James Brown Gardner.

Massachusetts memorial to her soldiers and sailors who died in the Department of No. Carolina, 1861-1865 online

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MASSACHUSETTS MONUMENT



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MEMORIAL






TO HER



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WHO DIED IN

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1861 - 1865

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DEDICATED AT

c7*EW BERN, cTK). CAROLINA

NOVEMBER 11, 1908



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ASTOR, LENOX AND
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PUBLISHED BY

Gardner & Taplin
boston, mass.

1909



COPYRIGHTED 1909

BY
JAMES B. GARDNER



THE
PUBLIC LIBI



A8TGA, LENOX AND
TILDEN FOUNDATION*.




FIGURE OF "PEACE"

Photographed from Clay Model



Massachusetts Memorial to Her Soldiers and Sailors [ 7 ]



X?fie Reason Why




ANY who were present at the dedication of the
monument erected by the State of Massachu-
setts in the National Cemetery at New Bern
to the memory of her sons who died in the
Department of North Carolina in 1861 — 1865, and also
others who were unable to attend, have expressed a wish
to obtain a picture of the monument and an account of
the ceremonies incident to its dedication.

The balance of the appropriation made by the State,
after defraying the cost of the dedication, being insuffi-
cient to meet the expense of such a record, I decided to
publish an account on my individual responsibility.

It seems not only appropriate, but even requisite, that
such an account should be prefaced with a sketch of the
services performed by Massachusetts troops which induced
the State to erect this monument. Desiring to make this
sketch as complete and as accurate as possible I have con-
sulted various regimental histories and the "Official Rec-
ord"; in addition, proofs were submitted for suggestion
and criticism to at least one representative from each reg-
iment interested, and I believe the chapter contains no
material error.

I hope this little book may be of interest to those who
served in the Department of North Carolina during the
civil war, and can assure my comrades and others if they
derive as much pleasure from its perusal as I have in its
preparation I shall feel amply repaid for my labor.




Secretary Monument Committee
Secretary 44th Mass. Reg't Ass'n






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TABLETS ON SIDES OF MONUMENT




Massachusetts Memorial to Her S tnd Sailors [ 9 ]

Services of Massachusetts Troops

Department of North Carolina

1861 - 1865

as* as*

|N one particular the state of North Carolina is
unique. Although it is called a seaboard state
but a small part of the main land actually borders
on the ocean. A glance at the map shows that
for about two thirds of its eastern boundary, from the Vir-
ginia line southerly, the main land is separated from the
Atlantic by Currituck, Croatan, Pamlico and Core Sounds,
varying in width from five to forty-five miles, and these
are in turn separated from the ocean by a narrow strip of
sand in some places scarcely more than a quarter and sel-
dom over a mile in width.

In addition to those mentioned, Albemarle Sound, a
sheet of water some fifty to sixty miles long and from ten
to twenty wide, runs westward from Croatan. Emptying
into these Sounds are the Chowan, Roanoke, Pamlico, Tar
and Neuse rivers, all of which are navigable to a greater
or less distance for light draft vessels, besides several
others navigable only by small boats.

The sandy strip of land which separates these Sounds
from the Atlantic is broken in several places, called inlets,
which form passages connecting the Sounds with the
ocean. Few however are practicable for any but the
lightest draft vessels, and except at Old Topsail Inlet, just
south of Cape Lookout and which is the entrance to the
harbor of Beaufort, about nine feet is the maximum
depth. These conditions made this an ideal locality for



3. VOL. INFANTRY

MASS. VOL. INFANTRY

MASS, VOL. INFANTRY

MASS. VOL. INFANTRY

'MASS. VOL, INFANTRY

MASS. VOL INFANTRY

>. VOL- AN FAN TRY

3. V ;N FAN TRY

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IDES OF MONUMENT




Massachusetts Memorial to Her Soldiers and Sailors [ 9 ]

Services of Massachusetts Troops

Department of North Carolina

1861 - 1865

'N one particular the state of North Carolina is
unique. Although it is called a seaboard state
but a small part of the main land actually borders
on the ocean. A glance at the map shows that
for about two thirds of its eastern boundary, from the Vir-
ginia line southerly, the main land is separated from the
Atlantic by Currituck, Croatan, Pamlico and Core Sounds,
varying in width from five to forty-five miles, and these
are in turn separated from the ocean by a narrow strip of
sand in some places scarcely more than a quarter and sel-
dom over a mile in width.

