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ould by any possibility be made responsible for the capture of Plymouth. Both the military and naval authorities had full knowledge of the building of the ram and floating battery; but the naval officer commanding in the sounds remained at Newbern, and left the most important position, Plymouth, with but four vessels, only two of which were of any force, to defend the place against an iron-clad represented to be almost a match for the far-famed Merrimac. Although the attack commenced on the 18th, and lasted until the 20th, no vessels were sent from the naval forces in the sounds or soldiers from the military posts at other points. Major-General Peck, commanding at Newbern, writes to General Butler as follows: Headquarters, Army of The District of North Carolina, Newbern, N. C., April 20th, 1864. General: * * * * * The enemy have appeared in force in front of Plymouth, and attacked the place. The ram has sunk the Southfield, disabled the Miami, and passed below Plymouth.
January 31st (search for this): chapter 41
ainst an attack by the river, the enemy in the sounds of North Carolina were doing their best to make an impression on the Federal posts established along those waters. Great victories over the Union forces were constantly reported, which existed only in the vivid imagination of the Confederate reporters. To show how war news was manufactured, we quote the following from the Raleigh Weekly: Colonel Griffin, Confederate forces, telegraphed to the War Department from Jackson, on the 31st of January, as follows: Yesterday morning engaged the enemy with a force of two hundred men and a rifled field piece. After a fight of two hours, in which we engaged twelve hundred men of the enemy and three pieces of artillery, the Yankees were driven from Windsor, N. C., to their boats. We lost six men; loss of the enemy not known. Lieutenant-Commander C. W. Flusser, indignant at such a report, in a communication to Acting-Rear-Admiral Lee, writes as follows: The report is false from b
legislation of the last Congress, which, in its enrollment law, ignored the Navy, subjected seamen to military draft, tendered large bounties to such as became soldiers, but allowed no bounty to those who entered the naval service, and would not even permit naval recruits to be credited on the quotas required to be drafted. The remedial legislation of the present Congress has thus far effected comparatively few transfers. Some suggestions which I had the honor to submit to the Senate in March last, in answer to an inquiry as to what other legislation is necessary to supply any deficiencies of men for the naval service, have not, that I am aware, been reported upon, and many of our vessels — some of which would have been ordered to the sounds of North Carolina--are still without crews. The correspondence of Acting-Rear-Admiral Lee and the naval officers are evidence that there has been no neglect or inattention on their part at Plymouth or elsewhere in that quarter. I have,
April 23rd (search for this): chapter 41
avy Department in order that proper appropriations should be made. The same unwillingness to grant the Navy money exists to-day, and the country, as regards this arm of defence, is in a deplorable condition. Following the capture of Plymouth, the Confederates early in May made an attack on Newbern, drove in the pickets, and took possession of the railroad; but there was a fair force of gun-boats at this point, and the summons of the enemy to surrender the town was refused. On the 23d of April, Captain Melancton Smith assumed command of the naval forces in the sounds of North Carolina, with orders, if possible, to destroy the ram Albemarle, either by running her down with the double-ender gun-boats or in such other manner as his judgment might suggest. The most efficient vessels at the disposal of Captain Smith were the Miami, Commander Renshaw; Tacony, Lieutenant-Commander Truxtun; Sassacus, Lieutenant-Commander Roe; Mattabesett, Commander Febiger, and the Wyalusing, Lieutena
ed that the Confederates could never have captured Plymouth if adequate appropriations had been made when first asked for to construct light-draft iron-clads, but all through the war Congress required much urging from the Navy Department in order that proper appropriations should be made. The same unwillingness to grant the Navy money exists to-day, and the country, as regards this arm of defence, is in a deplorable condition. Following the capture of Plymouth, the Confederates early in May made an attack on Newbern, drove in the pickets, and took possession of the railroad; but there was a fair force of gun-boats at this point, and the summons of the enemy to surrender the town was refused. On the 23d of April, Captain Melancton Smith assumed command of the naval forces in the sounds of North Carolina, with orders, if possible, to destroy the ram Albemarle, either by running her down with the double-ender gun-boats or in such other manner as his judgment might suggest. The
