Curlew, in a disabled condition, had taken refuge under the battery on Redstone Point. At 6 p. m. the firing of the enemy being only from Pork Point, and at long intervals, darkness coming on, and, not wishing to waste ammunition, I ordered the signal “cease firing” to be made.
In the course of the afternoon, our six launches, under the command of Midshipman Benjamin H. Porter, landed their howitzers and joined the army, for the purpose of commanding the main road and its two forks daring the night, and assisting in more active operations the following morning. By midnight some 10,000 of our troops had been safely landed at Ashby’s harbor, the Delaware having taken on board from the Cossack some 800, and put them on shore at 10 p. m.
February 8.—As it was arranged by General Burnside that his forces should move, at a very early hour this morning, from where they had been landed, and begin their attack upon the enemy, and, as the direction they were required to take would, in all probability, soon bring them in the line of fire occupied by the navy, it was agreed between us last night that to-day the vessels should not renew operations until I could receive word from him that their missiles would not be destructive to both. friends and foes. At daylight none of the enemy’s vessels, except the Curlew, could be discovered.
At 9 a. m, a continuous firing in the interior of the island told us that our forces were hotly engaged about midway between Ashby’s harbor and Pork Point battery, and, as this intelligence also assured us that our forces were not then in the range of our line of fire, our vessels, without waiting to hear from General Burnside, at once moved up to re-engage the forts. At this work they continued until the firing in the interior evidently slackened. Then taking it for granted that our troops were carrying everything before them, and thus fast approaching the rear of the batteries, I again ordered the signal “cease firing” to be made. At the time, however, the work on Pork Point was so reduced that it did not use but one gun against us. Shortly afterwards, on being informed by one of General Burnside’s aids of the actual state of things on shore, I was induced to order another demonstration on the part of our vessels, but before firing had generally commenced Commander Rowan came on board the South- field just from General Burnside, with the suggestion that it would be better to desist, and accordingly they were recalled.
At 1 p. m., judging. that the time had arrived for clearing a passage way through the obstructions alluded to above, by the accomplishment of which both the battery on Redstone Point and the Curlew might be destroyed, and our advhnce up Albemarle Sound would be secured, the Underwriter, Valley City, Seymour, Lockwood, Ceres, Shawsheen, Putnam, Whitehcad, and Brineker were ordered to perform the service. By 4 p. m. one of them had overcome the difficulty for herself, and reached the other side, and in less than an hour more a sufficient way for all the rest was opened. This important duty could not have been undertaken one moment earlier than it was without exposing our vessels, huddled together, to the converging and cross-fire of the four batteries at Pork, Weir’s, and Redstone Points, and another one situated between the former two. About the same time that our vessels succeeded in bursting through the barricades the American flag was hoisted over the battery at Pork Point, and in a few minutes afterwards the enemy himself fired the works at Redstone Point, and also the steamer Curlew. Both blew up in the early part of the evening. These events closed the struggle, which had now lasted throughout two days, and were essentially the last scenes enacted irs securing to us complete possession of the island of Roanoke.
A statement of the casualties that occurred will accompany this communication. They amount in all to six killed, seventeen wounded, and two missing. Considering how frequently our vessels were struck, it is remarkable that more did not take place; and considering the character of our vessels, it is also remarkable that none of them were even put hers du combat, except temporarily. It now remains for me to discharge the gratifying duty of speaking of the officers and men under my command on the occasion in view. This, obviously, I can only do, as it were, in a collective way; but the reports of the commanding officers herewith submitted, upon which, necessarily, I have to rely, and in which place every confidence, will be found more circumstantial.
I beg to commend to your consideration the commanding officers themselves, who did their part entirely to my satisfaction, and, in fact, in a most admirable manner. The general order I issued the day after the surrender, a copy of which accompanies my preliminary report, was intended to convey applause and my profound gratitude to all to whom it relates, and I therefore beg that it may be so regarded by the Navy Department. I pray, too, that to the bereaved individuals whose support and comfort depended upon those who are now among the honored dead may be extended the earliest fostering care that circumstances will permit.
It is really difficult for me to state in adequate terms how largely I feel myself indebted to Commanders Rowan and Case for their constant and signal services throughout, from the very inception of the expedition to the consummation of the achievement in view. They, hand in hand, with their marked ability and sound sense, and in the absense of all ordinary facilities, brought about, at Hampton Roads, the arming, manning, and equipment of the many vessels sent to us, from necessity,. in an unprepared condition; and subsequently, they both labored most conspicuously and faithfully, in their respective spheres of action, to vanquish difficulties at the inlet and the enemy at Roanoke. In short, their assistance to me has been invaluable.
I am promised a report by general Burnside with cgard to Midshipman Porter’s association with his forces, and as soon as it comes to hand I will with pleasure forward it to the department.
Although the Philadelphia did not participate in the action, because of her unfitness for the purpose, still she was ever near at hand, in readiness, if necessary, to tow the disabled, receive some of the wounded, and furnish supplies. Her commander, Acting Master Silas Reynolds, is every way worthy of his trust. Mr. Fisher performed the important duties of signal officer in the most commendable manner. Not only were all the signals ordered promptly made, but mistake whatever occurred.
Lieutenants Robeson and Barstow, of the army, were ever in place, and ready, by means of Myers’s system of signals, to make known to those not accustomed our own code whatever I wished.
It will afford me peculiar pleasure, sir, to communicate to you in due season more particular information with regard to the cases of individuals which appear to me to merit a distinct consideration on the part of the government.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, L. M. GOLDSBOROUGH, Flag- Officer, commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
To: Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.
UNITED STATES STEAMER STARS AND STRIPES, Off Roanoke Island, February 10, 1862.
Sir: In obedience to your order of this instant, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by this vessel in the action of the 7th instant: At 12 o’clock m. I approached the shore as near as the circumstances would admit of. and opened fire with one 20-pounder Parrot and two 12-pounder rifle guns upon the rebel steamers, and with two 8-inch guns upon the battery on Pork Point, using shell with 10” and 1.5” fuses and hollow shot, many of the shell bursting in and over the fort; while the Parrott and rifle guns did good execution among the rebel steamers.
