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my dear mother,—My last letter left me on board the schooner Colonel Patterly, having just arrived in Hatteras Inlet. From thence I was transferred on board Commodore Goldsborough's flag-ship, to act as signal officer on his staff. I cannot describe to you the change from the dirty quarters and short rations of the schooner to the elegant cabin and table of the Commodore. Our mess consists of the flag-officer, Captain Case, and three naval officers. The day after we came on board, the expedition sailed the weather was fine, and the fleet, as it steamed up the Sound, presented a grand sight. Towards night we anchored within ten or fifteen miles of Roanoke Island, waiting for morning, to commence the fight. Captain Case ordered Tom Robeson, who is also on the Commodore's staff, to be ready to go on board the gunboat Southfield at daybreak. I went to bed, and about twelve o'clock the flag-officer's servant awakened me to go on deck and signal to General Burnside. Early in the morning we got up, and went on board the Southfield. The day proved stormy, and we were unable to engage the enemy; but the next day proving fine, we stood in, the Southfield leading the way. At half past 10 the action commenced, the force of the enemy consisting of eight steam gunboats, supported by two forts and a battery. At first I felt as though my last hour had come, for I was stationed on the roof of the pilot-house. Every minute I expected to be hit; but in quarter of an hour it all passed off, and I paid no more attention to the shell. All day the firing continued, the transports remaining in the rear. At five o'clock the flag-officer signalled to Burnside to land, we covering the landing; and before dark most of the troops were ashore. The Commodore then ordered the fleet to close with the batteries. Then the firing was tremendous; the shell were rained into the fort, but the men stood to their guns like heroes. Then it was I had the luckiest escape of the day. Several times the shell came very near us. I was standing on the pilot-house, when a round shot from the fort struck at my feet within six inches of me. An old man of-war'sman fell with a splinter in his head; and he remarked, as he put his hand up to his temple, that it was a “Damn good shot, sir.” It now being night, we drew off, and I assure you we felt quite gloomy; we had silenced none of their batteries, and all our gunboats had been hit, some of them disabled, and many lives had been lost. We had indeed landed the army without losing a single man; but we knew that on the next day a battle on shore would have to be fought for the possession of the island. Early in the morning we stood in and

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Roanoke Island (North Carolina, United States) (2)

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