Hatteras Inlet, January 21.We feel somewhat encouraged to-day, in the brightening prospect for soon getting over the bar into deep water. Gen. Burnside has been disappointed in the arrival of four or five tugs, chartered at Annapolis, which have not yet made their appearance. This loss has been partially supplied by three tugs, which were sent from Philadelphia, with orders to proceed to Port Royal, but which were compelled, by stress of weather, to put back to this point, after going within about a hundred miles of their destination. Their experience of the rough sea outside, has rendered them unfit for service, except in smooth water, and they are therefore compelled to remain here, where their presence is of great value to the expedition. The steamers are the Phenix, the Patuxent, and the Pilot Boy. Gen. Burnside has kept them constantly employed in conducting vessels.over the shoals, outside and inside. The vessels of the naval fleet, formerly a portion of the North-Atlantic blockading squadron, under Flag-Officer Goldsborough, have been over the swash, and in deep water, with few exceptions, the last two days. The veteran declares his readiness to go into action in ten minutes, should the enemy have the temerity to appear. The delay at present, is occasioned by the difficulty in getting the transports over the shoal water. The vessels of the naval fleet have been selected with a full knowledge of the depth of water in the waters to be navigated, and the maximum draft has been limited to eight feet. But little difficulty has been experienced in getting these vessels over, but the movements of the entire expedition are hampered by the depth of water required for our transports. The first of the large transports has just got over the swash, by the high tide of to-night, after having been aground three days between the floodtides. The steamer Cossack, after having been lightened of everything that increased her depth, even to blowing the water out of her boilers, succeeded, at eleven o'clock this evening, in gaining water beyond the swash, ten feet deep. The discharge of heavy guns this afternoon, in the direction of the deep waters of the sound, attracted some attention at the headquarters of the fleet, and it is said to have been occasioned by the proximity of two rebel gunboats. They were chased by three or four of our most advanced gunboats, but they soon showed their heels. Two or three thirty-two-pound shot were sent after them, but they were beyond range, and in a short time entirely out of sight. They must have considerable anxiety in relation to the force now collected at this point, to venture so near in order to gratify curiosity. The floating battery (canal — boat) Grapeshot, which was being towed to this point by the steamer New-Brunswick, became disabled off Cape Hatteras, and was cut loose. She had no stores on board, and her crew were removed to the steamer.Hatteras Inlet, January 22.Our hopes of a speedy movement are steadily increasing. Several additional vessels were brought over the swash last night, although the night was dark as a starless and foggy night can be. This morning several others were brought over, and they continue to come. The time of our advance is even becoming defined, and it may take place within forty-eight hours. A strong north-east wind is blowing, the effect of which is to increase the water over the bulkhead, as it arrests the passage of the water through the inlets above this point, and consequently forces more through Hatteras Inlet. We are now about two miles from the anchorage ground at the inlet, in a north and easterly direction. Communication with the beach is exceedingly difficult, from the strong tide which rushes in from the sea.Hatteras Inlet, January 28.The underground railroad seems to be the favorite mode of communication with the enemy. We daily hear of arrivals by this line, the ramifications of which seem to be as diverse as the stories told by the passengers. Confidence in the sagacity of General Burnside leads me to believe, however, that he will not be governed to any great extent, by the reports of highly imaginative travellers by the North Star. There are at present forty-five or fifty contrabands who have succeeded in escaping from thraldom and have reached this point by, according to their own reports, the most hairbreadth escapes and by positive interpositions of Providence. They are quartered outside of Fort Hatteras, in a wooden building bearing the sign of “Hotel d'afrique,” in well-painted German characters. About a week ago five or six arrived in a small boat, in a condition to warrant a belief in their highly embellished story. They were gaunt from hunger, exhausted by fatigue, and in rags. They escaped from the northern counties of North-Carolina, about two months ago, and spent five or six weeks in the woods, living on roots and herbs, after which they succeeded in stealing a boat, in which they descended Roanoke Sound on the eastern side of Roanoke Island. As they passed the island they were hailed by the sentinels, and, pretending to stop rowing, allowed their boat to drift past with the tide until they were at some distance from the sentries. They then struck boldly out, when several shots were fired at them, none of which struck them. They reported the island literally covered with rebels. Yesterday another arrival of two negroes from the region of Roanoke, reports the island deserted, the rebels having established themselves on the mainland across Croatan Sound, where they have erected masked batteries. A knowledge of the position of Roanoke Island, and the sands on both sides, would indicate some truth in this last report. From past experience the North-Carolinians must know the great risk attending the strengthening of an island from
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 2 .-fight at Port Royal, S. C. January 1 , 1862 .
Doc . 82 .-fight in Hampton roads , Va. , March 8th and 9th , 1862 .
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.