The Roanoke fight,
description of the fight.
bravery of General Anderson.
&c., &c., &c.
[Special Correspondence of the Dispatch.]
Norfolk, February 12, 1862.
We glean the following addtional particulars from a member of the Ben McCulloch Rangers
, who participated in the fight at Roanoke Island
He states that, on Friday, about eighty ships have in sight, about fifty opening a heavy cannonade on the Island
about half-past 8 o'clock, which was kept up until dark.
A number of their ships were only about two miles off, and, though their fire was very fierce, little or no damage was done to the batteries.
On Saturday very few guns were fired from the shipping.
The enemy effected a landing at the east end of the island early in the morning, and marched up towards our entrenchments.
About 9 o'clock the Richmond Blues, Ben McCulloch Rangers, and Capt. Coles
's company, who had been sent out in advance, met the enemy, whom they supposed numbered about 6,000, and, when within good distance, opened a heavy fire of infantry, which told with effect upon the ranks of the enemy.
The enemy, who were being constantly reinforced, moved rapidly forward, and our three companies fell back to their entrenchments.
We then opened a howitzer and a volley of musketry on them, which cut down the ranks of the enemy most fearfully, and their shrieks and groans could be heard distinctly and were frightful to hear.
He then tried to flank us, and we drove him back.
The New York Zouaves, especially, were driven into the river up to their necks.
Rallying, they came up the third time and closed in upon us at the entrenchments, and, after spiking the guns, we retreated, constantly turning to give them fire.
While on the retreat, we were reinforced by a Georgia regiment.
The enemy opened a heavy volley of infantry, and all retreated in confusion.
, in the midst of the fight, rode up to Col. Shaw
, and asked for reinforcements; but Col. Shaw
replied that it was useless to contest with such overwhelming numbers.
On receiveing this answer, Col. Anderson
sat down for a moment and cried bitterly; then taking his sword, he broke it in pieces, got upon his horse, and rode off. He is supposed to have been taken prisoner.
All agree in awarding to Col. Anderson
the highest bravery.
C. Jennings Wise
, of your city, was among the bravest of the field.
He was shot in the back and thigh, and nobly fell urging his men on. He was picked up in a blanket, and while being carried to the hospital, was pierced by two of the enemy's balls, which killed him.
It will ever be a pleasure to record the bravery of Col. Anderson
and Capt. Wise
--Nobly and well did they breast the shock of the encounter, despite the fury of the battle.
And to our brave troops must be accorded all the honors of the soldier.
Side by side with their gallant commanders, they fought with unflinching courage.
And to those noble spirits slain, history will not be silent — Though dead, the memory of their deeds is embalmed in every Southern heart.
, of the Rangers, are captured.
, of Wise
's Legion, arrived in our city yesterday.
Commissary's Sergeant Rice
, of Col. Shaw
's regiment, was captured.
was shot through the head and died instantly.
is safe and recovering from his illness Major Huff
is supposed to be captured.
About sixty escaped of our men, the rest were either taken prisoners or killed.
Five of the Rangers escaped, four are with Gen. Wise
--two sergeants, one corporal, and two privates; the two privates are in the city.
, son of Dr. Selden
, of our city, was killed while bravely defending the battery.
Thus we close the scene of this fearful contest.
The number killed and wounded on our side we cannot say; that of the enemy, by thier own confession, is about one thousand.
Think of our little Spartan band opposing overwhelming odds; think of the tenacity with which they stood to their battery, never leaving it until the overwhelming force of the enemy, compelled them to retreat; witness the courage and intrepid bravery with which they encountered the foe while on the field.
Had we been reinforced by three regiments the enemy must have been whipped.
Three times were the New York Zouaves repulsed, driven in the water, and nearly drowned.
, at Old Point
, on receiving the news that one thousand of the Yankees
had been killed, replied, he did not care a d.--n how many were killed, so they won the day. These are the cowardly ruffians we fight; and it becomes the people of the whole South
to awaken to the importance of this disaster.
I am most happy to relieve the anxiety of many of your readers, by stating that but very few, as far as known, of the Richmond Blues were killed, most of them having been taken prisoners.
The enemy at Roanoke Island
has captured three of our gunboats, among them the Fanny
When our informant left the Stars and Stripes were waving at the mast-head of each.