The action was continued until 6 o’clock p. in., when, in obedience to signal, I ceased firing, and soon after anchored for the night. I kept my vessel in motion with great difficulty, owing to her great draught of water, and was aground twice during the engagement. I have no casualties to report among the officers and crew, and no injuries to the vessel, except shooting away a brace, although at times the enemy’s shot and shell were passing near and over us. It affords me great pleasure to allude to the coolness and good conduct of the officers and men upon this occasion. I herewith enclose the gunner’s report of the expenditure of ammunition.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, R. WERDEN, Lieutenant Commanding.
To: Flag-Officer L. K Goldsborough, Commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
UNITED STATES STEAMER LOUISIANA, near Roanoke Island, February 8, 1862.
Sin: On the morning of the 7th, in obedience to signal, I got underway with the column under my command, and, in company with the main body of the naval forces, passed through the marshes without accident to any vessel, except the one under my immediate command, which struck an obstruction in the channel and swung entirely round, bearing her weight upon the propeller. Whilst in this position I hastened to the advance, to sustain the flag officer, the 9-inch gun vessels.
When the naval division of the fleet had passed, our vessel, with the aid of the Seymour, was (with the loss of a flange from her propeller) clear; and, to the great satisfaction of officers and crew, we overtook our position, and were enabled to close with the enemy’s fortifications, and share with the other two columns in a bombardment, which has ended in a victory creditable to our arms, and, what is better, of incalculable benefit to our cause.
The Louisiana, early in the action, was set on fire and otherwise severely injured by the explosion of an 80-pound rifled projectile, fired from the enemy’s works into her forehold; in six minutes from the time she was struck the fire was out, and the ship re-engaged the enemy; the promptitude and coolness with which the officers and men, under the enemy’s fire, and amid so much that was combustible around them, went to the duty of extinguishing the flames was extremely gratifying to me, as an exhibition of high discipline; it is my greatest pleasure as well as duty to say, that during the two days’ action I had occasion only to admire the untiring patience and cheerful courage of both officers and crew.
The Barney took a position which Acting Lieutenant Renshaw thought most suitable for the efficiency of his 9-inch guns, and maintained it till his shell were expended. The fire of the Barney was excellent.
The Hunchback, Acting Lieutenant Coihoun, took a position very near the batteries, and sustained considerable damage from the fire of the enemy, which she is now repairing. During the whole of the engagement, and in spite of her injuries, she maintained her proximity to the enemy, to his great apparent embarrassment, and to the admiration of the other ships. The Seymour and Lockwood, Acting Masters Commanding Wells and Graves, were conspicuously in the foreground throughout the bombardment, these gentlemen meriting my entire satisfaction.
The sloop Granite, Master’s Mate Boomer commanding, left me in the early part of the action, being entirely dependent on her sail, finally worked up to close quarters with the enemy, and bearing his part gallantly throughout. I have not yet received the account of the casualties in the column, or fall expenditure of ammunition, but will forward them as supplementary. I send a full account of ammunition expended on this ship, together with the number and character of projectiles thrown; also a complete list of officers. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, A. MURRAY, commanding Second column.
To: Commander S. C. RAWAN, Commanding Flotilla, &c.
UNITED STATES STEAMER HETZEL, Croatan Sound, N C., February 9, 1862.
SIR: I beg leave to submit the following report:
Being at anchor in Pamlico Sound above the “Swash”, at 8 a. m. of Thursday, the 6th instant, in pursuance of signal got under way and steamed slowly up the sound, in order of three columns, as directed. At 5.30 p. in. “a strange steamer” reported in sight. At 5.55 p. in., in obedience to order, came to anchor near marshes, at lower end of Roanoke island.
At 10 a. in. of Friday the 7th got under way and steamed through the marshes, in two columns, as directed. At 10.30 a. in. saw eight of the enemy’s gunboats lying above a battery at Pork Point on Roanoke island, and behind a line of obstructions, consisting of piles driven and vessels sunk across the channel, in range of this battery. Obeyed signals to “follow and engage the enemy.”
At 11.38 a. m. a shot was fired from one of the enemy’s gunboats, answered by one of our vessels. The battery soon opened, and the order being given to “close in upon the enemy,” the firing soon became general.
At 1 p. in. a shot from one of the guns carried away the upper part of the enemy’s flag staff, bringing his flag down by the run; it was soon replaced, however, on a smaller staff on the breastwork. A 1.30 p. in. enemy’s quarters set on fire by exploding shell.
At 2.10 p. in. a 32-pounder round shot struck us on the water-line, just abaft the starboard wheel, lodging in the coal bunker of that side. Signaled the fact the flag-ship, and withdrew from action to repair damages.
At 2.40 p. m., having temporarily repaired the injury sustained, went again into action.
At 4,15 p. m. a rifle sheP from one of the enemy’s vessels exploded over us; and one of the fragments striking Master’s Mate Charles Harris on the head killed him instantly.
At 5.15 p. in. our 80-pounder rifled gun, aft, burst in the act of firing a solid shot, prostrating every man at the piece and wounding six of them—three severely—but, fortunately, killing none. The part forward of the trunnions fell upon the deck; one-third of the breach went overboard, carrying away the port bulwarks; another flew high into the air, and fell into the water just alongside; and the remaining portion, weighing about a thousand pounds, was driven through the deck, breaking one of the beams, passed through the magazine and the deck below, and lodged upon the keelson. The magazine was set on fire, and only extinguished in time to avoid an explosion by the presence of mind, promptitude, and intrepidity of Lieutenant Charles L. Franklin, executive officer, whom I beg to recommend to your especial consideration and that of the department.
Reported accident to flag-ship, and, at six p. in., anchored beyond reach of the enemy’s guns.
