Horace Greeley.

The American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 online

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ing through Murfreesboro', Shelby-
ville, Fayetteville, to Huntsville,
Ala., which he surprised at day-
light," capturing 17 locomotives and
a large numb^ of passenger and
freight-cars, beside a train which he



had taken, with 159 prisoners, two
hours before. Thus provided, he had
uncontested possession of 100 miles
of the Memphis and Charleston road
before night, or from Stevenson on
the east to Decatur on the west;
seizing five more locomotives at Ste-
venson, and pushing on so far west
as Tuscumbia, whence he sent an
expedition so far south as Busselville,
Ala., capturing and appropriating
Confederate property on all hands,
without the loss of a life. He took^
Bridgeport, Ala., with a force of five
regiments, by striking rapidly and
attacking from a quarter whence he
was not looked for, driving out a
force nearly equal in number to his
own, with a loss of 72 killed and
wounded, 350 prisoners, and 2 guns ;
while his own loss was inconsiderable.
He was soon compelled, by the gath-
ering of Bebel forces around him, to
abandon Tuscumbia and all south
of the Tennessee, burning the railroad
bridges at Decatur and Bridgeport,
but holding firmly and peaceably all
of Alabama north of that river. Had
he been even moderately reenforced,
he would have struck and probably
could have destroyed the great Bebel
armories and founderies in Georgia,
or have captured Chattanooga; which
was assailed," imder his orders, by
Qen. Negley, who was driven off by
a Bebel force under Gen. E. Kirby
Smith. Mitchel's activity and energy
poorly qualified him for a subordinate
position under Buell ; so hejras trans-
ferred, in June, to die command at
Port Boyal, S. C, where he died.^
Gen. Halleck was likewise sunmion*
ed'* from the West to serve as G^n*
eral-in-C3iief at Washington, leaving
G^n. Grant in command at Corinth.



•Aprils '•April2». '*Jun6«.



^•0ct.ao.



'•JuljrJ3.*



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QES. BU&NSIDB AT HATTBBA8 IKLET.



78



IV.



BTJENSIDE IN NOETH CAROLINA.



Gsir. Ambbobs £. BuiofrsiDB and
C(Mn. L. M. GoldBborough led an
expedition, which had in good part
been fitted ont in New York, and
which left Fortress Monroe at the
opening of the year;^ and, donb-
ling Cape Henry, moved southward
to Hatteras Inlet, whose defenses had
been qnietly held by our troops since
their capture by Qen. Butler and
Com. Stringham five months before/
The naval part of this expedition con-
sisted of 31 st!bam gunboats, mounts
ing 94 guns; the military of arbout
11,500 m^ mainly fixwn New Eng-
land, organized in three brigades, un-
der Gens. Foster, Bono, and Parke,
and embarked with their material on
some 30 to 40 steam transports. The
van of the expedition reached the
entrance of the Inlet on the 13th ;
when it was found that, though care
had been taken to select or obtain
gunboats of such draft as could read-
ily be worked over the bar at high
water, yet a large proportion of the
transports, through the incompetence
or dishonesty of those employed to
procure them, were of such draft as
rendered them totally unfit for this
servioe. Of these, the propeller Gty
of New York, 600 tons, heavily laden
with rifles, ammunition, tents, bed-
ding, and forage, and drawing 16 feet
water, when the greatest depth attain-
aUe on the bar was but 13, grounded,
of oourse, in attempting to. pass it;*
when the sea broke ocxnpletely over
her stem, every breaker lifting her,
and cauaing her, as it subsided, to set-