In addition to those mentioned, Albemarle Sound, a
sheet of water some fifty to sixty miles long and from ten
to twenty wide, runs westward from Croatan. Emptying
into these Sounds are the Chowan, Roanoke, Pamlico, Tar
and Neuse rivers, all of which are navigable to a greater
or less distance for light draft vessels, besides several
others navigable only by small boats.

The sandy strip of land which separates these Sounds
from the Atlantic is broken in several places, called inlets,
which form passages connecting the Sounds with the
ocean. Few however are practicable for any but the
lightest draft vessels, and except at Old Topsail Inlet, just
south of Cape Lookout and which is the entrance to the
harbor of Beaufort, about nine feet is the maximum
depth. These conditions made this an ideal locality for



[ 10 ] Massachusetts Memorial to Her Soldiers and Sailors

blockade runners which were generally of light draft,
and as the water outside was shallow should a blockade
runner succeed in passing the fleet, our vessels being
unable to follow owing to their greater draft, it was
practically safe from capture.

As the Confederates depended for a large part of their
supplies upon imports and as a numerous fleet was needed
to properly guard and patrol the coast the Navy Depart-
ment realized very early in the war the advisability of se-
curing possession of one or more points in this territory,
not only to enable it to dispense with part of the block-
ading squadron but to secure a base for future operations.
Admiral Ammen states that the War Department
did not at that time grasp the importance of this move-
ment. However, after considerable solicitation, General
Wool consented to detail eight hundred men under Gen.
Benjamin F. Butler, with orders to report to Flag Officer
Silas H. Stringham and assist in the attempt to capture
Forts Clark and Hatteras which commanded Hatteras
Inlet, the passage most generally favored by blockade
runners. "The object of the expedition being attained' '
the troops were to "return to Fort Monroe. "

The land force consisted of five hundred men of the
20th and two hundred of the 9th New York; one hundred
of the Union Coast Guard; and sixty of the 2nd U.S. Ar-
tillery. The expedition sailed from Fort Monroe on the
morning of August 26, 1861, and arrived off Hatteras the
same afternoon. The bombardment of the forts was
begun on the 28th, discontinued later in the day as Flag
Officer Stringham feared that unless he could make a
greater offing some of his vessels might be blown ashore,
resumed on the 29th, and before noon of that day the forts
had surrendered.

Immediately after the articles of capitulation had been



Massachusetts Memorial to Her Soldiers and Sailors [ 11 ]

signed, Flag Officer Stringham and General Butler re-
turned to Fort Monroe taking with them some five or six
hundred captured Confederates, and leaving the Pawnee,
Monticello, and tug Fanny, with detachments of the 9th
and 20th New York and the Union Coast Guard, to hold
the captured territory. Gen. Rush C. Hawkins was
left in command.

Sept. 6, Gen. Hawkins wrote Gen. Wool stating that
the enemy were fortifying Roanoke Island, urged the ne-
cessity of our taking immediate possession of that place,
and earnestly called for reinforcements of troops and light
draft vessels. On Sept. 11, he again wrote to the same
effect, a copy of the latter letter being sent directly to the
Secretary of War. Excepting a simple acknowledgment
no attention was paid to the matter by that official although
the recommendations were strongly endorsed by General
Wool. Had these been favorably acted upon by the War
Department, the battle of Roanoke Island, and perhaps
that of New Bern also, might have been unnecessary.

Very early in the war Gen. Burnside suggested the
formation of a "Coast Division" consisting of about ten
thousand men for operations on the Potomac and Chesa-
peake, and to act as an auxiliary to the Army of the Poto-
mac. He had several conversations with Gen. McClellan
on this subject, and on Sept. 6, 1861, the latter wrote the
Secretary of War suggesting that a force of ten regiments
be recruited from the New England States, the men from
that section of the country being presumably better qualifi-
ed for the special service in prospect than would be those
from an inland state. They were to be provided with
light draft vessels, and several naval officers were to be
detailed to accompany them.

There was great difficulty in getting the requisite num-
ber of the kind of vessels needed, so although the nu-



12 ] Massachusetts Memorial to Her Soldiers and Sailors



cleus of such a Division was formed, and on Oct. 23 orders
were issued for it to assemble at Annapolis, the purpose
for which it had originally been designed was changed.

