As soon as Flag-officer Goldsborough
received the news of the battle of the Monitor
, he returned to Hampton Roads
to superintend matters in that quarter, leaving Commander S. C. Rowan
in charge of the sounds of North Carolina
The gallant service performed by Commander Rowan
, in the capture of Newburn
and Elizabeth City
, has already been related, though complete justice has not been done to the officers and men who embarked in frail vessels never intended to go under the fire of a battery, and who exhibited as much courage as if they were fighting behind the bulwarks of stout frigates.
The manner in which the little flotilla in the sounds of North Carolina
operated is worthy of all praise, and confers the highest honors on the able commander and his officers, who, scorning all the dangers of an intricate navigation, concealed riflemen, and masked batteries, pushed on up the sounds and rivers wherever a Confederate flag could be heard of or a Confederate gun was mounted, and who never failed to achieve victory when there was an enemy to engage.
There was a large army force in the sounds, commanded by brave and energetic officers, but it is no disparagement to them to say that, without the hearty co-operation of the gun-boats, they would not have achieved half the success they did. It became evident, at a very early period of the war, that no army operations along rivers or sounds could be successful unless aided by gun-boats.
Most of these vessels carried guns of heavy calibre which could not have been dragged along by an army, and these guns always proved to be more than a match for the lines of defence thrown up by the Confederates
all along the rivers and sounds.
The Federal Army could not have held these works unless the gun-boats were at hand to drive off or capture the improvised vessels-of-war, which it has been seen were equally as well armed as the Union vessels, and for a time made a sturdy opposition to the advance of the Navy.
It must not be supposed that the Federal
officers and men conquered the enemy without
a struggle, or that their victories were easy ones; if they were, it was because the enemy were not prepared for the bold dashes that were made upon them, and did not suppose that any officer would lead a weakly built flotilla right up to the mouths of heavy batteries, around which the enemy's gun-boats had assembled for safety and protection.
The good account his officers and men gave of themselves in their various encounters with the enemy drew from Commander Rowan
the following General Order
, which is as remarkable for the handsome compliments it pays to all who served under him, as for its brevity and truthfulness; he could have said no more had he used a folio of words:
For the present we must discontinue the narrative of operations in the sounds of North Carolina
As has been seen, there was scarcely a large gun left in the hands of the enemy, of the many that were mounted when the little naval flotilla entered the sounds through Hatteras Inlet, January 19, 1862, and the preparations which were made by the Navy Department for carrying on the war in this important section of the Confederate strongholds had been carried out with a judgment and success which entitled all concerned to the highest praise.
In the latter part of September, 1862, a joint expedition of the Army and Navy was prepared to operate against Franklin
, a small town on the Blackwater River
It was agreed between the military commander
, General Dix
, and the commander of the gun-boats, that the attack should be made on the 3d of October.
The expedition was under the command of Lieutenant C. W. Flusser
, on board the steamer Commodore Perry
. Acting-Lieutenant Edmund R. Colhoun
commanded the Hunchback
and Acting-Master Charles A. French
On the morning of October 3d, 1862, the three above-mentioned steamers got underway and proceeded up the river, which was so crooked and narrow in some places that these vessels, small as they were, could not turn the bends without the aid of hawsers.
At 7 o'clock the Perry
, being ahead, came to one of three short turns, and, while engaged in running out a line, a heavy fire was opened upon her from a steep bluff, almost overhead, by a body of the enemy's concealed riflemen.
The guns of the steamer could not be brought to bear, and the only way to escape the fire of the riflemen was to work by the point and obtain a position where the great guns could be brought into play.
This was attempted, but the vessel ran ashore.
At this moment, a daring color-bearer of the enemy started towards the gun-boat, trying to get his companions to follow him and board her. But he was instantly shot down and the enemy were driven back to their cover.
In a few moments the gun-boat was off the bottom, and pushed ahead until she could bring her guns to bear, and from this position cover the passage of the other two steamers.
Having passed the turn in safety, these vessels joined the Commodore Perry
above,where they were still fired upon from the bluff, without being able to make any effective return.
To make their position more critical, they now came upon a barricade which they found it impossible to pass.