On Saturday the 8th, at 8.30 a. in., went in and reported to Commander Rowan, and at 9 a. m. went alongside steamer Philadelphia and received on board carpenters to repair damages sustained by bursting of gun. Proceeded thence to sloop Granite, and took from her a long 32-pounder, with shot and shell; left her side at 3 p. m. and anchored near by.
At 1 p. m. Master Daniels left the ship for the purpose of taking command of party with launch howitzers, appointed to act in concert with land forces.
At 3.30 p. m. the body of Mr. Harris was taken on shore at Roanoke island and solemnly interred. At 4.30 p. in. observed the American flag flying over the battery, the enemy having abandoned it.
Where all behaved with such coolness, courage, and devotion in sustaining the honor of our flag, it is difficult to discriminate; but I cannot refrain from expressing my high appreciation of the conduct, both professional and otherwise, of Acting Assistant Surgeon N. S. Campbell, who, being the first to discover the ship to be on fire, sent the men to the hose, directed the engineer to turn on the water, and then gave his attention to the wounded, inspiring the men by his coolness.
Acting Assistant Paymaster E. P. Heberdon, although quite unwell, volunteered to act as signal officer, and to take note of the action; and I must acknowledge the faithful manner in which he performed those duties. At the moment of our gun’s bursting he was standing near by, and, although escaping unwounded, was severely shaken by the concussion.
The engineer department was managed in a manner that excited my warmest praise.
In conclusion, I beg leave to express my thanks to all my officers and men for their conduct in the action.
I enclose herewith the surgeon’s report of casualties, and have the honor to remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, H. K. DAVENPORT, Lieutenant Commanding.
To: Commander S. C. ROWAN, U. S. N., Commanding Flotilla, &c., Groatan Sound, .N. C.
UNITED STATES STEAMER UNDERWRITER, Of Roanoke Island, February 9, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this vessel during the two days preceding the capture of Roanoke island and dependent fortifications.
At 10 a. in. on the 7th I weighed, in obedience to your instructions, and led in, accompanied by the Ceres on one bow and the Putnam on the other, to define the limits of the channel and pilot the fleet. The latter vessel soon grounded on the west side of the channel, but my pilot proving an excellent one, I kept in the best water; and about 10.30, on passing the marshes, discovered the enemy’s vessels, which were subsequently found to be drawn up behind a barricade of sunken vessels and piles, stretching entirely across the sound, supported at each extremity by formidable batteries. On discovering the advance of the flotilla, the rebels fired an alarm gun.
When distant about two miles and a half, I fired a shell, and subsequently
second one at the fort, but did not provoke a reply. On your coming up abeam, in the Southfield, the rebel vessels opened fire, which was deliberately returned. As the other vessels gradually came up, and the channel widened sufficiently for manoeuvering, the action became general with vessels and forts, the former retiring before us.
As your instructions required me to direct my attention to the vessels, I moved up quite near the barricades, but soon found that their batteries were carefully constructed, and, as I approached, I unmasked gun after gun firing through embrasures, four of which, I ascertained, enfiladed the barricade. As was no part of the plan of attack to force the barricade before the reduction of the forts, or their serious injury, I allowed my vessel to drop back with the current to a position where but two guns bore upon her; these only fired at me occasionally.
The vessels, however, kept up a continual fire on the most advanced vessels
the left of our line. In return I made the most deliberate firing, averaging shot from each of my rifled guns about once in eight minutes. A fort on Redstone Point, also one at Wier’s Point, occasionally fired a rifled gun at us, but. at a range too distant for any effect, except by mere chance. About 3 p. in., the rebel steamers being a long distance off, I edged over toward the battery, and fired a dozen S-inch shells, most of which made good practice; then returned to my station, which I retained until the general signal cease firing was made.
The next morning I went up and exchanged a few shot with the batteries, but ceased upon the recall being made. In the afternoon, with the steamers placed under my orders, viz: the Underwriter, Valley City, Seymour, Lockwood, Ccres, Shawsheen, Putnam, White- head, and Brinker, I proceeded to the barricade for the purpose of removing a sufficient number of piles to allow the passage of the vessels of the squadron. The principal difficulty consisted in finding the channel. In doing this, the Putnam grounded, and as she was in a most exposed position, if a rebel steamer lying at Redstone Point had advanced, I anchored and sent other tugs to assist getting her off. Iii the meanwhile I sent boats to sound, and soon discovered several points of passage practicable after removing a few piles.
The Ceres, however, which I had sent on that duty, found a passage of sufficient width, between an unfinished row of piles and a sunken schooner. On this fact being reported to me I. sent her, with several of the pilots, to pass through it, examine beyond, and fix the position of the northeast point of Falker’s shoal. She had passed about a quarter of a mile beyond the barricade when I observed some two hundred men, in squads, running down to a battery plainly visible near Weir’s Point, and I immediately recalled her.
While deliberating on the propriety of passing through the opening thus discovered, and exposing the vessels to the converging and cross-fire of the batteries at Pork, Weir’s, and Redstone Points, our flag was seen entering the battery at Pork Point. I immediately got under way and passed the barricade, touching for a short time on a wreck, owing to one of the other vessels getting athwart my bows. As soon as it was perceived that we were passing the barricade, the rebels fired the buildings, and subsequently exploded the magazine f the fort on Redstone Point; the steamer lying there was also fired, showing that she must have been disabled by our fire of yesterday. While I was fast, closing the passage, the Lockwood cut the chain fastening two vessels together, and floated one of them out, thus clearing a passage for herself and other vessels, and the Valley City made a dash at a row of piles and forced a passage between them. By this time it was nearly dark, and, a thick mist setting in, I anchored for the night. I have placed flags to mark the openings, which are sufficiently wide for the passage of any vessels.
In conclusion, I have ou1y to testify to the coolness and attention of both officers and men of this vessel, under the difficult circumstances of being under fire without being permitted to return it, except at long intervals. I am pleased
report no casualties.
Accept my congratulations at the complete success which has been achieved by our arms at so small a sacrifice.
