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[480] war-steamers Delaware, Lieut. Commanding S. P. Quackenbush, and the Picket, Capt. Ives, arriving at Roanoke Island on the evening of the seventeenth, a distance of one hundred and twenty miles, where they anchored until morning.

Early on the morning of the eighteenth, Com. Rowan and staff, together with Gen. Reno and staff, went on shore and paid a visit to Col. Hawkins, Acting Brigadier-General, in command of the forces on Roanoke Island, who was to join the expedition with three regiments of his brigade, the Ninth and Eighty-ninth New-York and Sixth New-Hampshire. After a brief consultation, it was decided to embark Col. Hawkins's three regiments as soon as possible, and get under way, so as to reach the mouth of the Pasquotank River, on which Elizabeth City is situated, before dark. The fleet was then to move up the river and land the troops some three miles this side of Elizabeth City, at midnight, when part of the force was to push on rapidly, by a circuitous route, and take possession of the canal bridge, some twenty miles this side of Norfolk, for the purpose of cutting off the retreat of the rebel force left at Elizabeth City — some one thousand eight hundred strong.

Col. Hawkins with his three regiments was detailed to perform this work, leaving Gen. Reno with two regiments to bring up the rear, in order that we might get the enemy between our forces, when Gen. Reno anticipated no difficulty in making prisoners of them all.

Col. Howard, of the Marine Artillery, and commander of the war-steamer Virginia, was also included in the expedition, with a battery of light field-pieces.

Col. Hawkins's force embarked on the Phoenix, Capt. Ashcroft, Massasoit, Capt. Clark, Philadelphia, and Ocean Wave.

All was in readiness by ten o'clock A. M., when the fleet left the island and proceeded slowly to the point where the troops were to be landed, which job was to be completed between twelve and one o'clock, before the moon rose, and as quietly as possible.

When we arrived at our destination it was about ten o'clock in the evening, and quite as dark as necessary for all practical purposes. Preparations were at once made to land the force as expeditiously as possible. The blockading squadron at Elizabeth City were in readiness to render all assistance in their power to Gen. Reno. They tendered all their launches and small boats, and the services of their officers and crews to assist in the landing of the troops, which consumed much more time than was at first anticipated.

Col. Hawkins's three regiments were all landed, however, and on the march, by two o'clock, leaving General Reno to land his two regiments, the army wagons, four in number, together with the horses belonging to the same, and the field-pieces, a tedious job, which was not completed until daylight.

It was a beautiful and imposing sight to witness the landing of these troops by moonlight, with horses, wagons, field-pieces, etc. Some on rafts and some in small boats. Some of them wading even cheerfully through the water in their anxiety to reach the shore first.

Had it not been for the valuable assistance rendered by the gunboats in landing, Gen. Reno would have been delayed many hours longer. He expressed himself as under many obligations to the officers and men of the entire navy fleet at Elizabeth City, many of whom plunged into the water, and worked like heroes until everything was landed, and the force on the march. Among those boats most efficient in this good work were the Perry, Delaware, Lockwood, Picket, South-field, Stars and Stripes, Underwriter, Putnam, Ceres, Shawsheen, and Whitehead.

By five o'clock on the morning of the nineteenth, Reno's column was in motion. So quietly had the landing of the troops been effected that no alarm whatever was given by the enemy's pickets, four of whom were found asleep not more than fifty rods from our place of debarkation. It is also evident that the rebel troops at Elizabeth City, three miles from the landing, knew nothing of our approach or operations during the night, for they were in their camp, near the city, when our gunboats went and shelled them out at daylight.

When our gunboats moved up to the city, and let fly their shells into the camp of the sleeping rebels, they were greatly surprised at such an unceremonious call so early in the morning, and in great confusion they started for Norfolk, with Gen. Reno at their heels in close pursuit.

Before proceeding further, I must not forget to mention that much credit is due to C. H. Flusser, of the Commodore Perry, commanding the squadron at Elizabeth City, for planning this affair. No naval officer on this coast has given the rebels more hard knocks and greater frights than this brave and efficient officer, who is a terror to the whole Southern conspiracy. Soon after daylight, Gen. Reno was in close pursuit of the enemy, with the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Fifty-first Pennsylvania, and Col. Harrard's battery.

It was a lovely morning; the birds were singing and skipping from one green bough to another, as if attracted by our beautiful colors. The roads were in good condition, which enabled our troops to get rapidly over the ground. The people along the route knew nothing of our coming until we were passing their doors, when of course it was too late for them to get up a fright.

The Union sentiment was openly manifested by the inhabitants all along the route. At one house the inmates were so overjoyed at our coming as to make demonstrations of delight, by waving the Stars and Stripes, which brought forth deafening cheers from our troops, many of whom shed tears of joy on seeing the strong attachment to the old flag by these oppressed people. Other Union citizens informed us that the Stars and Stripes had been taken from them by the rebels, otherwise they would have given us a like reception.

Many of the Union-loving inhabitants offered

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