The enemy soon noticed the dilemma of the gun-boats, and began to flatter themselves that they were about to have an easy victory.
A large body of men collected below the Federal
vessels and commenced felling trees across the narrow stream to cut off their retreat, after which they calculated to capture them all by driving the men from the decks with their rifles.
In his anxiety to get ahead, Lieutenant Flusser
had not waited for the troops, and he now found himself caught in a trap.
He had got into the difficulty through an error of judgment, and the only way to get out of it seemed to be to fight until the troops came up.
It was most difficult to work the guns under such a terrific fire from concealed riflemen without a great loss of life, but there was no alternative.
threw 11-inch shells towards the town of Franklin
, while with the forward 32-pounder he poured grape and canister into the woods on his
With the after 32-pounder and a fieldgun he fought the enemy on the right and with his 9-inch gun aft he shelled the bluff, from whence the weight of the enemy's fire proceeded.
Thus he fought on like a lion at bay, scattering shell, grape and canister on all sides, while his men were exposed to a deadly fire from marksmen no one could see.
The other steamers were not idle, but followed the tactics of their leader, and their rapid fire disconcerted the aim of the riflemen.
When a lull occurred, the steamers made a dash down the river, and although their decks were still swept by the enemy's fire, they succeeded in passing the bluffs.
During this movement the Union
commanders kept their men under cover, and thus saved many lives.
When they came to the fallen timber they put on a full head of steam and pierced their way through and over it. It was “neck or nothing” with them, and it was only through great exertions that they succeeded in getting beyond the range of the enemy's fire by nightfall.
The Commodore Perry
lost two killed and eleven wounded (a severe loss for so small a vessel). The Hunchback
had two killed and one wounded.
This was not a great battle, but it was more trying than some great battles have been, and was accompanied by much more danger.
It shows that the gun-boat commanders were of good metal, determined to sell their lives as dearly as possible.
There is nothing in the world.
so harassing as to be caught in a narrow river under such circumstances, and there is scarcely anything to justify it, unless the vessels are supported by a land force.
In the above case the land force unfortunately did not come up.
was a cool and daring officer, and his name has already been mentioned several times in the course of this narrative.
He was always to be found where fighting was going on.
There was another young officer in the North Atlantic squadron at this time, Lieutenant William B. Cushing
, who made a name for himself by his total disregard of danger.
He would undertake the most desperate adventures, where it seemed impossible for him to escape death or capture, yet he almost always managed to get off with credit to himself and with loss to the enemy.
He commanded the small gun-boat Ellis
, and in November, 1862, it struck him that he would enter New River Inlet
, push up the river, sweep it clear of vessels, capture the town of Jacksonville
or Onslow Courthouse, take the Wilmington
mail and destroy any salt-works he could find on the banks.
He expected to surprise the enemy on going up, and then fight his way out.
Five miles from the mouth of the inlet he came in sight of a vessel bound out with a load of cotton and turpentine.
The enemy set fire to her in order to prevent her falling into Cushing
's hands; but this officer did not waste time over her. After assuring himself that she was thoroughly ignited, and that the owner could not return and extinguish the flames, he proceeded on his way up the river.
He reached the town of Jacksonville
, landed, threw out pickets and placed guards over the public buildings.
was the county-seat of Onslow County
, and quite an important place.
Here he captured 25 stand of arms in the Court-house
, and a large mail in the post-office.
He also took two schooners and confiscated the negroes of the Confederate
being situated on the main road to Wilmington
, it was not long before the news of Cushing
's performances reached the latter place, and the Confederates
at once took measures to prevent his escape.
As soon as he had finished with the town, Cushing
dropped down with his two prizes until he came in sight of a camp on the riverbank, which he shelled very thoroughly.
The enemy opened fire on the Ellis
with rifles, but they were soon dispersed.
Night coming on, the pilots declined to take the vessels out of the river until daylight next morning.
In consequence, Lieutenant Cushing
anchored five miles from the outer bar, took his prizes alongside and prepared for an attack.
All night the signal fires of the enemy could be seen on the banks, and the Union
commander had very little doubt that he would be attacked at daylight.