I have the honor to be your obedient servant, WILLIAM N. JEFFERS, Lieutenant Commanding.
To: Flag-Officer L. M. GOLDSBOROUGH, commanding Yorth Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
UNITED STATES STEAMER DELAWARE, Of Roanoke Island, February 9, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to submit to you the following report:
On the 7th day of February, 1862, at 10 a. in., the United States steamer Delaware, in obedience to a general signal from the United States flag-ship Southfield, got under way, and proceeded through the “Marshes” toward the battery on Roanoke island known as “Fort Sullivan,” or “Pork Point,” mounting nine guns, which fort we attacked at 11.30 a. m., and continued the fire, gradually closing in, until about 3 p. in., when we ran within a ship’s length of the shore, for the purpose of flanking the fort, from which position we rendered good service by throwing shell of five-second fuse.
About this time I left the vessel, accompanied by my acting aid, Acting Assistant Paymaster F. R. Curtis, landed on Roanoke island, distant some one thousand yards from Fort Sullivan, and took possession of a rebel tent, bringing the same on board. After which, observing a light draught army transport, containing United States troops, proceeding toward the shore, we ran down for the purpose of covering their landing, which object we fully accomplished by driving off with shell a large number of confederate troops secreted in the woods in close proximity to our landing place.
At 5.15 p. in. reported to the flag-ship, and then landed the 51st Pennsylvania regiment, successfully accomplishing it by 8 p. m., when we hauled off and anchored some one hundred yards from the shore, remaining there during the night, for the purpose of protecting the troops that had already landed. The following morning, at the request of General Burnside, sent Acting Master Chase, in command of ten soldiers of the 9th New Jersey regiment and two boats’ crews, in-shore for the purpose of reconnoitering. They were accompanied by Captain DeWolf, United States army, arid returned at 11 a. in. After which, and during the afternoon, rendered assistance to the wounded on shore by sending the necessary medical attendance, warm water, &c.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, S. P. QUACKENBUSH, Lieutenant commanding.
To: STEPHEN C. ROWAN, Com’g U. S. Flotilla in Pamlico Sound.
UNITED STATES STEAMER COMMODORE PERRY, Off Elizabeth City, N. C., February 16, 1862.
SIR: In the action at Roanoke island on the 7th instant we fired two shots at the enemy’s steamers at long range at 30 minutes past noon, and then closed in and opened fire on the battery. At 4 p. m. ran out of fire, loaded our remaining shells, and resumed our position. Fired during the day one hundred and seventy-two 9-inch shells and twenty shrapnels, at distances from two to eight hundred yards.
We were hit by round shot from the battery seven times, five times in the hull. One shot passed through the magazine and through an empty powdor. tank; another went between the engine and boiler, and through one of the water-tanks; two shots struck the starboard wheel. We were not materially injured. Andrew Horton, private, company D, 4th Rhode Island volunteers, had a leg broken by a splinter. No other casualties. My officers and men behaved well.
I have the honor to be, &c., C. W. FLUSSER, Lieutenant Commanding.
To: Commander S. C. ROWAN, United States Navy.
UNITED STATES STEAMER VALLEY CITY, Of Roanoke Island, February 10, 1862.
SIR: I respectfully beg to submit the following report of the action taken by this vessel in the reduction of Roanoke island, North Carolina, on the 7th and 8th days of February, 1862:
February 7, at 9 a. m., agreeably to the instructions of Commander H. K. Davenport, commanding the third column, I took a position astern of the United States steamer Putnam, steaming along the southern shore of Roanoke island. At meridian, in obedience to general signal “to close with the enemy,” I ran this vessel within three-quarters of a mile of the shore and engaged the rebel battery, in company with the United States steamers Commodore Perry, Morse, Whitehead, and Sloop Blinker. On the second exchange of the enemy’s fire a round shot struck the foremast of this vessel, grazing it nearly to the core, rendering the mast, I consider, unable to bear the weight of the foresail.
At 2 p. m. the enemy’s fort was set on fire by the shells from this and the other vessels with whom we. were in company. At 3 p. m. the flames within the enemy’s fort raging fiercely, and their fire having considerably slackened, I run this vessel a quarter of a mile nearer shore, keeping up a brisk fire of shell and round shot against the fort. Received exchanges of the fire from two guns on eastern angle of the enemy’s battery.
At 4 p. m., the enemy keeping up only a desultory fire, continued replying to it until I had expended all the shells I had on board. I then resorted to round shot, and continued the fire until 5.30, when, in obedience to signal, I retired out of range and came to anchor, having expended as follows: 184 6- pound charges, 32-pounder; 99 1-pound charges, 12-pounder rifle howitzer; 99 5-second shells, 32-pounder; 40 10-second shells, 32-pounder; 32 15-second shells, 32-pounder; 14 32-pound solid shot; and 105 12-pounder rifle shells.
In the morning I received from schooner Harwood the following supply of ammunition: 300 pounds cannon powder; 15 5-second shells, 32-pounder; 66 10-second shells, 32-pounder; 5 15-second shells, 32-pounder; 225 cartridge bags; 10 5-second fuses; 20 Dahlgren rifle shells; and 300 friction tubes. I am happy to report no casualties during the day on board this vessel, the enemy’s shot generally flying too high.
I take pleasure in bringing under your notice the very able assistance rendered me by Masters’ Mates Benjamin Page and Charles W. Campbell, and the unflinching devotion to their duty evinced generally by the other officers and the crew under my command throughout this day.
February 8, at 10 a. m., in obedince to signal I got this vessel under way, stood in toward the shore and again opened fire on the rebel battery, the enemy returning gun for gun. After expending as follows: 18 6-pound charges, 32-pounder; 3 32-pound solid shots; 10 10-second shells, 32-pounder; 6 15-second shells, 32-pounder; and 3 Hotchkiss’s percussion shells, in obedience to signal from flag-officer I retired out of range. Steamed alongside the flag-ship and received orders to report for duty to Captain Jeffers, of the steamer Underwriter. Upon request of Captain Jeffers, I dispatched two boats, under charge of Masters’ Mates Brooks and Page, with our pilot, to unmask the channel, which was obstructed by a row of piles, reaching from shore to shore. The channel having been discovered, got under way in the evening in company with the other vessels; stood across the piles and came to anchor off the western point of Roanoke island.