tle stiU deeper in the sand, until she
became a perfect wreck — ^her masts
and smoke-stack cut away, her crew,
with life-preservers tied about them,
lashed to the rigging to save them-
selves from being washed overboard
by each succeeding billow; and at
last, after an endurance of 12 to 15
hours, the raging sea b^an to lift
the deck from the hull with every
surge. Ere this, her fires had been
extinguished, her boats, all but one,
filled or stove, and her men utterly
exhausted by long fasting and expo-
sure to the cold waves which broke
over them continually ; while no at-
tention was paid from the fieet to
their signal of distress, or even their
hail to the S. K. Spaulding, which
passed out to sea. At length, two
mechanics, W. H. and Charles A.
Beach, of Newark, N. J., launched
the yawl, and, aided by engineer
Wm. Miller, steward Oteo. Mason,
and Hugh McCabe, fireman, pulled
Buccesrfiilly through the surf, over the
bar, to the fleet, whence boats were
at once dispatched to take off the re-
mainder of the crew, who were speed-
ily rescued. The vessel and cargo
were totally lost ; as were the steam
gunboat Zouave, the transports Lou-
isiana and Pocahontas, and two or
three others. Col. J. W. Allen and
Surgeon S. F. Weller, 9th New Je^
sey, were drowned* by the upsetting
of their small boat in the breakers, as
they returned to the transport Ann
£. Thompson from reporting the ar-
rival of their regiment to Gten. Bum-



> Jan. 11-12, 1862.



" fie© VoL L, p. 6M.



* Jan. 13.



* Jan. 16.



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74



THS AXBEIOAH dONFLIOT.



side. The National loss in precions
time, as well as life and property, by
the villainy which pabned off on the
Government vessels totally unfit for
this service, can hardly be overesti-
mated. Two or three weeks of des-
perately hard work were expended
on ^tting over snch of the craft as
were not wrecked; giving the alarmed
Bebels the amplest time to concen-
trate and fortify.

At length, every thing being in'
readiness, onr fleet moved slowly up
Pamlico and Qroatan Sonnds;* the
gonboats in advance and on the
flanks of the transports, formed in
three columns, each headed by its flag-
ship, every large steamer having one
or two schooners in tow, with the
spaces between the columns kept
carefully clear, and all moving at the
regulated pace of four miles per hour.
The fleet consisted in all of 65 ves-
sels, covering a space about two
miles square; some 50 transports,
mainly schooners, having been left
at the Inlet The day was beautiful ;
the distance made about 28 miles,
when they halted, near sunset, still
10 miles from the southern point of
BoANOKB Island, and lay uni^turbed
through the bright, moonlit night.

At 8 A. M., the signal to weigh an-
chor was given. At 11, progress was
arrested, near the south point, by a
storm ; and the fleet again lay at an-
chor till next morning, when, at 10
A. M., the order was given to move
forward, and the gunboats led the
way through the narrow passage
known as Boanoke Inlet, into Croa-
tan Sound, driving 7 Bebel gunboats
before them. At noon, our gunboats
were under fire of the chief Eebel
battery on the Island, known as Fort



Bartow, when the Bebel gunboats
halted and added their fire to that
of the fort A line of piles driven
aerooB the channd was evidently ex-
pected to obstruct our advance, but
proved inadequate. So(m, our soldier-
crowded transports were seen swann-
ing through tiie Inlet, and prepara-
tibns were made for landing at
Aahby's Harbor, two miles bdow
the fort, which had now been set on
fire hy our shelli. The fiames were
soon checked, however, and the can-
nonade on bodi sides continued; while
the Bebel gunboats, which had re-
treated up ^ Sound, again appeared
and engaged our fieet, till the Cur-
lew, their fiagnahip, wki^ struck by a
100-pound shell from the Southfield,
and soon enveloped in fiamea The
firing was ccmtinued on both sides till
night, without serious loss in men on
eiSier. The Bebel barracks in the
rear of <he fort were destroyed by
fire, and their remaining gunboats
compelled to withdraw from the con-
test All our transports had passed
through the Inlet and ^ch<H^ by 4
p. M., when debarkation commenced
under the fire of our gunboats ; and
7,500 men were ashore, and most of
them in bivouac, before 11 p. x.