As soon as possible next morning Cushing
got underway, and had nearly reached the most dangerous place in the river when the enemy opened upon him with two fieldpieces.
He placed his vessels in position, hoisted the battle-flag at the fore, his crew gave three cheers and he went into action.
In one hour he had driven the enemy from his guns and from the bluff, and he passed on within a hundred yards of their position without being fired at.
Up to this time the fortune of the Federal party had been in the ascendant, but they were destined to meet with an accident which changed the fortunes of the day. and resulted in the destruction of the Ellis
About 500 yards from the bluff, the pilots, making a mistake in the channel, ran the steamer hard and fast aground.
All hands set to work at once to lighten her and every effort was made to get her afloat, but without avail.
When the tide fell, Cushing
a party on shore to take possession of the artillery which had been abandoned by the enemy, but found it gone.
There was nothing now left but for Cushing
to save his crew from the overwhelming force which he knew would soon be brought to bear upon the gun-boat.
So, “all: hands” were “called to muster” and told that they could go on board the schooners and get off down the river and over the bar. He called for six volunteers to stay with him and defend the steamer until the last.
The volunteers came forward at once; also two Master's Mates, Valentine
The schooners were ordered to drop down the channel out of range of any guns the enemy might mount on the bluff, and there to wait the termination of the action, and if the Ellis
was destroyed to proceed to sea.
Early in the morning the enemy opened fire upon the steamer with three heavy guns and one Whitworth
It was a cross-fire and very destructive.
replied as well as he could, but in a short time the engine was disabled and the vessel so much cut up that the only alternative was surrender or a pull of a mile and a half in an open boat under the enemy's fire.
The last expedient was adopted.
was set on fire in five places, and leaving the battle-flag flying, Cushing
trained his guns upon the enemy so that the vessel could fight to the last started down the river, reached the schooners and put to sea. A party of Confederates attempted to cut off his retreat, but they were unsuccessful, and the sailors gave three cheers and hoisted the Union flag as they sailed out over the bar.
brought away all his in en, his rifled howitzer and ammunition, the ship's stores and clothing, the men's bags and hammocks, and most of the small-arms.
As he crossed the bar the “Ellis
” blew up and the enemy were disappointed in getting her.
was famous for this kind of adventure, and he will be heard of frequently hereafter.
He was what might be called a Freelance
, who was always ready to perform any act of daring; and although he was not always successful, the honor of the flag never suffered at his hands.
There were plenty of young officers in the Navy who were equally brave, and with more judgment, but Cushing
was of a peculiar temperament, always doing something to astonish his commanders, and whether fortunate or not in his undertakings, he was sure to create a sensation.
The account of the loss of the Ellis
is given as an illustration of this young officer's character and his fancy for seeking adventures.
There was nothing particularly to be gained by his trip up New Inlet River, and there was a chance of losing his vessel.
He lost her, but, in doing so, showed his spirit of adventure, risking his life and the lives of his men, and then escaping with his crew, arms, provisions and clothing, setting fire to his vessel and training her guns upon the enemy so that she might give them a broadside as she went out of existence.
Among the captures made by co-operating vessels of the North Atlantic squadron was that of Fort Macon
, Beaufort Harbor, N C. A combined expedition of the Army and Navy attacked this place on April 25, 1862, and after a bombardment of some hours, by land and sea, the American
flag was hoisted over the fort.
The naval part of the expedition consisted of the following vessels under the command of Commander Samuel Lockwood
Steamer State of Georgia
.--Commander J. F. Armstrong
.--Lieutenant-Commander A. Bryson
.--Acting-Volunteer-Lieutenant Edward Cavendy
.--Lieutenant-Commander C. L. Franklin
The gun-boats attacked the fort by passing it in an ellipse and firing when abreast of it.
commanded the land forces, and to him the fort surrendered.
The losses were small on both sides, which was rather remarkable, as Commander Lockwood
states that the interior of the fort was literally covered with fragments of bombs and shells, and many of the guns disabled.
was a valuable acquisition to the North Atlantic squadron, and a fine rendezvous for the smaller vessels engaged in blockading the coast.