I am happy to report no casualties on board this vessel during this day.
I am, very respectfully, &c., J. C. CHAPLIN, Lieutenant commanding.
To: Commander S. C. ROWAN, Commanding United States flotilla, Albemarle Sound, North Carolina.
UNITED STATES STEAMER COMMODORE BARNEY, Roanoke Island, February 11, 1862.
SIR: Agreeable to your order, I have the honor to transmit to you a report of the action of this vessel against the forts at Roanoke island, on Friday, the 7th instant.
In obedience to your signal on the morning of that day, for the 9-inch guns to advance, at 10 a. in. I engaged the southern or lower battery with 15-second fuses. The first two shots fell a little short, when I again advanced, and was successful in throwing my -shells directly, as I supposed, into the fort. At 11 a. m., wishing to try the 10-second fuses, went in still nearer, hut got aground, and before getting afloat, used what 10-second fuses I had on board, amounting to thirty, but think the greater part of them took effect on the houses in the rear of battery, as the flames soon burst out from that quarter. After getting into deep water again I took position for 15-second fuses, and it appeared that all the shells did good execution, as I was hailed from the steamer Picket and told that the shots “were beautiful.”
At this time I directed all the 5-second fuses to be changed to 15-second, as I could not get near enough to use the former and to the best of my judgment, out of the entire number of shells thrown, but six fell outside the fort—ninety-nine from No. 1, a forward gun, asid twenty-five from No. 2, an after gun, leaving six on board, when it had grown so dark that I could scarcely see your general signal of recall. At 3.30 p. m. this vessel received one shot through her upper works, and one shell burst on the forward deck, but I am happy to state that no one was injured. I would most respectfully testify to the good conduct of the officers and crew, together with the soldiers on board, and particularly to the good shooting of Masters’ Mates Hill and Washburn.
I am, sir, with great respect, &c., R. F. RENSHAW, Acting Second Lieutenant Commanding.
To: Flag-Officer L. M. G0LDSBOR0UGH, Commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
UNITED STATES STEAMER HUNCHBACK, Carolina Sound, North Garolina, February 10, 1862.
Sir: In obedience to your order of this date, I respectfully submit the following report of the operations of this vessel in the engagement of the 7th instant with the enemy’s battery and gunboats.
We went into action about 11 a. m., directing most of our efforts against their gunboats. They having in a short time withdrawn from range of our guns, in obedience to your signal I closed in with the battery on Pork Point, going as far in as my draught of water would permit. At 3.30 p. m. a shot struck the engine, carrying away the top of one of the cylinder guide-rods and the spring bow, and disabled it. I then anchored and Sprung on the battery, with which I was engaged until nearly dark, part of the time being under a cross fire from the enemy’s gunboats.
The Hunchback was struck by the enemy’s shot eight times, one coIning through the hull just above the water line. We fired 204 shell and 4 shrapnel from the three 9-inch guns, and 24 solid shot, 12 percussion, and 64 paper case fuse shells, from the 100-pounder rifle. Though we were in the thickest of the engagement, no one was hurt. Too much praise cannot be given to the officers and men under my command for the manner in which they did their duty. No commander in battle was ever better supported, and they all deserve well of their country.
I have the honor to be, &c., EDWARD B. COLHOUN, Acting Lieutenant commanding.
To: Flag-Officer L. M. GOLDSBOROUGH, Commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
UNITED STATES STEAMER SOUTHFIELD, Croaton Sound, February 10, 1862.
SIR: In obedience to your order of this day, I have the honor to state that the United States steamer Southfield, under my command, and honored by your presence and flag, opened fire on the rebel fleet, between Weir’s Point and Pork Point, and on the fort at Pork Point at 11.30 a. m., on the 7th instant. We continued firing until sundown, when you gave the order to cease firing, and we came to an anchor in 11 feet. As you were on (leek during the whole of the engagement, it will be unnecessary for me to particularize. Officers and crew behaved well and coolly. Allow me to call your attention to the valuable services rendered by Acting Master Richard Vevers, my executive officer, who had. charge of the forward division of guns, and contributed largely to the efficiency of the 100-pound Parrott rifle and No. 2 9-inch shell gun.
The captains of both these guns showed coolness and skill, and made some splendid. shooting. Their names are John Johnson and. Charles Coleman. Acting Master’s Mate W. F. Pratt, who had charge of the after division and directed all the firing there, deserves much praise. We had, as gun’s crew, 17 men of the 9th New Jersey regiment, who behaved remarkably well, considering that they were not used to the handling of large guns. Mr. Pratt made excellent shots, whenever he could get the range clear of other vessels. In fact, I believe we never fired a shot over or near any of our own vessels, and the Southfield being very long, and often very near the bottom, made her very difficult to manage.
Mr. Hayes, acting master and pilot, rendered me very valuable assistance.
On the 8th we commenced firing on the fort again at 9.20 a. m., by your orders. Came to an anchor immediately after, in 10 feet of water, and stopped there till you left us at 6 p. m., when the Philadelphia came alongside. We met with no casualties, and had only one shot—a 32-pounder—pass through our upper works, and that was about 5 p. m., on the 7th, when we were in range of the Hunchback, which was at anchor with a spring on her cable. We have received no injury and have been ready for service all the time. The slight damage done to the upper works was repaired by a gang of carpenters kindly sent by you on the 9th. Annexed please find account of ammunition received, expended, and on hand.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant, CHARLES F. W. BEHM, Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Commanding.
To: Flag-Officer L. M. G0LDSBOR0UGH.
UNITED STATES STEAMER MORSE, Off Roanoke Island, February 11, 1862.