The Bebel forces in that region
were commanded by Brig.-Qen.
Henry A. Wise,* whose headquar-
ters were at Nag's Head, across
Boanoke Sound, and whose f(m)es
numbered from 8,000 to 4,000; but
hardly 1,000 of them were on the
Island prior to the approach of our
fleet, when reenforoements were hur-
ried over^ raising the number of its
defenders to about 8,000. OoLShaw,
8th North Carolina, was in immedi-
ate command. Fort Bartow, othe^



* Pebruary 6.



* Ez-Qo7emor of Yirginia.



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ATTACK ON BOAKQKB ISLAKD.



n



me P(»rk Foiat batteiy, wm a sob-
gtantial earthwork, Btrengthened by
abatis and a moat, and maantii^
10 gims ; battery Huger, on Weir's
Point, farther north| had likewise
10 gOBs; battery Blanchard, mid-
way, but 4. The swampy nature of
the approaches, covered with thick-
ets of shrobe and bnshes, was counted
on to bar access to Fort Bartow^save
hy a causeway road completely com-
manded by its fire^



After crouching through a rainy
night, some of them in miry bogs,
our soldiers were formed and led on
at an early hour of the morning/ A
large portion of the Bebel force was
deployed as skirmishers, and contest* ^
ed our floundering advance througih
the bog with q>irit and effect until
near 10 a. k., when our leading regi^
ments were diose under the fire of the
fort. They had by this time found it
impossible to obey the orders which




A L B £ MA H L E



BOAHOU ISLAKIK



' Saturday, February 8.



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76



THE AMBEIOAN OONPLIOT.



directed them to flank the enemy on
either side of the swamp — ^the abatis
proving at most places impassable;
and it was resolved to chai^ over
the causeway directly in firont. This
was done by the 9th New York
(Zonaves), Col. Bush C. Hawkins,
the 51st, Col. Edward Ferrero, the
23d Massachusetts, CoL John Eurtz,
and 21st, Lt.-Col. A. 0. Maggi. The
25th and 27th Massachusetts, and
10th Connecticut, Col. Eussell, were
honorably distinguished in the at-
tack. Col. S. was killed ; as was Lt.-
CoL Viguier de Monteuil, 53d New
York, who was serving as a volun-
teer with Hawkins's Zouaves. Lying
down to receive a fire of grape from
the Sebel batteries, part of the 51st
New York, with Hawkins's Zouaves
and the 21st Massachusetts, instantly
rose and rushed over the Bebel breast-
works, chasing out their defenders
and following them in their retreat ;
securing, by their impetuosity, the
capture of the larger number, as no
time was given for their escape from
the Island. Their loss in killed and
wounded was but 55; but among the
former were Capt. O. J. Wise, son of
the Gleneral, and other valuable offi-
cers; while their loss in prisoners was
not far from 2,700, including Cols.
Shaw and Jordan, Lt-Cols. Fowle
and Price, Majors Fill, Yates, and
Williamson. Our loss in the bom-
bardment and assault was about 50
killed and 250 wounded. All the
cannon, small arms, munitions, pro-
visions, etc., on the Island, were
among the spoils of victory.

Com. Bowan, with 14 gunboats,
was dispatched next evening up
Albemarle Sound and Pasquotank
river in pursuit of the Bebel gun-



boats. He found them, 7 in number,
at Elizabeth City; where, after a
smart fight, they were set on fire by
their crews and abandoned. One of
them was captured, the others de-
stroyed. The city itself was likewise
set on fire, and in good part de-
stroyed. Four of the gunboats were
sent thence to Edenton, on the west
end of Albemarle Sound, where eight
cannon and a schooner were de-
stroyed, and* two schooners, with
4,000 bushels of com, captured.