With regard to the bombardment, the reports of both Army and Navy are somewhat obscure, but it appears that a good deal of damage was inflicted upon the fort in spite of a heavy sea, which rendered the firing from the vessels somewhat uncertain.
The gun-boats themselves suffered little damage.
On May 5, 1862, Yorktown
was evacuated by the Confederates
, and General McClellan
telegraphed to Captain Wm. Smith
of the Wachusett
to assist in communicating with Gloucester
and to send some of the gun-boats up York River
The flotilla was immediately underway, and proceeded to Gloucester Point
, where the American
flag was hoisted.
, Lieutenant T. S. Phelps
, and the Currituck
, Acting-Master W. F. Shankland
, pushed on some twelve miles further up. Commander T. H. Patterson
, in the Chocura
, proceeded up the river as far as
, which had been deserted by the enemy.
flags were flying all along the river.
A few small vessels were captured, but the enemy had fled from that quarter.
About the 7th of June, Flag-officer Goldsborough
was ordered by the President
to make an attack on Sewell's Point
and to ascertain the possibility of landing a body of troops thereabouts.
The wooden vessels were to enfilade the works, while the Monitor
, accompanied by the Stevens
, went up as far as the wrecks to engage the Merrimac
in case she made her appearance.
had orders to fall back into fair channel-way and only to engage the Merrimac
seriously in such a position that the Minnesota
, together with
the merchant-ships prepared for the occasion, could run her down if an opportunity presented itself.
The ramming-vessels were directed to run at the Merrimac
at all hazards, and the Baltimore
, an unarmed steamer with a curved bow of light draft and high speed, was kept in the direction of the Monitor
, to throw herself at the Merrimac
forward or aft, as circumstances might require.
The demonstration was made, and the ships shelled Sewell's Point
, and ascertained the fact that the number of the enemy's guns had been materially reduced and did not amount to over seventeen.
Whether it was this demonstration, or the fact that the Confederates
found that they could not hold their works at Sewell's Point
in the face of even a small number of troops, or that they did not care to stand a shelling from the Federal
ships, is not
known, but on the 10th of May, 1862, Norfolk
surrendered to a Federal force under General Wool
,who had landed at Willoughby's Point.
All the works on Sewell's Point
were evacuated, and also those at Craney Island
, and early in the morning of the 11th the Merrimac
was blown up.
Thus ended the farce of the Confederate
occupation of Norfolk
It should never have fallen into their hands, and could have been retaken at any time by a force of ten thousand men and the vessels at Hampton Roads
, supposing that Sewell
's Point and Craney Island
might not have surrendered, ordered all the fleet to get underway and proceed to the attack of those places, but remembering that when the army had got into their rear that the enemy would no longer stay there, he sent Lieutenant Selfridge
in a tug to Sewell's Point
, and Commander Case
in another to Craney Island
, to ascertain the position of affairs.
landed at Sewell's Point
and found that the enemy had departed, on which he hoisted the American
flag on the ramparts.
When Commander Case
arrived at Craney Island
he also found the forts deserted.
Two Confederate flags were still flying over the works, which he hauled down and replaced with the American
and San Jacinto
proceeded up to Norfolk
without difficulty, and cast their anchors before the town.
The deserting Confederates played the same part that had been played by the Federal
forces when they gave up the Navy Yard
They set fire to all the useful buildings, and most of them were destroyed; the commandant's and the officers' quarters being left intact, in hopes that the Confederate
officers might have a chance some day to live in them again.
became the head quarters of the Navy, as it ought to have been from the beginning of the war to the end. There had been no good reason for deserting the place, for there were as many ships in front of the town at the time when the Navy Yard
was burned, as on May 9, 1862, while the Confederates
were much weaker.
The retreat from Norfolk
was caused by a panic which sometimes seizes upon people, and leads them to do things at the moment for which they rebuke themselves when they come to their senses.
The re-occupation of Norfolk Navy Yard was a great convenience to the North Atlantic squadron, which had been obliged to send most of its vessels to Philadelphia
and New York for repairs, and now the operations up the James River
could be carried on more effectively.
