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[116] seven hundred were soldiers. There were four hundred and fifty absent and sick, leaving one thousand two hundred and fifty for all duty. From these, five batteries had to be manned, leaving, on the morning of the eighth, only eight hundred and three North-Carolina infantry reported for duty. These had not been paid, or clothed, or fed, or drilled. The island had no implements for the labor on the works, no teams but two pair of broken-down mules, and no horses for field-artillery. There were but three pieces of field-artillery--one twenty-four pounder, one eighteen pounder, and one brass howitzer — the mules drew the latter, and the men the heavier pieces through the sand. There was only twelve-pounder ammunition for any of the large pieces. The forts, built on the island before Gen. Wise was assigned to the command, were all in the wrong places — at the north end of the island — leaving all the landings on the south end uncovered by a single battery. No breastworks had been made, and there were no tools to make any — the marshes at the south end of the island had no defensive works upon them. But one steam-tug and two barges were provided, and there were no means of retreat either by tugs or ferry — thus it will be seen there were provided no means of defence, and still less of escape, though timely notice and a providential warning of twenty-five days had been given. To the crime of inefficient defence, is to be added an interference with Gen. Wise's orders by Gen. Huger, who was utterly ignorant of the country he was to have defended. Gen. Wise ordered Gen. Henningsen to send the artillery-horses by the beach-road, and the guns by the Currituck section of the Albemarle Canal, where they could be towed to the island. This order Gen. Huger changed, and thus no artillery reached the island.

The cavalry of the Wise Legion had been detained in Richmond.

But four hundred and fifty of the Wise Legion, and two companies of North-Carolina infantry, got into the fight; the balance of the North-Carolina infantry were held in reserve.

Unfortunately, Gen. Wise was prostrated on the second day after his arrival at Nag's Head, with pleurisy, threatening pneumonia. He had been at Nag's Head about nine days. Though in painful illness, he issued all necessary orders, and sent over the troops. He ordered a division of the whole force on the island--one third to cover the landing at Pugh's, one third the landing at Ashby's, and one third to be held in reserve. These orders were not executed — no force was put at Pugh's, and Col. Jordan, who was placed at Ashby's, fell back without a struggle from the enemy's landing. Under cover of a steamer, on the evening of the seventh, the enemy landed ten thousand men, after having bombarded the forts on the seventh for six hours and a half.

There was no wharf for our boats to land at, and Col. Anderson's men had to leap into water four feet deep, and wade ashore.

On the night of the seventh, Capt. Wise with ten of the Blues and ten of the Rangers was on picket; the next morning, with his twenty men and the balance of the Rangers, he drove in the enemy's pickets and brought on the action early in the morning; but it did not become general until half-past 7 or eight o'clock. After driving in the pickets he was ordered with his battalion — the Blues and Capt. Coles's company — to cover the left flank, Col. Shaw thinking the right well protected by a deep-looking cypress swamp. About ten o'clock Capt. Wise found his battalion exposed to the galling fire of a regiment; turning to Capt. Coles, he said: “This fire is very hot; tell Col. Anderson we must fall back or be reinforced.” Capt. Coles turned to pass the order and was shot through the heart, dying instantly. Capt. Wise was wounded first in the arm and next through the lungs, which latter wound threw him to the ground. He was borne to the hospital in charge of the gallant Surgeon Coles, and received two additional wounds while being borne from the field. That evening Surgeon Coles put him into a boat to send him to Nag's Head, but the enemy fired upon it, and he was obliged to return. The enemy seemed to regret this, and treated him very kindly, taking him out of the boat on a mattress, and starting back to the hospital. The next day about eleven o'clock A. M., he calmly and in his perfect senses, without suffering, softly passed away. Colonel Hawkins and Lieut.-Col. Betts, of Nineteenth New-York regiment, were with him when he died, and wept like generous-hearted soldiers. The former said: “There is a brave man.”

Capts. Wise, Coles, and Selden were special marks for the enemy — the latter did terrible execution with his gun. The enemy admit three hundred killed and wounded, while our estimate of their loss is from four hundred to six hundred.

The Zouaves approached our lines under a white flag, causing our men to mistake it for a surrender. They arose and gave three cheers, and the enemy fired upon them in the act of cheering. They then en masse literally crowded upon and crushed our battery of field-pieces, and about the same time the enemy passed through the cypress swamp which Col. Shaw thought impassable, and turned the right flank. They also turned the left after Capts. Wise and Coles fell, and thus cut off the retreat of our forces across Roanoke Sound to the beach, and thus the struggle ended about one P. M., but the fighting was kept up irregularly all that day and part of Sunday. Col. Shaw ordered a retreat early, and Col. Jordan's men were completely demoralized by his order to take care of themselves. Lieut.-Col. Green and Major Fry never got into action.

Thus four hundred and fifty men of the Wise Legion and North-Carolina infantry, fought upwards of five thousand of the enemy, at an in defensible place for five hours and a half--losing at the outside twelve killed and thirty wounded, whilst damaging the enemy from three hundred to five hundred; counting to the enemy for every man of the Wise Legion engaged man for man. The fighting was against all odds, and none was ever cooler, firmer, or more stubborn. General

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