Com. Rowan's fiotilla next moved*
five miles up the Chowan river to
Winton, Hereford county, upon as-
surances that its citizens wished to
return to and be protected by the
Union. Their reception was even
warmer than they had expected. On
reaching the town, they were saluted
by a hailstorm of bullets, which con-
strained them to fall down the river
for the night; returning next morn-
ing, the vUlage was shelled by them
imtiL abandoned, and then burnt
' Gen. Bumside next concentrated
his forces at Hatteras Inlet, for an
attack on Newbern, at the junction
of the Neuse and Trent rivers, near
Pamlico Sound, and the most im-
portant seaport of North Carolina.
Com. Goldsborough having been re-
lieved, Conunander Bowan directed
the fieet. Leaving Hatteras in the
morning,* the expedition came to
about sunset at Slocum's creek, on
the south side of the river, 18 miles
below Newbem, where a landing
was effected next morning, and the
troops pushed forward, so fast as
ready, to within a mile and a half of
the Bebel defenses; the gunboats
moving up the river in advance of
the troops, and shelling the road



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BUBNSIDB ADYANOBS UPON KBWBEBN.



77



whereon they marched. "So resist-
anee was encoimtered by land ; but
die fleet found the channel of the
Neuse obstructed, half way up, by
24 vessels sunk in the channel, sey-
eral torpedoes, and a number of iron-
pointed spars firmly planted in the
bed and inclined down stream, under
water, after the manner of the snags
of the Mississippi. These obstruc-
tions were speedily removed or sur-
mounted ; while two or three batteries
along the bank were successively
silenced by a few shots from our flag-
ship Delaware. The fleet halted for
the night nearly abreast of the army ;
which had had a hard day's work,
drawing its gxms through the deep
clay of the roads, sodden with several
days' rain ; and the men sank on the
ground at night around their pitch-
pine fires to enjoy a drenching from
the freshly pouring skies.

A dense fog covered land and
water next morning,*" as our fieet,
having safely passed the obstructions,
steamed up past Forts Thompson and
Ellis ; which, after firing a few shots,
were hastily evacuated, a shell from
one of the gunboats having exploded
the magazine of the latter. Fort
Lane, the last and strongest defense
of Newbem on the water, was more
carefully approached, in expectation
of a sanguinary struggle; but it had
by this time been likewise evacuated,
in deference to the successes of our
army ; and our fleet steamed directly
up to the wharves, shelling the d^p6t
and track whereby the Rebels were
escaping from the city.

The Rebel defenses consisted of a
well constructed breastwork, running
a mile and a half from the Neuse
across the railroad to an impenetra-



ble swamp which connects Newborn
with Morehead City, with a battery
of 18 heavy guns next the river,
several redoubts, all of them well
moxmted, 3 batteries of field artil-
lery, and 8 raiments of infantry,
numbOTing about 5,000 men, com-
manded by Gen. Louis O'B. Branch.
Our guns were few and light, be-
cause of the difficulty of landing and
dragging heavier.



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Gen. Bumside was on the alert at
6 A. M., and by 7 had his forces in
motion. Moving up to within short
range of the enemy's intrenchments,
his men were formed in order of bat-
tle, and opened fire along their en-
tire front ; the ground being swampy
on the left, and elsewhere cut up by



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78



THB AXBBIOAH CONFLIOIT.



gnlUeB and ravinefl which opened
toward the enemy, affording no pro-
tection jfrom hifl fire. The naval bat-
tery was in onr center, Gen. Reno's
brigade on the right, Gen. Parke's in
the center, and Gen. Foster's on the
left; and the regiments most effective
at Boanoke were all honorably dis-
tingnished here, as were the 4th and
6th Rhode Island, the 8th and 11th
Connecticut, 9th New Jersey, and
61st Pennsylvania. There was, of
course, a great disparity of numbers
— ^probably three to one — ^but this
was in effect a contest wherein infan-
try were required to charge and carry
strong intrenchments, well provided
with artillery. The loss was naturally
much the greater on our side. Af-
ter an hour's sharp fighting, the 21st
Hassachusetts, Col. Clark, accom-
panied by Gen. Reno, was ordered
forward on a double-quick, and went
over the Rebel breastworks. It was
immediately charged by two Rebel
r^ments, and repulsed; when Capt.
Eraser, being wounded, was taken
prisoner, but soon captured his guard
and escaped. The 4th l^iode Island,
disliking its position in front of a
Rebel battery of 6 guns, well backed
by a fire ftom rifle-pits, next at-
tempted a charge, and carried the
battery at double-quick ; finding an
entrance between a brick-yard and
the parapet. Once inside, the Colonel
formed his right wing in line, and
charged down upon the guns at full
speed, capturing the entire battery,
routing its supports, and planting hJs
flag on the parapet. The 6th Rhode
Island and 8th and 11th Connecticut
immediately rushing up, our triumph
at that point was secure.

