We have published full particulars of the recent capture of a large number of the members of the Indiana Twentieth regiment, on beard the Steamer Fanny,
near Cape Hatteras
, and also of the subsequent retreat of the regiment.
We find in the Indianapolis Journal
several letters from a member of the Indiana
troops at Hatteras
, which are quite amusing, and throw new light upon some of the statements already laid before our readers, About the last of September the greater part of the regiment had been sent about forty miles from Fort Hatteras, and by the 2d of October were short of provisions.
The events which followed are thus described:
The steamer Fanny--the Confederate steamers in Right — a sharp Engagement — capture of the Fanny, &c.
--About P. M. the Farny with the batteau to take off supplies.
We found her aground, two miles from shore, heavily loaded with provisions and ammunition, in charge of some thirty of our men, the crew, and ten of Hawkins
's Zouaves to man the guns, of which there were two.
Taking enough provisions in the skiff for supper, we left, and were followed by the barge, heavily loaded with ammunition, tents and provisions."
The provisions and ammunition in the barge and skiff were safely landed.
The letter then continues:
Shortly after the steamer loomed up in the distance, followed by another, and then another, and then they all three commenced firing heavy guns at the Fanny
She returned the fire for a time, moved a little from her first position, but soon got aground again and the rebel steamers closing, soon captured her, and all the ammunition and provisions left on board.
It was an exciting scene, and the whole regiment was drawn up on the beach to witness the battle.
We could see the puff of smoke and the splash of the shot and shell in the water, but could not hear the report; owing to the wind blowing off shore, and the distance.
It was an exciting scene and a mortifying one for there were we, seven hundred strong, ready and eager to take part in the battle, yet not a gun-boat, not a piece of artillery, nothing but a dozen fishing skiffs to cope with these steamers.
We had to stand like children and see our boat, our provisions, and our men captured before our eyes.
Hatteras Inlet, Oct. 7.
On the 4th of October, at 5 o'clock in the morning, a fleet of vessels hove in sight on Pamnco Sound, and a few officers and soldiers gathered, out of curiosity, on the beach, to witness their approach on. They were thought to be our vessels and from their number, we judged that some of them were prizes, as there had been evidence of a fight on the Sound
the day previous.
Upon nearer approach, the strange action of the fleet in showing no colors, and their peculiar signals, gave rise to a suspicion that they were rebel steamers.
The fleet consisted of seven steamers, two schooners, one floating battery, and a number of transports for landing troops.
By the aid of spy-glasses it was discovered that the enemy had at least three thousand troops aboard their vessels, and that arrangements were being made to land them under cover of the bombardment.
The island is here about half a mile wide, and the guns, in some cases, threw shell clear over it into the ocean.
Our force was 550 men, one company being seven miles south of us, guarding a landing, and three companies having been left at Fortress Monroe
The writer says of the intentions of the enemy
They intended, after taking us, to rush down the beach in force, and, with light draught steamers on the Sound
, to take Forts Hatteras and Clark
, as they swore that they had built them, and they would have them.
And they would have done it had not our regiment run the gauntlet and foiled them.
No later than yesterday they chained the United States
plump into Hatteras
under the very guns of the fort.
The excitement was intense.
The enemy were preparing to land, our troops waiting to receive them, when Colonel Brown
received a peremptory order from Colonel Hawkins
A meeting of the commissioned officers was called, and it was decided that, under the circumstances.
it was most judicious to retreat.
And we sorrowfully turned our backs on our camp and prepared for the long march to Hatteras
light- house, where we expected reinforcements from Colonel Hawkins
It was now 9 o'clock in the morning.
A terrible march along the sand beach.
The sun was shining on the white sand of the beach, heating the air as if it were a furnace.
The men had neither provisions nor water.
The haste in which they had rushed to repel the enemy prevented this and it was too late to go back to camp.
It was a march I shall never forget.
The first ten miles was terrible.
No water, the men unused to long marches, the sand heavy, and the feet of the men sinking into it at every step, and a point below to be gained in order to join company F.
to prevent their being cut off. As the regiment pushed along, man after man would stagger from the ranks and fall upon the hot sand.
But the most sorrowful sight of all was the Islanders leaving their homes from fear of the enemy.
They could be seen in groups, sometimes with a little cart carrying their provisions, but mostly with nothing, fleeing for dear life.
Mothers carrying their babes, fathers leading along little boys grandfathers and grandmothers struggling along from homes they had never left before.
Reliving on our protection, they had been our friends, but in an evil hour we were compelled to leave them.
We toiled on, the heat most intense, and no water.
Hunger was nothing in comparison with thirst.
It was maddening.
The sea rolling at our feet and nothing to drink.
Man after man wandered towards the Sound
to drink the water of the marshes.
I started to take a scout to watch the movements of the enemy's vessels I skirted the Sound
for some ten miles. In every clump of bushes I would find men utterly exhausted.
The enemy's vessels were now nearly opposite, a coming down the Sound
to cut off our retreat.
I would tell them this, but they would say, "They did not care, they would die there, so utterly hopeless did they seem.
A Miraculous escape.
We reached the narrow inlet about five miles above Hatteras
light-house, and here our great danger was at once seen.
The fleet of the enemy had drawn up in flue, so as to sweep the beach and render a passage impossible, but had neglected to land their men.--It was now near twilight.
The clouds in the west reflected the bright tints of the sun, and showed us the enemy in the foreground.
In the east heavy gray clouds lowered, and our uniforms corresponding hid us from their view, as we silently stole along, the four of the surf drowning the footsteps of the men and the commands of the officers, yet every little while we would watch expecting to see the flash of the enemy's cannon, or hear the report of the bursting shell in our little band It was a narrow escape, and a providential one, and our Colonel
was affected to tears at the danger we had passed.
The men reached the light-house in safety and were there reinforced, and provided with water and provisions.