On May 18, 1862, Flag-officer Goldsborough
reports to the Department an engagement which took place on the James River
between some gun-boats under Commander John Rodgers
and a heavy battery on Drury's Bluff (a high point commanding a long reach of the river).
The vessels which attacked this stronghold were the iron-clad (so-called) Galena
, Commander John Rodgers
, the Monitor
, Lieutenant W. N. Jeffers
, and the unarmored steamers Aroostook
, Port Royal
These vessels moved up the James River
on the 15th of May and encountered no artificial impediments until they reached Drury's Bluff, eight miles below Richmond
, where the Confederates
had erected batteries and placed two separate obstructions in the river.
These barriers were made by driving piles, and sinking vessels loaded
It was said that the enemy's gun-boats, Jamestown
, were among the vessels sunk.
It cannot be doubted that these obstacles were too formidable for the gun-boats to pass, unless they could succeed in dismounting the guns on Drury's Bluff, which was not easily done.
Any attempt to remove these obstructions (even if the fort was silenced) without the aid of a large land force would have been unavailing, for the banks of the river all along, up to and past the bluff, were lined with rifle-pits filled with marksmen, who made it almost impossible for the Federals
to stand at their guns.
, leading, ran within 600 yards of the batteries, and as near to the obstructions as it was deemed prudent to go. She let go her anchor, and swinging with a spring across the channel, not more than twice the length of the ship, opened fire on the enemy at Drury's Bluff.
The wooden vessels anchored about 1,300 yards below, and the Monitor
anchored just above the Galena
, but finding that her guns could not be elevated sufficiently to reach the forts, she dropped to a position to enable her to do so.
After an action of three hours and fifteen minutes, the Galena
had expended nearly all her ammunition, having but six charges left for the rifled Parrott
gun and not a 9-inch shell filled.
Thirteen men had been killed and eleven wounded on board.
Signal was made to discontinue the action, and the vessels dropped out of fire.
was unhurt, though struck once squarely on the turret by an 8-inch shot, and twice on her side armor.
The rifled 100-pounder burst on board the Naugatuck
, and disabled her.
reported that the Galena
was not shot-proof, exactly what was predicted of her when she was on the stocks.
The vessel was so much cut up that it was reported she would have to be thoroughly repaired before she could go to sea.
It was intended to ascertain by this action whether the Monitor
was the best vessel for fighting forts.
It was settled in favor of the Monitor
, which was not damaged seriously.
It was a one-sided battle altogether, for the forts on Drury's Bluff could not be taken by a naval force alone.
They could only be taken by a combined attack of the Army and Navy.
If it was intended to show the enemy that the courage of naval officers would undertake anything, this was amply demonstrated by the cool manner in which the vessels anchored and went at what they must have known was hopeless work.
There was not an officer there who did not know that, no matter how often they might drive the enemy away from their guns by an overwhelming fire, that they would just step inside their bomb-proofs until a good opportunity offered to return to their guns.
The Confederates knew that no naval force would attempt to land and scale the bluff, 200 feet high.
In fact, it was simply good practice for the enemy; and whatever defects their works showed were remedied in twenty-four hours.
That Commander Rodgers
and his officers showed the greatest courage, in attacking works so far superior to them in every way, every one will admit.
was simply a slaughter-house, and the other vessels, except the Monitor
, would have fared worse than the Galena
had not the enemy been intent upon destroying the vessel which carried the divisional flag at her main.
still thought that the Galena
could reduce the works if they had plenty of ammunition; but experience had by this time taught most of our commanders that very few expeditions of this kind were successful unless the Army and Navy acted together, and it was only the desire of a brave man to try and get even with the enemy.
This expedition convinced Commander Rodgers
“that an army could be landed on the James River
within ten miles of Richmond
, on either bank, and that this land force with naval co-operation could march into Petersburg
; that such a move would cause the evacuation of Drury's Bluff in its then condition, and other forts along the James River
; that obstructions could then be removed, and perhaps the gun-boats might work their way on to Richmond
This was the hardest fight that had occurred on the James
The duties on that river were, as a rule, monotonous in the extreme, and the officers of the Navy were delighted with this opportunity to show that the same spirit existed at this point as elsewhere to perform the most hazardous undertakings.