Gen. Reno, on our right, seeing
that he was losing heavily firom the



Rebel battery in his front, called up
his reserve regiment, the 5l8t Penn-
sylvania, CoL EEartranft, and ordered
a charge, in which the 2l8t and 24th
Massachusetts, 6lBt New York, and
9th New Jersey participated. Its
success was complete ; and the whole
line of Rebel works was very soon in
our hands.

The enemy were now in full flight ;
and Gen. Bumside ordered an ad-
vance on their track, which was led
by Gen. Foster ; but the speed of the
fugitives was inimitable, and, when
our van reached the bank of the
Trent, opposite Newbem, they found
that city on fire in seven different
places ; the splendid railroad bridge
over the Trent a sheet of fiame, hav-
ing been fired by a scow-load of tur-
pentine, drifted against it; and the
Rebel troops, with all the locomotives
and cars in and about Newbem, on
their way inland toward Goldsboro'.
The wind suddenly lulling, the fires
were soon extinguished by sailors
from our fleet; but the railroad
bridge, market-house, and about a
dozen other structures, were burned.
Our captures at the Rebel intrench-
ments and in the city included 69
cannon, two steamboats, large quan-
tities of munitions and stores, with
some 500 prisoners. Our total loss
was about 100 killed and 500 wound-
ed: the former including Lt.-Col.
Henry Merritt, 23d Massachusetts,
Adjt. Frazer A. Steams, of the 21st,
Maj. Charles W. Le Gendre and
Capt. D. R. Johnson, of the 5lBt,
and Capt. Charles Tillinghast, of the
4th Rhode Island. The Rebel loss,
beside prisoners, hardly exceeded
200, including Maj. Carmichael,
killed, and CoL Avery, captured.

Gen. Bumside, having undisturbed



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70BT KAOON TAKIH— FIGHT IfBAB SOUTH ICILLS.



n



foeBem<m of Kewbeni, wmt Gen.
Parlra" with his brigade, 3,500 s^ng,
aoothweetward to the eoast, where
he ooenpied^ Morehead City with-
out reBifltanoe; as also the more im-
portant Tillage of Beaufort, across
the inlet known as Newport river;
and proceeded to invest FoBrMAOoisr,
a regular fortress of great cost and
strength, seized bj Gk)v. Ellis before
the secession of the State.^ This
work stands on an kland, or rather
oeean sand-bank, whence it looks off
on the broad Atlantic, and com-
mands the entrance to tlie Kewport
rirer. It is approached from the
land with much difficulty, but was
soon invested, and a regolar siege
eommenced,** its pickets driven in,
and a good position for siege-gmis
oibtained within fair distance, while
the fleet menaced it <m the side of
the oeean. All being at length in
readiness, fire was opened'* from a
breaching battery at 1,100 feet dis-
tance, with flanking mortars behind
BUid-banks at 1,400 yards ; the fleet
also, consisting of ' three gunboats
and a bark, steamed around in a
dnde, after the fashion inaugurated
by Dupont at Port Boyal, and fired
' as they sev^-ally came opposite the
fort, until the roughness of the sea
compelled them to desist. The land
batteries were kept at worik until
late in the afternoon ; when, 7 of the
garrison being killed, 18 wounded,
and most of the available guns dis-
mounted, CoL White raised the white
flag, and next morning surrendered
his garrison of 500 men, with the
fort and all it contamed F(»rt Ma-
con was among the flrst of the im-
portant f<H*tresses of the old Union,
^diidi, having beffli sdzed by the



Bebels, was repossessed by the Be*
publia

Meantime, Washington, Plymouth,
and some other towns on the coast,
were quietly occupied by our forces,
which ascended the Ohowan river
without serious resistanoe so far as
Wilton.