ain Smith's command: Miami, Acting-Volunteer-Lieutenant Charles A. French. Ceres, Acting-Master H. H. Foster. Commodore Hull, Act.-Master Francis Josselyn. Seymour. Second line. Mattabesett, Commander J. G. Febiger. Sassacus, Lieutenant-Commander F. A. Roe. Wyalusing, Lieutenant-Commander W. W. Queen. Whitehead, Acting-Ensign G. W. Barrett. The Miami was fitted with a torpedo to explode against the side of the ram, if opportunity offered. At 1 o'clock P. M. on the 5th of May, the Miami, Commodore Hull, Ceres and army transport Trumpeter got underway from the picket station off Edenton Bay, bound to the mouth of the Roanoke River, for the purpose of laying down torpedoes. Within a short distance of the buoy, at the mouth of the river, the Albemarle was discovered coming down, accompanied by the steamers Cotton plant and Bombshell, laden with troops, and doubtless bound to the attack of Newbern. The Trumpeter was sent back to give tidings of the approach of
t of gallantry on the part of the Navy in attempting their destruction, and the attempts were generally successful. The Merrimac was the only Confederate iron-clad which really accomplished much, and she bade fair at one time to change the aspect of affairs in favor of the Confederates, and overwhelm the Union people in mortification and disaster. An effort was made to destroy the Albemarle by torpedoes. A party of five volunteers from the Wyalusing left that vessel at 2 P. M. on the 20th of May, having made a reconnaissance two days previously, and ascended the middle channel of the Roanoke River in a dinghy. The party carried two torpedoes, each containing one hundred pounds of powder, with their appendages, which were transported on stretchers across the swamps. John W. Lloyd, coxswain, and Charles Baldwin, coalheaver, swam the river with a line and hauled the torpedoes across to the Plymouth shore close to the town. The torpedoes were then connected by a bridle floated dow
rom the enemy's ranks. Among the latter were workmen who had been employed on board the Merrimac, from whom interesting information was obtained in regard to that and other Confederate vessels. Signal stations were destroyed, their operators captured, and instruments brought away. In these expeditions the gun-boats were constantly exposed to the attacks of Confederate artillery, which was continually on the alert to get a shot at them. So active were the enemy, that, about the middle of July, they constructed a battery mounting 20-pounder Sawyer guns on Malvern Hill, and for a time interrupted the navigation of the James River. The Confederates were, in fact, untiring in their efforts to make the Federal troops and gun-boats uncomfortable. On the 28th of July the enemy commenced the erection of batteries at Four Mile Creek, where they had assembled a large force for the purpose of covering the men at work in the trenches, and making a demonstration against General Foster's fr
muse himself, and thereby be kept from interfering in more important matters. On the 2d of September Sherman entered Atlanta, Georgia, as a conqueror. General Lee had made such a persistent defence against all the attacks on his lines, and had succeeded so well in keeping the railroads south of Richmond open, that Grant saw that to push him too heavily at this time would result in great loss to the Federal Army, while Lee would be ultimately forced to evacuate Richmond. Up to the 17th of July, General J. E. Johnston had severely hampered Sherman in his advance through the South; but, on the above date, this able Confederate general was displaced from his command owing to intrigues in Richmond, and J. B. Hood, who was considered a fighting general par excellence, succeeded him. This circumstance, though it threw a damper on the army which Johnston had so ably commanded, gave Sherman fresh spirits, and he moved upon Atlanta quite certain of success. Hood had now under his com
ught away. In these expeditions the gun-boats were constantly exposed to the attacks of Confederate artillery, which was continually on the alert to get a shot at them. So active were the enemy, that, about the middle of July, they constructed a battery mounting 20-pounder Sawyer guns on Malvern Hill, and for a time interrupted the navigation of the James River. The Confederates were, in fact, untiring in their efforts to make the Federal troops and gun-boats uncomfortable. On the 28th of July the enemy commenced the erection of batteries at Four Mile Creek, where they had assembled a large force for the purpose of covering the men at work in the trenches, and making a demonstration against General Foster's front. The gun-boats were brought into requisition. and the Agawam, Commander A. C. Rhind, and the Mendota, Commander E. T. Nichols, shelled the enemy's works for some time, rendering very effective service in connection with General Hancock's military operations. The f
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