Jesse L. Reno
, and the Twenty-third, Twenty-fourth, Twenty-fifth, and Twenty-seventh Regiments, in the First Brigade, commanded by Brigadier-General John G. Foster
The most intense interest was felt in Massachusetts
for the safety and success of this expedition.
The report reached Boston
, on the twenty-third day of January, that shipwreck and disaster had befallen the fleet, which gave pain to many hearts.
The report, however, proved groundless, although the ships had encountered a succession of severe storms for nearly two weeks the ships were at sea; great difficulty was encountered in crossing the bar at Cape Hatteras
, which was at length successfully surmounted.
When the fleet came to anchor off Roanoke Island
, an escaped slave came on board the ship to General Burnside
, with whom he had a long interview, and gave much valuable information in regard to the best place to land, and the force of the enemy on the island.
The troops disembarked on the seventh day of February.
A detachment of General Foster
's Brigade, and the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts, was the first regiment to land and invade the soil of North Carolina
The capture of the island, the bravery exhibited by the troops, and the large number of prisoners taken from the rebels, made it one of the most successful and brilliant exploits, up to that time, of the war. The Massachusetts
regiments were conspicuous for their bravery and good conduct, and captured three rebel regimental colors.
On the reception of the news of Burnside
's success, great joy was felt throughout the Commmonwealth, although many homes were made desolate by the death of members who had fought, and won the victory.
The news of the battle reached Massachusetts
on the fifteenth day of February; the battle having been fought on the eighth.
The Legislature was in session; and a number of the members requested the Governor
to send a special agent to the island to take care of the wounded.
He at once selected, with great judgment, Hon. Alfred Hitchcock
, of Fitchburg
, a member of the Executive Council, and one of the most experienced and skilful surgeons in the State
The doctor reached the island in the quickest possible time, where his services as a surgeon were put in immediate requisition.
He remained there