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[79] possession of Newbern, sent Gen. Parke1 with his brigade, 3,500 strong, southwestward to the coast, where he occupied2 Morehead City without resistance; as also the more important village of Beaufort, across the inlet known as Newport river; and proceeded to invest Fort Macon, a regular fortress of great cost and strength, seized by Gov. Ellis before the secession of the State.3 This work stands on an island, or rather ocean sand-bank, whence it looks off on the broad Atlantic, and commands the entrance to the Newport river. It is approached from the land with much difficulty, but was soon invested, and a regular siege commenced,4 its pickets driven in, and a good position for siege-guns obtained within fair distance, while the fleet menaced it on the side of the ocean. All being at length in readiness, fire was opened5 from a breaching battery at 1,100 feet distance, with flanking mortars behind sand-banks at 1,400 yards; the fleet also, consisting of three gunboats and a bark, steamed around in a circle, after the fashion inaugurated by Dupont at Port Royal, and fired as they severally came opposite the fort, until the roughness of the sea compelled them to desist. The land batteries were kept at work until late in the afternoon; when, 7 of the garrison being killed, 18 wounded, and most of the available guns dismounted, Col. White raised the white flag, and next morning surrendered his garrison of 500 men, with the fort and all it contained. Fort Macon was among the first of the important fortresses of the old Union, which, having been seized by the Rebels, was repossessed by the Republic.

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

Gen. Reno was dispatched by Gen. Burnside from Newbern to Roanoke Island, whence his brigade was conveyed up Albemarle Sound to within tree miles of Elizabeth City, where it was disembarked during the night6 and pushed northward, with intent to intercept a Rebel force known to be about leaving Elizabeth City for Norfolk; but Col. Hawkins of the 9th New York (Zouaves), who had the 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 fatigued, and he in the rear of the main column. The anticipated surprise proved a failure; 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 confronted by a less numerous Rebel 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, well supported by musketry, whereby a gallant but rashly ordered charge of the Zouaves was repulsed with considerable loss. The position was soon flanked by our superior numbers, and the Rebels compelled to draw off, leaving nothing on the field but a very few dead and

1 March 20.

2 March 23.

3 See Vol. I., p. 411.

4 April 11.

5 April 25.

6 April 19.

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