Late in the fall of 1861 the authorities at Washington
began to realize the strategic advantages of North
Carolina and the necessity of securing a foothold there.
The main line of railroad from Richmond south passes
through that state and her agricultural resources,
especially during the latter period of the war, were inval-
uable to the Confederates. One writer speaks of this
state as "the jugular artery of the confederacy." The
possession of a base of operations in North Carolina would
threaten Richmond from the south, and one suggestion
was made that it might be possible to effect a connection
with our forces in Tennessee and thus divide the Confed-
eracy.

General Orders, No. 14*, Head Quarters Coast Division,
dated January 3, 1862, assigned the vessels to the differ-
ent brigades; and General Orders, No. 15 1, January 4,
directed the embarkation.



*This order assigned to General Foster's brigade the steamers New Bruns-
wick, New York and Guide; propellors, Vedette, Zouave, Ranger and Hus-
sar; bark Guerilla; schooners, Highlander and Recruit. To General Reno's
brigade, steamers, Northerner and Cossack; propellors, Lancer and Pioneer;
ships, Kitty Stimson and Ann E. Thompson; brig Dragoon; schooner
Scout. To General Parke's brigade, steamer Eastern Queen; propellors,
Sentinel and Chasseur; ships, Arrican and John Trucks; bark, H. D.
Brookman and Voltigeur; schooner Skirmisher.

The naval vessels accompanying the expedition, many of which remained in
the Department throughout the war and whose names as well as those of
some of the transports were very familiar to all who served in this Department,
were the Stars and Stripes, Louisiana, Hetzel, Underwriter, Dela-
ware, Commodore Barney, Hunchback, Southfield, Morse, Whitehead,
Lockwood, Brinker, L. N. Seymour, Ceres, Putnam, Shazvsheen and Granite.

tThis Order divided the troops into three brigades, but the organization as
reported in "The War of the Rebellion, Official Records of the Union and
Confederate Armies," Series 1, Vol. IX, pp 358, shows, on January 31, 1862,



Massachusetts Memorial to Her Soldiers and Sailors [ 13 ]



The embarkation began early on the morning of Janu-
ary 6th and was completed on the 8th. Early on the
morning of the 9th, the fleet steamed out of Annapolis har-
bor. The destination of this expedition was one of the
inconsiderable number of war secrets (?) that was well
kept. Probably few, if any, of those accompanying it, ex-
cept Gen. Burnside, knew where it was bound. The on-
ly instructions received by the several commanders were
to follow the leading vessel until they reached a certain
point, when they were to open their sealed orders.

In a letter from Gen. McClellan, then Commander-in-
Chief, to Gen. Burnside, the latter was directed, after
uniting with Flag Officer Goldsborough at Fort Monroe,
to proceed under his convoy to Hatteras Inlet. In ac-
cordance with his general instructions he was to take com-
mand of the Department of North Carolina. His first
point of attack was to be Roanoke Island. Having occu-
pied that and erected batteries and defences so that it
might be held with a comparatively small force, mean-
while assisting Flag Officer Goldsborough, should he so
request, in seizing or holding the entrance to the Norfolk
Canal, he was then to make a descent upon New Bern.



about a week previous to the battle of Roanoke Island, four brigades under

the command of General Burnside.

First brigade, Brig. Gen. John G. Foster: 10th Connecticut, 23d, 24th, 25th
and 27th Massachusetts.

Second brigade, Brig. Gen. Jesse L. Reno: 21st Massachusetts, 9th New Jer-
sey, 51st New York, and 51st Pennsylvania.

Third brigade, Brig. Gen. John L. Parke: 8th Connecticut, 9th and 53d New
York, 4th and 5th (battalion) Rhode Island.

Fourth brigade, Brig. Gen. Thomas Williams: 11th Connecticut, 6th New
Hampshire, 89th New York, 48th Pennsylvania, Battery F, (Belger's),
1st Rhode Island Artillery, and Battery C, 1st U. S. Artillery.
Note. None of those to whom proofs were sent have any recollection of

Williams' brigade, nor is any mention made of that brigade in the reports of

the battles of Roanoke Island or New Bern; yet the 11th Connecticut, which

was attached to this brigade, is mentioned as taking part in the latter action.



[ 14 ] Massachusetts Memorial to her Soldiers and Sailors

Gaining possession of that city, he was directed to occupy
Beaufort and reduce Fort Macon in order to open the port
which was the seaboard terminus of the railroad to New
Bern, Kinston and Goldsboro. He was directed to then
proceed, if possible, to Goldsboro and Raleigh, but was
told that he must exercise great caution in making such
an advance.

