previous next

[100] minutes. The opinion, gains ground that the battery is silenced, and that a force landed now will meet with but little resistance. The impatience of Gen. Burnside increases, and he orders the anchor of the Spaulding hauled up with the design of landing with the Rhode Island Fifth battalion, and Col. Ferrero's Shepard Rifles. He said: “If I can get two thousand men ashore, I am all right.” A small cove, known as Ashby's harbor, about two miles south of the battery, is indicated by Gen. Burnside as the point at which the troops are to be landed. The position is marked by a house, the residence of Capt. Ashby. Gen. Burnside instructed Lieut. Andrews to take a boat's crew with ten soldiers, and pull toward the shore, and examine the character of the water at the landing. The enterprise was not unattended with danger, as the sequel proved.

Lieut. Andrews has made a reputation for fearlessness and judgment, by the cool manner in which he took the soundings, and the complete success of his examination of the landing. Lieut. Andrews is a son of Mr. Stephen P. Andrews, of New-York, and is topographical officer on Gen. Burnside's staff. He is a lieutenant in Colonel Hawkins's Zouave regiment, and has acted as topographical engineer on Gen. Williams's staff. He has made soundings of many localities here, and several reconnoissances. After sounding the water, he went ashore, and looking about a short time became convinced that some guns were stationed so as to command the landing, and the glitter of bayonets of two companies were seen near them. He returned to the boat and shoved off, when about thirty men sprang up from the tall grass, and discharged their muskets at the boat. One of the bullets passed near the Lieutenant, and took effect in the lower jaw of Charles A. Viall, of the Fifth Rhode Island regiment, inflicting a severe but not dangerous wound. A young contraband, who escaped to Hatteras about a week before, belonging to Joseph M. Daniel, of Roanoke Island, was sent by General Burnside with Lieut. Andrews to point out Ashby's harbor. Much valuable information was gained from this boy, who is unusually intelligent, although illiterate. His name is Thomas R. Robinson.

The bombardment is steadily kept up by our vessels, and is replied to feebly by the battery. Our missiles seem, from on board the transports, to be well directed; the sand and water close to the battery, are constantly thrown up fifty feet into the air. Signals having been made to the transport fleet to make all possible haste, they are now rapidly approaching, and preparations are being made to land. Gen. Burnside makes the remark, “That battery is about silenced; I will take these troops and land,” but the battery opens afresh, and sends several well-directed shot in among our gunboats. A shot from our fleet has just carried away the flag-staff of the battery, and an officer (afterward ascertained to be Major Hill) plants a regimental confederate flag on the work, and the firing is continued.

At one o'clock a dense column of smoke is seen to arise from the battery, and the quarters of the garrison are evidently on fire. A shell from the Picket, which has just come into action, burst among the corn-husks and dry materials in the barracks, and set fire to the temporary board quarters of the soldiers. In a few minutes a lurid flame bursts from the thick black smoke, and leaps upward. The entire work seems to be enveloped in the smoke of the burning buildings, but the white smoke of their cannon springs out yet. Their fire, however, is slackened, and the fire from our vessels is also slackened, evidently supposing the resisting powers of the battery to be nearly exhausted. The flames from the quarters are partially subdued, and the fire of the battery is recommenced, our gunboats replying with increased vigor. The fire from our vessels for half an hour is exceedingly lively, and the flames seem to gain on the garrison, who keep up their fire from one gun with unabated energy. The entire quarters are now apparently enveloped in smoke and flame, but the gun from the battery booms forth at intervals, steadily maintaining the fight, and sending its shot ricochetting along the water, but their aim is bad. Scarcely any of their shot strike our vessels.

All acknowledge the resistance of the rebels to be most determined. The slackening of our fire when theirs slackened was an acknowledgment of the bravery of the garrison, for during the whole bombardment all supposed our fire to be terribly destructive, and a desire to prevent further blood-shed prevailed throughout the fight.

The flames within the enemy's work having again been partially subdued, their fire recommences with some briskness, but with very little effect on our gunboats. Our vessels have gained a nearer range, and every few minutes shot and shell rain on the battery, and are seen to strike in and about it with great precision.

A movement among the rebel gunboats, apparently to flank our fleet and attack the transports, is prevented by Flag-Officer Goldsborough, who sends three or four gunboats out in the direction of the mainland, on seeing which, the rebels abandon the attempt and retire further up the sound.

The flames from the barracks are again extending, and have broken out in other places. They continue their fire, but with less vigor. Twenty minutes elapse between the discharges from the battery. The time of each discharge is carefully noted by the spectators, in expectation that it will prove to be the last shot from the battery. Half-hours now elapse between the discharges, and it is expected that the work is about being abandoned.

The rebel gunboats which retired up the sound again appear near Wier's Point, coming down to engage our vessels. This was evidently intended to draw our attention from the landing of reenforcements on the east side of the point. A brisk contest ensued between the rebel vessels and three or four of our boats, which resulted in one of the rebels hauling off toward the mainland and running ashore, where she was soon seen enveloped

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 Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Roanoke Island (North Carolina, United States) (1)
New York (New York, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: