The whole siege-train, then, consisted of eight mortars and three rifled cannon, (if we except the small howitzer, which, however good in a ship's launch, can hardly be termed a siege-piece.) On the two barges towed down by the Alice Price, were four thirty-pound Parrotts and a twelve-pound Wiard steel gun, protected by bales of wet hay and cotton, which formed temporary embrasures. It was intended to place two of these Parrotts in battery on Shackleford Banks last night, in case the siege had been protracted, and Capt. Biggs had made all necessary arrangements to that effect. Outside the Banks, lying off and on in readiness to take part in the attack, were the gunboats Daylight, Commodore S. Lockwood; State of Georgia, Commander J. F. Armstrong; Chippewa, Lieut. Commanding A. Bryson; and the armed bark Gemsbok, Acting Lieut. Commanding E. Cavendy. The whole squadron carried about thirty guns, but as their participation in the bombardment was rendered short on account of the heavy sea which was running, their metal can hardly be taken into the account. At half-past 6 o'clock yesterday morning the watch on the Alice Price discovered a flag of truce coming from the Fort. The signal was answered, and the Price moved down toward the boat, which headed for Shackleford beach, and the party in her landed. The Price's first cutter was lowered, and Gen. Burnside and Capt. Biggs were rowed ashore. From the steamer we could see the formalities of an introduction, by Capt. Biggs, of a tall, slim, soldierly man to Gen. Burnside; and we subsequently learned that a meeting had been arranged on Wednesday for Capt. Biggs and Col. White, who were at West-Point together and had long been on terms of intimacy. The opportunity was embraced by Gen. Burnside to converse with the rebel colonel in person, and the meeting was characterized by the utmost courtesy of demeanor on both sides. In the course of an hour the General returned on board, and the Price was moved back to her previous anchorage. At ten o'clock the Fort opened fire as usual on our forces down the Spit; but no reply was made, as the signal had not been given. The firing was kept up at intervals all day, numerous charges of canister and shell being thrown from the battery of small carronades on the beach face of the Fort. The Eighth Connecticut was on duty all day in the trenches, and it is really surprising that no accidents (beyond the amputation of a man's great toe by a fragment of shell) should have occurred. In the afternoon a mail was sent from the Fort to Beaufort under flag of truce, in charge of Capt. Pool; and the letters containing nothing of an objectionable nature, were delivered by Major Allen. The very. fact that this mail was sent would seem to show that no definite idea of the nature or condition of our batteries had been formed in the Fort, even with the aid of the observations from the flagstaff-crosstrees. The nature of the ground was such, in fact, as to afford concealment and shelter to our men; and although the enemy had surveyed and staked the beach for a distance of one thousand five hundred yards, and directed his fire with great precision, round-shot flew harmlessly over the sand-hills, and shells, in bursting, almost spent their force in scooping out the sand in which they would bury themselves. Gen. Parke was thus enabled to construct his batteries in comparative safety, the only casualties to be feared being those from fragments of shell which had burst in the air. From his preliminary reconnaissance until the completion of the batteries and magazines, only thirteen days elapsed, and of this a part was used in the transport of ordnance and materials across Bogue Sound from Carolina City. It will therefore be understood that neither Capt. Williamson, Capt. Morris, nor Lieut. Flagler could have idled much; in fact, they deserve the greatest credit for the untiring zeal which they displayed in the prosecution of their work, the greater part of which had to be done under the fire of the twenty-one guns of the Fort, which bore directly upon them. While these three officers are all brave, it will not perhaps be deemed invidious to particularize the behavior of Captain Williamson, whose perfect insensibility to fear is proverbial. At Newbern his reconnoissances of the enemy's position were made with a daring seldom witnessed; and on the banks here the same trait has been exemplified. One day when in the batteries, he was anxious to verify the measurements between the distance-stakes of the enemy, as they might have been intended as a blind to mislead us. I saw him go out on the sand-hills in plain sight of the Fort, and with the assistance of Lieut. Pollock, apply his tape to the ground for a distance of two hundred yards; this, when he was not more than one thousand four hundred yards from the muzzles of Col. White's guns. the bombardment. It has already been remarked in this correspondence that Gen. Burnside never willingly undertakes an important enterprise on Sunday or Friday; the first because he regards the day as one of rest, and the other because so many men, and especially sailors, hold a superstition in regard to its influence on results. And yet it has curiously happened that each of these brilliant victories which his army has won, was commenced or accomplished on Friday. At Roanoke the naval engagement occurred on Friday, and the army was landed; the battle of Newbern was fought on the same day of the week; and this other great success was achieved on the same day. It is intimated also that the General was married on Friday; so that the day, however fraught with misfortunes to others, may clearly be regarded as his “wheat ear” time. An order was sent to him by Gen. Parke on Thursday to open fire, but owing to some delay or misunderstanding, not a gun was fired until yesterday morning. We were all astir at daylight, for we knew well enough that General Parke had given the necessary order on the evening previous. Along the river-front of Beaufort a score of glasses were kept pointed at the banks, where, through the
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Doc . 2 .-fight at Port Royal, S. C. January 1 , 1862 .
Doc . 82 .-fight in Hampton roads , Va. , March 8th and 9th , 1862 .
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