The work of the North Atlantic squadron in the James
and York rivers
was deficient in those dashing strokes which had been made in other squadrons, and which so attracted the attention of the Northern
With the single exception of the affair of the Merrimac
, nothing had been done by the northern portion of this squadron to attract much notice, yet it was in some respects the most important squadron afloat.
The security of Washington
greatly depended on its efficiency, for, in the event of a move of the Confederates
upon the Capital
, a large force of gun-boats could be sent up the Potomac
and prevent the enemy from marching directly upon the city, and give
time to assemble troops enough to meet him in the field.
would have been cut off entirely in its river communications with the North
, in the earlier part of the war, but for the presence of this squadron at Hampton Roads
, where it was within easy reach.
Without it, the Grand
Army of the Potomac could not have been moved so successfully to the Peninsula
; and it is scarcely yet forgotten how, in the most trying times, when that army
seemed to be in danger of annihilation, the Navy was at hand to give shelter under its guns to our retiring and weary troops, and drive back the excited and victorious foe, who would have driven our soldiers into the river, or made them lay down their arms.
These things are mentioned not for the purpose of claiming undue credit for the Navy, but to show that it was always on hand to perform its part of the duty in putting down the rebellion, and that, through its great discipline, the energy of the officers and the skill of its commanders, it not only often arrested defeat, but sometimes changed defeat into victory.
It might appear to some people that there was a larger number of vessels lying idle in Hampton Roads
than was necessary, and that these might in the earlier part of the war have pushed on up the James
and kept that river free of batteries until the Federals
could mount guns enough afloat to push on up to Richmond
But war cannot be carried on without mistakes, and these occurred in the Navy as well as in the Army; but we will venture to say that there were not near so many in the Navy.
The sins of the Navy were more those of omission than commission.
The situation was a new one to all
concerned, and the stern reality could only be learned by wading through battle-fields, or in the slaughter-pens of gun-boats when under the fire of heavy artillery.
Owing to the change of the Headquarters of the North Atlantic squadron, reports of naval occurrences were not always received at the Navy Department in regular order, and being quickly recorded as they were received, it happens that many of the events of the war are narrated out of their proper order, and the earlier performances are behind the later ones.
This cannot well be helped, and it would probably make confusion if the writer attempted to remedy the evil.
When General McClellan
had captured Yorktown
he almost immediately moved part of his army up the river in transports in the direction of West Point
On the 7th of May, 1862, Lieutenant T. H. Stevens
reported that, hearing the firing of heavy cannon, he proceeded on board the
, for the purpose of joining his command, which he had passed on the way up; when General Franklin
telegraphed him that he was attacked by a superior force and desired the assistance of the gun-boats--“that he wanted immediate support,” etc.
At this moment the gun-boat Maratanza
two miles below.
in endeavoring to haul the gun-boat Marblehead
off a shoal.
Receiving Captain William Smith
's orders to go on board the Maratanza
and bring her into action.
took a boat from the Wachusett
and joined his vessel.
went into action with some batteries that had been posted on hills to prevent the advance of the Union Army
The gun-boats shelled the Confederate artillery for nearly an hour with their heavy rifled guns, when the enemy retired.
It was the opinion of General Franklin
's officers that the rapid and accurate fire of the gun-boats “was greatly instrumental in saving the Army from severe disaster, if not defeat.”
The gun-boats followed along on the flanks of the Army, ready to aid it in every way, until the river became so narrow and crooked that they could go no farther, and in returning had to drop stern foremost.
's object in advancing on West Point
was to cut off the retreat of the Confederates
But he encountered a much larger force than he had expected, and but for the gun-boats would have been roughly handled.
Acting-Rear-Admiral S. P. Lee
assumed command of the North Atlantic squadron on July 16, 1862, taking the place of Flagofficer Goldsborough
, who was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral
, and relieved at his own request.
Though the services of the latter officer had not been brilliant, yet his duties had been well performed and his record is that of a faithful, zealous officer, who, if he had been employed in a wider field of operations, would no doubt have made his name more conspicuous.