The expedition reached Fort Monroe on the afternoon of
the 9th and left about midnight on the 11th. When well
at sea the destination was announced to be Hatteras Inlet.
Sunday, the 12th, while nearing that place, the weather
was stormy and it continued to grow worse until it be-
came a regular gale. Some of the vessels succeeded in
making the Inlet on the 13th, while, of those which failed
to get through, many decided to attempt riding out the
gale at anchor, while others, believing that their only
safety lay in being at a distance from land, stood out to
sea. The fleet became widely scattered, and it was a
most anxious experience for both officers and men. For-
tunately the loss of life was small.

Between the Inlet and the navigable waters of the
Sound there was a shifting, sandy bar, called the
"Swash," across which vessels drawing more than eight
feet could not pass. One of the conditions of the charters
was that no vessel when loaded should draw over a stated
depth, but, as usual, government contractors expected to
be allowed some latitude in filling their contracts, and
the result was that many vessels had to be unloaded before
they could pass the "Swash." By the last day of Janu-
ary, however, all had safely entered the Sound.

Roanoke Island which commands Croatan Sound, the
connecting link between Albemarle and Pamlico, is from
ten to fifteen miles long and from two to five miles wide.
It is a place of great strategic importance, commanding



Massachusetts Memorial to Her Soldiers and Sailors [ 15 ]

the Sounds and the rear defences of Norfolk, Va. It was
defended by Fort Bartow, at Pork Point, on the west side
of the island; Fort Blanchard, farther north; and Fort
Huger, still farther north. About the centre of the is-
land was Fort Defiance, a redoubt or breastwork some
seventy to eighty feet long, with three embrasures for can-
non. One flank of this redoubt was protected by a swamp
and the other by a marsh, both of which were thought to
be practically impassable. The main north and south
road of the island passed through the redoubt. In addi-
tion to these defenses the Confederates had in Croatan
Sound a naval force of ten small vessels mounting eighteen
guns.

On February 4th, Burnside reported to Goldsborough
that everything was ready, and on the morning of the 6th
they started for Roanoke. The afternoon of the same day
they were within six miles of the Island. A heavy fog pre-
vailing made them decide it would be unwise to attempt a
further advance that night. The Confederate fleet was
off Fort Bartow. On the 7th, Lieutenant Andrews, of the
9th New York, with a party of men from the 5th Rhode
Island, made soundings in Ashby's Harbor, situated near
the middle of the island on the west side.

In the afternoon Foster was ordered to land his brigade.
He embarked five hundred men of the 25th Massachusetts
on board the Pilot Boy, which towed the boats carrying
the rest of his brigade, and headed toward Ashby's
Harbor. Discovering an ambuscade of infantry and artil-
lery, he changed his proposed destination and made a
landing in front of Hammond's House, a point just above
the Harbor, where he encountered no oppositon. He was
quickly followed by Reno and Parke, and in about twenty
minutes four thousand men had reached the land safely.

The force forming the ambuscade, fearing capture,



[ 16 ] Massachusetts Memorial to Her Soldiers and Sailors

made a hasty retreat and joined the main body at the re-
doubt. During this time, and throughout the battle, the
naval division had kept Fort Bartow engaged. The
steamer carrying the 24th Massachusetts ran aground so
that regiment did not land till the following day.

The night of the 7th the 21st Massachusetts was in ad-
vance and picketed our line. It rained constantly and the
men suffered considerably. Lieutenant Colonel Maggi
says in his report, "None of the men slept, and every
half hour I made the companies fall in in greatest silence."
At daybreak on the 8th, Foster's brigade moved for-
ward, the 25th Massachusetts leading They drove in
the enemy's skirmishers on the main road until, when
near the middle of the island, they met the confederates
in a strong position prepared for battle. Their guns had
a clean sweep of 700 yards. Foster placed six light guns
from the ships' launches in the road so that two could be
used at the same time and then advanced to the attack.
These guns were supported by the 25th Massachusetts in
line on one side of the road and that regiment was sup-
ported by the 23d. As the 27th Massachusetts and 10th
Connecticut came on the ground the latter regiment re-
lieved the 23d, which, supported by the 27th, was ordered
to the right with instructions to pass through the marsh
and turn the enemy's left.