Geo. Seno was dispatched by
GteiL Bumside from Newbem to
Boanoke Idand, whence his brigade
was conveyed up Albemarle Sound
to within three miles of Elizabeth
Oity, where it was disembarked
daring the night'* and pushed north-
ward, with intent to intercept a
Bebel force known to be about leav-
ing Elizabeth Citj for Norfolk ; but
CoL Hawkins of the 9th New York
(2iOuaves), who had 1^ advance,
mistook his road, and marched ten
miles out of the way ; so that, on
retracing his steps, and gaining the
right road, his men were intensely
fa^tigued, and he in the rear of the
main coliunn. The anticipated sur-
prise proved a foilure; and, at a
point nearly 20 miles inland, within
a mile and a half of South Mills,
our weary, overmarched men, who
had been nearly 24 hours on their
feet, were confit)nted by a leas nu»
merous Bebel force, very strongly
posted in woods flanked by swamps,
and with a large clearing in their
front; upon entering which, they
were saluted by a fire of grape, weU
supported by musketry, whereby a
gallant but rashly ordered charge of
tiie Zouaves was repulsed with con-
siderable loss. The position was
soon flanked by our superior num-
bers, and the Bebels compelled to
draw off, leaving nothmg on the
fleld but a very few dead and*



'^MMKhiO. "IftfohSS. "SmToLL, p. 41L *«Aprilll. >*April26. >*Aprill9.



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80



THB AICBBIOJLN 00N7LICT.



wounded. We lost 15 killed, inclu-
ding Adjutant Ghulsden, of the
Zouaves, and 98 wounded, which
was probably more than the loss of
the Rebels. Qten. Beno gave his
men .six hours' much needed rest
on the battle-field, and then returned
to his boats, being under peremptory
orders to do so. He was obliged to
leave behind 14 of his more severely
wounded. As Oamden Court Hoase
was the only village traversed by
Qen. Eeno on his advance, this en-
gagement has been sometimes desig-
nated the battle of Camden.

By this time, Bumside's division,
which had at no time exceeded
16,000 men, had become so widely
dispersed, and had so many import-
ant points to guard, that its offensive
efficiency was destroyed; and very
little more of moment occurred in
his department, until he was ordered
by telegraph from Washington" to
hasten with all the force he could
collect to Fortress Monroe, where he
arrived three days afterward.

G^n. Foster was left in command
of the department of North Caro-
lina, with a force barely sufficient to
hold the important positions left him
by Gen. Bumside, until late in the
AutmnUj when, having been consid-
erably reenforced by new regiments,
mainly from Massachusetts, he re-
solved to assume the offensive. He
led one expedition from Washington,"
through Williamston to Hamilton,
on the Boanoke, where he expected
to find and destroy some iron-clads
in process of construction ; but there
were none. Pushing thence inland,"
in the direction of Tarboro', he ad-
vanced to within ten miles of that
^ace, expecting to surround and



capture three Bebel regiments who
had there been stationed; but by
this time a fiEur superior Bebel force
had, by means of telegraphs and
railroads, been concentrated at that
point, and he wisely retreated with-
out molestation .or loss, other than
that inflicted by the rain, sleet, and
deep mud through which the retreat
was effected. The liberation of
several hundred slaves was the chief
result of this expedition.

A 'few weeks later, G^d. Foster,
with a considerably larger force — all
that he could collect — set out tram
Newbem** on a march directly in-
land, intending to reach and destroy
the important railroad junction at
Goldsboro'. He encountered no im-
pediments, save from trees felled
across the road, until he reached
South-west creek, where the bridge
had been destroyed, and a regiment
was found posted on the opposite



Online LibraryHorace GreeleyThe American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 → online text (page 10 of 113)