The President considered that his services in the sounds of North Carolina
entitled him to a vote of thanks from Congress and sent in his name, and afterwards that of Commander Rowan
was a Southerner by birth, and although no officer deserves particular credit for standing by the Government
that had taken care of him for fifty years, yet he showed an example of live patriotism which entitled him to respect and to any honors his country had to bestow.
From July 11th up to November 30th, 1862.
there was little done by the North Atlantic squadron except in the sounds of North Carolina
which for a time were under the control of Commander Rowan
The operations in the sounds, after the time mentioned, were not of a very important nature, but as they form part of the history of the war we will give a brief sketch of them.
There was great danger in some of the expeditions, and good judgment and gallantry shown in all.
Lieutenant C. W. Flusser
, who has already figured as a brave and energetic officer, was a leading spirit in every enterprise set on foot.
He seemed to delight in making explorations where little was to be gained except hard knocks, and it is remarkable that in the severe river-fighting to which he was exposed he did not sooner lose his life.
On the 9th of July, 1862, he left Plymouth
in the steamer Commodore Perry
, having taken on board Captain
, Company F., 9th New York Volunteers, and twenty of his men, with the steamers Shawsheen
in company; the latter vessel having on board Second-Lieutenant Joseph A. Green
and ten men.
While ascending the river, at 1 o'clock P. M., the flotilla was fired upon from the south bank by riflemen.
returned the fire and pushed on, expecting to meet the enemy at Hamilton
The vessels were under fire from the banks and rifle-pits for two hours, during which time they had to run very slowly, looking out for batteries.
When they reached Hamilton
, the enemy, who had been firing from concealed places, retreated, being afraid to meet Flusser
's little force of 100 sailors and soldiers in the open field.
The only reward which they received for all their exposure was the capture of an unimportant town and a small schooner.
The loss on board the vessels, fortunately, was small (two killed and ten wounded), but these casualties often repeated ran up in time to a large number.
In this warfare not much was to be gained except gunshot wounds.
There was no prize-money, but the officers and men of this expedition were spoken of in the highest terms of praise, which cheered them on in the absence of other rewards.
Acting-Volunteer-Lieutenant John Macdearmid
and Acting-Master Thomas J. Woodward
, who commanded the steamers Ceres
on this expedition, were highly spoken of.
Acting-Lieutenant R. T. Renshaw
, commanding U. S. steamer Louisana
, reports that while at Washington, N. C.
, on the 6th of September, 1862, the enemy attacked that place in force and opened on his vessel “with volleys of musketry.”
“That he returned the fire with grape and shell, killing a number and finally driving them back.”
He also followed them up with shell and killed a number in their retreat.
During this action the Army gun-boat Picket
blew up, killing the captain and 18 men, and wounding others, who were taken on board the Louisiana
and properly cared for.
Acting-Master Edward Hooker
is well spoken of for the manner in which he managed the guns of the Louisiana
The action must have lasted some time, as 137 shot, shell, stands of grape, and howitzer shell were fired from the Louisiana
; and, if less justice is done the occasion than it deserves, it is because the accounts of the commanding officer
are so obscure.
This closes the account of the operations of the Navy in the sounds of North Carolina
up to November 10th, 1862, at which time these waters were in charge of Commander H. K. Davenport
The sounds at this time were virtually in possession of the Federal Army
and Navy, though the enemy would make useless raids along the banks of the rivers for the purpose of firing on the gun-boats.
During the command of Flag-officer Goldsborough
all the sounds had been taken possession of under the admirable management of Commander Rowan
, Lieutenant Flusser
, Elizabeth City
, and every important place, was in charge of a gun-boat or was garrisoned by soldiers, and most of the Confederate
troops that had been sent to resist the Union
forces had returned to Richmond
, where at that time an attack was expected.
The harbor of Beaufort
was in the hands of the Federals
and part of the coast of North Carolina
was under blockade.
All of which, when closely examined, exhibits as much gallantry, energy and hard work, in proportion to the means at hand and the objects in view, as appears elsewhere.