previous next

[486] Hopes if this vessil due reach hur port of destiny you will find that we are all still well and alive and will not leave till we sea the ruins of theas old Walls we have had several sourmish fights with the Yankee Picket Gard the old topsail gards sends there best Respects to all there Lady friends of Beaufort and surrounding country.

As Major Allen did not have time to deliver this message from the sea to all the ladies of Beaufort and surrounding country, he simplified matters by sending it to Gen. Parke as a North-Carolina contribution to the Curiosities of Literature.

On Tuesday and Wednesday the shot and shell practice of the Fort was continued, but, as previously, without wounding a man. On Wednesday, while watching a party of rebel officers on the ramparts, I was surprised to see them suddenly thrown into commotion. Their glasses were at once pointed up Coe Sound, and on looking in that direction, the white hull of the Alice Price was to be seen looming up toward Harker's Island. She had the two-armed barges, or “floating batteries,” in tow, and moved down for an anchorage off Steep Point. Not many minutes passed before the six-inch rifled gun on the S. E. angle of the Fort was cleared away, and a shot was thrown in line fair and square for the Price. It went more than four miles, flew over the deck of the Ellis, and dropped in the water within ten feet of the gig which was returning to the Ellis, after leaving Capt. Franklin aboard the Price. As soon as the gun could be reloaded, another shot, which ranged even further than the first, was sent, and the boats were then moved a half mile further up the sound to get beyond range.

The arrival of the vessels created quite as much excitement in Beaufort as in the Fort, for it was regarded as the immediate precursor to the commencement of hostilities. A close watch was kept on them, the Fort, and the batteries, and many citizens kept their weary watch under a hot sun all day long. At four o'clock in the afternoon, the Alice Price was seen moving slowly down, under a flag of truce, toward the point of Shackleford Banks, and all eyes were turned to observe her movements. A sail-boat was launched from the Fort beach, and two officers and a crew of rebel soldiers got in and quietly waited the approach of our steamer. Presently a ten-oared cutter, flying a white flag, put out from the Alice Price, and moved rapidly ahead. The two small boats approach and meet, a brief conference ensues, the Price's boat makes for the Shackleford beach, and the rebel craft returns to the Fort, where her crew, on landing, are surrounded by a host of their comrades, who, in their grey clothes, look from our point of view like so many State Prison men. Capt. Biggs, Chief Quarter-master, bears from Gen. Burnside a peremptory summons to surrender, and waits at the place designated by the rebel officers for Col. White's answer; which is delayed an hour and a half, but, when finally received, is found to be a refusal, couched in the respectful terms which one soldier would use toward another. The excuse given by the rebel officers for detaining Capt. Biggs so long was, that “Col. White was not in the post ;” which seems little else than prevarication, since he could not move a thousand yards from the glacis without risking capture by our pickets. Probably the summons, so unexpectedly received, induced one of his attacks of epilepsy, rendering him for the time quite unfit to attend to business. While Capt. Biggs was waiting for the answer, three shots were fired by the Fort from the seaward guns at the blockading fleet, which happened to be steaming slowly past within short range. It is not likely that our flag of truce could have been seen from their decks, and their movement was therefore made without any idea of a breach of courtesy. They certainly fired no guns, nor made any reply to the Fort, and the action of the officer in charge of the battery will hardly admit of excuse.

While the Price was lying — to for her boat to return, one of the miniature mail-sloops from the Fort came so near that it was picked up, but the score or so of letters which were found in her contained nothing of public interest. The tiny craft was taken as a legitimate prize, and now lies on her beam-ends in the private cabin of Gen. Burnside.

The decision of Col. White being ascertained, and our batteries being all in readiness, it was determined to open fire at once. Capt. Pell asked and obtained permission from Gen. Burnside to serve in the ten-inch mortar-battery, under Lieut. Flagler, and accordingly went over to the Banks by way of Beaufort. The siege-batteries were three in number-one of three thirty-pounder Parrott guns, commanded by Capt. Lewis O. Morris, of company C, First artillery, (regulars ;) one of four ten-inch mortars, commanded by Lieut. D. W. Flagler in person; and one of four eight-inch mortars, commanded by Second Lieut. M. F. Prouty, of company C, Twenty-fifth Massachusetts volunteers. Capt. Morris was assisted by First Lieut. Cowan and Second Lieut. Pollock ; Lieut. Flagler by Capt. Duncan A. Pell, of Gen. Burnside's staff, and Capt. Ammon, of the Third New-York artillery; Lieut. Prouty in part by Capt. Caswell and his fighting sailor, James Judge. The mortars were worked by detachments from company I, Third New-York artillery, the Parrotts by Capt. Morris's own regulars. The batteries were all constructed at the rear of the sand-hills, the sides and front being formed of sand-bags, of which the walls of the service-magazine were also made. The platforms were laid as substantially as the shifting nature of the sand would allow, and suitable embrasures were constructed for the Parrott guns. The ten-inch mortars were placed furthest from the Fort, the distance being one thousand six hundred and fifty yards; the Parrott guns were two hundred yards directly in front; and the eight-inch mortars two hundred yards still further on, and a little nearer the beach. Besides these, a small rifled howitzer was taken from the little captured steamer North State and placed in battery, in charge of Capt. Caswell of that vessel and some of his crew.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
A. E. Burnside (4)
Charles O. White (3)
Lewis O. Morris (3)
D. W. Flagler (3)
Biggs (3)
M. F. Prouty (2)
Duncan A. Pell (2)
Caswell (2)
Pollock (1)
Parke (1)
James Judge (1)
Franklin (1)
Cowan (1)
Joseph E. Canaday (1)
Shackleford Banks (1)
Ammon (1)
J. W. Allen (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: