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[255] me by actual measurement, and hundreds from six feet to a boat's length.

In this battle he made the very first use under fire of the new signal system, and he was promised that a pair of signal flags should be specially prepared for him in recognition of this, with his initials upon them; but he never received them. During the following month his eyes troubled him considerably, having been injured by their arduous employment, and he began to think of returning to his regiment. On March 11th General Burnside's expedition sailed from Roanoke Island for Newbern, North Carolina, Lieutenant Robeson being still quartered on the flag-steamer Philadelphia, as signal officer. In a letter written March 15th he gives some account of the battle of Newbern:—

We arrived Wednesday evening at Slocum's Creek, the place where we were to land our troops, after a beautiful day's sail up the Neuse River, and anchored there for the night. Early Thursday morning we began to land the troops, our gunboats shelling the shore in every direction to drive away any Rebels that might be there. The army were landed very rapidly, and by two o'clock commenced their march towards Newbern, a distance of about twelve miles,—the gunboats keeping up a constant fire on the shore in advance. I was on the gunboat Delaware, Commodore Rowan's flag-ship for the fight, which led the fleet up. We had to proceed in single file, as the river is full of all sorts of obstructions, such as torpedoes, piles pointed with iron, and sunken vessels. About three o'clock one of the batteries opened upon us, and continued firing for a short time; but they did not come very near us, and it came on rainy and foggy, so about six we drew off. The army marched about seven miles without meeting any of the enemy, and encamped for the night.

At seven in the morning I went on board the Delaware with Commodore Rowan, and proceeded slowly up the river in a dense fog. At half past 7 the firing commenced on shore, and we commenced firing at the batteries. There were four forts along the shore, mounting thirty-two guns in all. They fired at us, each in turn, as we came up; but none of them held out more than an hour, deserting their forts as the army advanced. At half past 10 they signalled to me from the shore that they had taken the island

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