SIR: In obedience to your order of the 10th instant, I have the honor to submit herewith the following report of the operations of this vessel during the engagement on the 7th instant.
At 11.30 a. in. i approached the shore to within about 1,500 yards, and opened fire with 15” shells upon the enemy’s steamers, disabling the steamer Curlew. About the same time I commenced firing with 10” and 5” shells upon the battery on Pork Point, but finding that the latter exploded short of the battery, I ran in near enough to do execution. I then continued. firing until my shell were all expended. At 4.30 p. in. signaled to the flag-ship my want of shell, whereupon Captain Case ordered me to withdraw and anchor for the night.
I have to report the loss of one man—Eli Holden, (seaman,) of New Bedford, Massachusetts—during the engagement. The vessel, although struck by shot and shell, sustained no material injury. It affords me great pleasure to call your attention to the brave and gallant conduct of my officers and crew during the whole engagement.
I herewith enclose a report of ammunition expended.
I am, sir, very respectfully, &c., PETER HAYES, Acting Master Commanding.
To: Flag-Officer L. M. G0LDSBOR0UGH, Commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
UNITED STATES STEAMER WHITEHEAD, Of Roanoke Isand, February 9, 1862.
Sin: I engaged the battery on the 7th instant, at 12 m., and kept up a continual fire till 5.45 p. m., at the distance of 1,500 yards, throwing shell effectively. I expended during the time ninety-eight shell, and am happy to say no casualties occurred.
My officers and men merit my warmest thanks for their promptness during the action, particularly T. W. Cook, paymaster’s clerk, who rendered important aid in attending to the signals.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, CHARLES A. FRENCH, Acting Master Commanding.
To: Commander S. C. ROWAN, Commanding Naval Flotilla, Pamlico and Albemarle Sound.
UNITED STATES STEAMER LOCKWOOD, Elizabeth City, N. C., February 12, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to forward the following report of the action at Roanoke island on the 7th instant:
Commenced the engagement at 12 m.; and continued it until six p. m, without any casualties. Total expenditure of ammunition: 86 rounds 12-pounder; 62 rounds 8O-pounder. Resumed the action with the enemy’s battery at nine a. m. on the 8th instant, which lasted about 45 minutes. No casualties. Expended eight rounds 8O-pounder ammunition. I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of the officers and men under my command.
Very respectfully, &c., G. W. GRAVES, Acting Master Commanding.
To: Lieutenant Commanding ALEX. MURRAY, Commanding second column.
UNITED STATES STEAMER HENRY BRINKER, Of Roanoke Island, February 8, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by the vessel under my command in the action off Roanoke island on the 7th and 8th instant:
Entered the engagement of Pork Point battery at 12 m., and continued it until 3.20 p. m., when we were obliged to haul off for want of ammunition.
On the 8th, at 12 m., joined the fleet under command of Lieutenant Commanding Jeffers, and succeeded in forcing the barricade. I take pleasure in saying that my officers and crew all behaved with the utmost gallantry and coolness. No casualties occurred, and my vessel was not injured by the enemy’s fire. Ammunition expended, 89 rounds.
I have the honor to be, &e,, JNO. E. GIDDINGS, Acting Master Commanding.
To: Flag-Officer L. M. GOLDSIIOROTJGH, Commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
UNITED STATES STEAMER J. N. SEYMOUR, Croatan Sound, February 16, 1862.
Sin: In obedience to your orders of the 10th instant, I herein have the honor to report the amount of ammunition expended, together with the casualties on board this vessel during the action of the 7th and 8th instants.
At 11 o’clock and 40 minutes n. m. took a position within one and a half miles of the lower battery on Roanoke island. I opened fire with both bow and stern guns, using percussion shell from Parrott gun, and shot and shell alternately in rifled howitzer directing my fire wholly at the barbette guns on the southern extremity of the battery, keeping up a continuous fire until 5.30 p. m., when, finding our ammunition to be reduced to 23 rounds, having expended 91 rounds from 30-pounder Parrott, and 112 from rifled howitzer, I hauled off to procure a fresh supply, being detained until dark in obtaining the same, by which time the firing on both sides had ceased. My boat, in company with others, was ordered on picket duty near the barricade, extending across the sound from Roanoke island to the main land.
I regret to add that Mr. Stephen Mealius, head engineer, was dangerously wounded in the hip, and Wm. Singleton, powder man, instantly killed by the enemy’s shot during the afternoon. No damage was done to the vessel, if I except the joiner-work and windows broken by the concussion of our own guns, and a hawser cut in two by an enemy’s shot.
Saturday, the 8th instant, at 8.40 a. m. got under way and ran down to within 1,500 yards of the battery, returning the enemy’s fire, completely silencing for the time the three barbette guns before mentioned. At 10.55 a. m. a signal from the flag-ship to cease firing. Hauled off and anchored.
Very respectfully, &c., F. S. WELLS, Acting Master Commanding.
To: Flag-Officer L. M. GOLDSBOROUGH, Commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
UNITED STATES STEAMER CERES, Of Roanoke Island, February 15, 1862.
Sin: In obedience to your order of the 10th instant, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this vessel on the 7th and 8th instants, at the attack on Roanoke island:
About 10.45 a. m., the Ceres in advance of the right column, I received permission from Commander S. C. Rowan to open fire with my rifled Parrott 30-pounder. I immediately commenced firing; found the first shot fell short, and moved closer up, until I got within range of the enemy’s steamers. At 11 a. m. commenced firing at the enemy’s steamers with the rifled 30-pounder. At two p. in. stood in toward the fort, until I found I was within range for the 32-pounder shell gun; commenced firing with the 32-pounder on the fort, and firing on the enemy’s steamers with the rifled gun.