General Reno soon came up and was ordered to push
his brigade through the swamp to our left and endeavor
to turn the enemy's right. Parke followed Reno and he
was instructed to assist the 23d and 27th Massachusetts on
the right.

The engagement in the direct front had been very
warm. The guns having used all but ten rounds were
instructed to cease firing; the 25th Massachusetts, having
expended all its ammunition, was sent to the rear and



II







Massachusetts Memorial to Her Soldiers and Sailors [ 17 ]

the 10th Connecticut moved to the front. The engage-
ment began about 8 o'clock. About 11.30 A. m., Foster
ordered Parke to charge. The enemy fled in great confu-
sion, partly in consequence of this charge and partly be-
cause both flanks had been turned. General Reno imme-
diately started in pursuit, quickly followed by General
Foster, the 24th Massachusetts being on the right of the
brigade. He soon overtook and passed Reno, the latter
being busily engaged in capturing the fleeing enemy who
were endeavoring to escape by boats to Nag's Head.

Just before they reached the upper extremity of the
island, Colonel Shaw, of the 8th North Carolina, who,
owing to the absence of General Wise, was in command
of the confederate forces on Roanoke, sent a flag of truce
to Foster asking on what terms he would accept sur-
render. "Unconditional," was the answer, and Foster
added that he would allow but sufficient time for a reply to
reach him before recommencing hostilities. As the delay
appeared to be longer than necessary, Foster advanced
with the 24th Massachusetts, but when near the confeder-
ate camp he was met by another flag of truce and was in-
formed that his terms had been accepted. Colonel Kurtz,
of the 23d Massachusetts, was ordered to secure the camp
of the 31st North Carolina, but the order had been antici-
pated by General Reno who was already in possession.

This battle resulted in the capture of forty-two guns,
about three thousand prisoners, and the occupation of a
most important strategic position.

General Wise, who was nominally in command at Ro-
anoke Island, but who was ill at Nag's Head at the time
of the action, felt much aggrieved at the result, claiming
that General Benjamin Huger, commanding the Depart-
ment of Norfolk, failed to give him proper support, and by
countermanding some of his orders and interfering with



[ 18 ] Massachusetts Memorial to Her Soldiers and Sailors

his plans was responsible for the loss of the Island. A vol-
uminous and somewhat acrimonious correspondence ensu-
ed between these officers. It occupies about sixty pages
of the "Official Records." Wise plainly expressed his
opinion of the importance to the confederacy of holding
this position when, February 13, he wrote Jefferson Davis:

"Such is the importance and value, in a military point
of view, of Roanoke Island that it ought to have been de-
fended by all the means in the power of the Government.
It was the key to all the rear defences of Norfolk. It un-
locked two Sounds, (Albemarle and Currituck); eight
rivers, (the North, West, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Little,
Chowan, Roanoke and Alligator); four canals, (the Albe-
marle 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 supply of corn, pork and forage,
and it cut the command of General Huger off from all its
most efficient transportation. It endangers the subsist-
ence of his whole army; threatens the Navy Yard at Gos-
port; 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, a large, rich range of supplies, and the com-
mand of the seaboard from Oregon Inlet to Cape Henry.
It should have been defended at the expense of twenty
thousand men and many millions of dollars."

The subject was brought before the Confederate Con-
gress and the Investigating Committee of the House of
Representatives made an exhaustive report fully endorsing
the opinion expressed by General Wise when he wrote:
"The forts of this island were all out of place; they ought
to have been at the south end, 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 land-
ing of their troops. "

In their finding the Committee place the blame for the
loss of the Island on General Huger and Secretary of War,
J. P. Benjamin.



Massachusetts Memorial to Her Soldiers and Sailors [ 19



In connection with the battle of Roanoke Island, and as
the officer to whom the following letter was addressed at-
tended the dedication of the New Bern monument as a del-
egate from the 21st Massachusetts, it does not seem out of
place to reproduce it in this volume. The letter is self-
explanatory.

Head Quarters, 21st Mass. Vols.
Camp Burnside, Dept. N. C,
Roanoke Island, Feb 10, 1862.
To Capt. Theodore S. Foster,
Dear Captain;

The day before the battle of the 8th inst. , the aide-


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Online LibraryJames Brown GardnerMassachusetts memorial to her soldiers and sailors who died in the Department of No. Carolina, 1861-1865 → online text (page 1 of 8)