At four p. m. R. M. Coleman, master’s mate, in command of the 32-pounder, and Alex. Hand, first loader, were slightly wounded by the premature discharge of the gun, resulting from the improper serving of the vent. Ran alongside United States steamer Stars and Stripes, and had their wounds dressed; from thence went alongside store schooner Howard and received 65 32-pounder shells and two barrels of powder; ran in under the guns of the fort again, and again commenced firing as before on the fort and steamers. At five p. in. a shell from the enemy struck on the upper deck, splitting one of the beams, going through the lower deck, bursting under the boiler, and carrying away one of the grates of the furnace. About sundown signal was made, “ cease firing.” Stood out and came to an anchor.
Very respectfully, &c., JOHN. McDIARMID, Acting Master Commanding.
To: Flag-Officer L. M. GOLDSBOROUGH, Commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
UNITED STATES STEAMER GEN. PUTNAM, Croatan Sound, February 14, 1862.
SIR: In obedience to your order of the 10th instant, I have the honor to submit the following report of our engagement with the enemy on the 7th and 8th instant:
After 12 o’clock m. of the 7th I steamed up to the right of the squadron and commenced firing upon the battery with my 20-pounder Parrott gun, using shrapnel with twenty second fuses, bursting them directly over the battery. kept approaching the battery and steadily firing, changing the fuse to fifteen seconds, then to ten seconds, and to five seconds, until within 700 yards of the battery; then with broadside to, keeping the boat in motion. I commenced firing shot and shell from our 32-pounder, directing my fire at the enemy’s guns, continuing a steady fire from both guns until half-past five o’clock p. m. The shots from the enemy’s battery passed to the right and left, but mostly over our heads. For about one hour we received a cross-fire from the rebel steamers on our left. We were once on fire near the machinery, on the hurricane deck, but it was soon extinguished and but little damage done.
My powder being expended, I reported to the commander-in-chief, who ordered me to the schooner Howard for a supply. During the night we made 100 cartridge-bags; on the morning of the 8th we filled them and started, in company with the Underwriter and several other boats, to pass the blockade of sunken vessels. The battery opened fire upon us, which we replied to for nearly one hour, when we were recalled. Through the whole engagement I am thankful to say that no one was hurt on board this vessel.
I take great pleasure in saying that the officers and men under my command pointed the guns with great precision, doing much credit to themselves and honor to that glorious flag which waves so proudly over us.
I am, sir, very respectfully, &c., WILLIAM J. HOTCHKISS, Acting Master Commanding.
To: Flag-Officer L. M. GOLDSBOROUGH, Commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
UNITED STATES STEAMER SHAWSHEEN, Of Roanoke Island, February 17, 1362.
SIR: In obedience to your order, I have the honor to submit to you the following report of the part taken by this steamer in the bombardment of Roanoke island, on the 7th and 8th instant:
On the 7th instant, at 1145 a. m., our first shell was fired, which fell short of the battery. Stood in until within good range, when we took a position on the front wing and engaged the battery, firing alternately from both rifled guns This position was maintained until sunset, when the signal was made on board the flag-ship to cease firing, we having received no material injury throughout the action. I have only to add that I was ably sustained by all the officers and crew under my command.
After dark I was ordered to take a position in advance of the fleet to watch any movements of the enemy which might take place through the night. Nothing occurring worthy of note, at 8.30 a. m., 8th instant, I was ordered to make another attack on the battery, which attack lasted for an hour, when signal was made to cease fieing and all the gunboats engaged retired without our receiving any damage. I expended, throughout the engagement, S2 rounds of ammunition. Having no shot, shell were used altogether.
I am, sir, very respectfully, &c., THOMAS J. WOODWARD, Acting Master, Commanding.
To. Flag-Officer L. M. GOLDSBOROUGH, Commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
UNITED STATES SLOOP GRANITE, Croatan Sound, February 11, 1862.
SIR: I would respectfully report that during the action of the 7th and 8th instant I expended 26 five-second and 4 ten-second shells, and 16 solid shot, and 468 pounds charges.
Casualties none; injured none.
I am, very respectfully, &c., E. BOONIER, Acting Master’s Mate, Commanding.
To: Flag-Officer L. M. GOLDSBOROUGH.
UNITED STATES STEAMER HUNCHBACK, Of Roanoke Island, N. C., February 10, 1862.
Sin: In obedience to your order of the 10th instant, I now submit to you a detailed account of the operations of my battery during the engagement with the rebels on Roanoke island, February 8, 1862.
The officers of the battery were as follows: Acting Master Charles Daniels, of the United States steamer Hetzel; Lieutenants Tillotson and Hughes, of the Union coast guard; Flag-Officer’s Clerk Edward P. Meeker, flag-ship Philadelphia; Acting Master’s Mate J. B. Hammond, United States steamer Delaware; Acting Master’s Mate Walter Griffith, United States steamer Underwriter. At 4.30 p. in., February 7, the signal was made to land the troops, and Brigadier General Burnside ordered me to proceed to .Ashby’s Cove and report to General Reno.
This I immediately did, and was ordered by him to disembark the pieces. As Boon as they were lauded I formed them in “columns of pieces,” and advanced inland to the fork of the road. Here I stationed two of the pieces; two
the remaining pieces I stationed about half a mile in advance on the left fork, and the other two about the same distance in advance on the right fork. Here we remained until 7 a. m., February 8, when General Foster came up with his brigade to make the advance, and ordered me to follow on after the 25th regiment Massachusetts volunteers.
We immediately manned the drag-ropes and advanced about two miles, when I received an order from General Foster to bring the battery forward as fast as possible. I now gave the order “Forward, double quick,” and we soon sighted the rebel battery, which was situated so as to rake a road which crossed the one upon which we were advancing at right angles, and was flanked on either side by a very thick swamp. As soon as I saw the enemy’s fortification I halted and formed the pieces “side battery,” with three pieces in the road upon which we were advancing and three on the right of it, and opened fire on the enemy with grape and shell from the rifled guns, and canister, shrapnel, and shell from the smooth bore, doing good execution amongst the reserve in the rear of their battery.
As I had received orders to keep the artillery on a line with the infantry, I advanced the pieces after each fire until they were in the open space directly in front of the rebel battery, where we made a stand under a most destructive fire from the rebel infantry. The men, however, worked the guns with great coolne s and determination until all but ten rounds for each piece had been fired, whn, as my orders were to reserve that number of rounds, I ceased firing for a short time, but commenced again firing once every two minutes to scatter the enemy’s reserve.
We had been firing about three and a half hours when the fortification was stormed, and the rebels retreated towards Weir’s Point. As soon as we reached the rebel battery we started on for Weir’s Point, but after marching with the artillery about two miles we met General Foster, who told us that the enemy had surrendered, and that we should not be wanted any more. I therefore started on again for the Point, and the next morning embarked the battery and returned to the flotilla.
All praise is due my officers and men for their bravery and the alacrity and coolness with which they executed all of my orders. I particularly recommend to your notice Acting Master’s Mate J. B. Hammond, of the United States steamer Delaware, who, by his coolness and intrepidity, elicited my warmest praise. I would also recommend to your notice Lieutenants Tillotson and Hughes, Union coast guard, who served their pieces in the most gallant manner throughout the action.
I now most respectfully submit the above report to your consideration, hoping that the operations may meet with your approval. I am very sorry to report the following casualties in my battery:
Killed.—John McCoy and John Doyle, privates in Union coast guard;James Herbert, private, 9th regiment New Jersey volunteers.
Wounded.—_William Miller, private, 9th regiment New Jersey volunteers, seriously; John Saddler, private, Union coast guard, seriously; Nathan Stanford, and David Lloyd, privates, Union coast guard, slightly; Benjamin Clinton, private, 9th regiment New Jersey volunteers, slightly.
Respectfully submitted, BENJAMIN H. PORTER, Mids1tiprnan UNITED STATES NAVY.
To: Flag-Officer L. M. GOLDSBOROUGH.
Killed.—Charles Harris, acting master’s mate.
Wounded.—Charles Clark, boatswain’s mate, severely rrully McIntyre, seaman, slightly; Joseph N. Ingersoll, ordinary seaman, severely; William Smith, ordinary seaman, severely; Henry Bryant, ordinary seaman, slightly; Henry P. £hompson, coal-heaver, slightly.
UNITED STATES STEAMER SEYMOUR.
Killed.—John Singleton, coal-heaver.
Wounded.—Stephen Mealius, acting assistant engineer, severely.
UNITED STATES STEAMER MORSE.
Killed.—Eli Holden, seaman.
UNITED STATES STEAMER CERES.
Wounded.—R. M. Coleman, acting master’s mate, slightly; Alexander Hand, ordinary seaman, severely.
UNITED STATES STEAMER COMMODORE PERRY.
Wounded .—Andrew Horton, private company 1), 4th regiment Rhode Island volunteers, severely.
UNITED STATES STEAMER SOUTHFIELD.
Wounded.—Rufus Joy, signal quartermaster, slightly.
MIDSHIPMAN PORTER’S HOWITZER BATTERY, ENGAGED ON ROANOKE ISLAND.
Killed.—John McCoy, private, Union coast guard; John Doyle, private Union coast guard; James Herbert, private, 9th regiment N. J. volunteers.
Wounded—John Saddler, private, Union coast guard, severely; James Jackson, private, Union coast guard. severely; David Lloyd, private, Union coast guard, slightly; Nathan Stanford, private, Union coast guard, slightly; Benjamin Clinton, private, 9th regiment New Jersey volunteers, slightly; William Miller, private, 9th regiment New Jersey volunteers, severely.
Missing.—Manning Lyons, private, 9th regiment New Jersey volunteers; Nathan Buckley, private, 9th regiment New Jersey volunteers.
Recapitulation.—.Killed, 6; wounded, 17; missing, 2.
U. S. FLAG-STEAMER PHILADELPHIA, Off Roanoke Island, N. C., February 12, 1862.
Sin: I have this day released on parole the undermentioned individuals, recently serving in the confederate navy, and captured by vessels belonging to the navy of the United States. Each has signed a paper worded as follows:
“OFF ROANOKE ISLAND NORTH CAROLINA, On board U. S. vessel-of-war, February 12, 1862.”
“Belonging to the confederate States navy, and held as a prisoner of war by the authorities of the United States, I, understanding that this paper is intended to release me an parole, do hereby pledge my sacred honor that, until duly exchanged, I will neither take up arms against the United States, serve against them in any manner or way, nor divulge, to their prejudice, anything I may have heard or seen during my captivity.”
Their names and rank are—
J. W. Cooke, lieutenant commanding; J. W. B. Greenhow, surgeon; P. McCarrick, master commanding; Jerry Bowden, colored boy; Stephen Beasley, seaman; Thomas T. Baum, ordinary seaman; Eames Williams, landsman; John rrhornton ordinary seaman; James Barnett, seaman; Iowa Gregory, ordinary seaman; Elias Williams, seaman; James A. Peters, midshipman; J. P. Wohmsley, third assistant engineer; George Livingston, captain’s clerk; Jas. LeCarrick, master’s mate; John W. Young, seaman; J. W. Ballance, landsman; John W. Phillips, quartermaster; Thomas Johnston, gunner’s mate; John A. Wilson, seaman; William Mara, second class fireman; James T. Sullivan, ordinary seaman; J. J. Henderson, third assistant engineer; Junius Ranks, third. assistant engineer; Reuben Willis, pilot; Joseph F. Weaver, carpenter; Alfred Reid, officer’s cook; Josiah W. Butt, quartermaster; Edwin T. H. Jones, carpenter’s mate; John W. Horton, ship’s cook; George W. Dowdy, seaman; Jas. L. Day, seaman; William H. Scruggs, second lieutenant, company D. artillery corps, Wise legion.
I take it for granted that all of the above obligations, under which they have voluntarily placed themselves, will be religiously observed; and that no countenance whatever will be given to them from any quarter to do otherwise.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, L. M. GOLDSBOROUGH, Flag-Officer commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
To: Major General BENJAMIN HUGER, Commanding Department, &c., Norfolk, Va.