By good fortune, we saved three. One--the Forrest
— we succeeded in burning, to prevent her falling into the hands of the enemy.
It is reported, but not generally confirmed, that Capt. McCarrick
and son are captured.
Our little gun-boats fought well, while our battery succeeded in sinking three or four of the enemy's shipping.
One midshipman had his arm shot off, another was killed.
The enemy is reported six or eight miles from South Mills
, with a strong force.
It behooves our authorities to act as hastily and judiciously as possible.
Norfolk, Feb. 12.
The excitement occasioned by the defeat at Roanoke Island
has measurably subsided.
An opinion seems to prevail that there has been inefficiency, a lack of skill, or criminal neglect somewhere — perhaps all combined.
I am not yet prepared, judging from the facts in my possession, to charge any person with negligence or incapacity in regard to this important battle.
It has been fought under every possible disadvantage.
It was a gallant and brilliant attempt to defend Southern soil from the usurpers who seek to deprive us of our homes.
The responsibility rests upon some person.
And it may be found, under all the circumstances of the affair, that the defeat will result to the advantage of the Southern
Our troops are rapidly re-enlisting, and thousands will rush in to rally around the standard of liberty, and to defend our soil from the aggressive march of our mercenary foes.
Judging from the facts already elicited in regard to the battle at Roanoke Island
, I unhesitatingly assert that greater bravery and a more determined resistance have not been made during the war, than by the inconsiderable force placed at the disposal of General Wise
It was the most unequal contest of the war, and the fighting was almost equal in desperation to any on record.
The most important facts relative to our fleet and its fate have been furnished you by telegraph.
It is believed that the Beanfort, Raleigh
, and Empire escaped, or at least reached the south and of the Dismal Swamp canal
That our gunboats should have lacked a sufficiency of ammunition, is lamentable, and indicates a want of foresight, if not unpardonable neglect.
But upon whom the responsibility rested, I am not sufficiently advised to say now. The blame will soon enough be placed where it should lie.
I am gratified to state that indomitable partiot, statesman, and orator, General Wise
, escaped from the clutches of those who so earnestly desired to have him in their
power. The condition of his health is improving, and if he is properly sustained in his active efforts to defend the position he has taken, the Yankees
will make but little progress towards the railroads of Virginia
and North Carolina
for the purpose of cutting off our supplies.
The death of Capt. O. J. Wise
, of the Blues, of your city, and well known for his gallantry and commanding talents, is much lamented here, as it will be wherever he was known, and his true worth of character properly appreciated.
It is stated that after he was wounded, and while he was being borne from the field, a ball from the gun of a Federal soldier passed through his body, and that he died almost instantly.
Other gallant men have fallen in this engagement, where ten thousand Federal troops swarmed around a thousand as brave men as ever met upon a battle field.
If the wretch Doe
, who is siad to have deserted and gone to the enemy, and given information of our forces and fortifications, was really suspected before he got off to the enemy, he should have been promptly arrested, and held in custody until the battle was over.
Surely, he should at the first moment of suspicion have been put in irons and vigilantly watched.
The statement that Edenton
has fallen into the hands of the enemy is not confirmed, although it is believed that the Yankees
will soon attempt to take possession not only of the handsome town alluded to, but also of others along the Sound coast
and up the tributary rivers.
There was communication yesterday with Fort Monroe
, by flag of truce; and the steamer West Point
, Capt. Reeve
, which went down, brought up 395 prisoners released from Fort Warren
|Tar River Boys||48|
|Hertford Light Infantry||37|
|North Carolina Defenders||21|
|From Santa Rosa||22|
|Virginia troops from Potomac||8|
A colored man, taken at at Hatteras, was also brought up.
The remains of three of the prisoners who died at Fort Warren
, also came up in the steamer to be sent to their homes in North Carolina
--viz: Geo. Sawyer
, of the 7th Regiment, N. C. Volunteers; Samuel Lanier
, 2d Regiment; the name of the other I did not ascertain.
We take the following from the Norfolk Day Book
, of yesterday:
The Richmond Blues and McCulloch Rangers are represented as having conducted themselves nobly during the battle Not a man among them but displayed the utmost coolness and intrepidity, and the greatest havoc was made by them among the foe — They kept at one time two regiments at bay, and finally, at the point of the bayonet, drove them up to their armpits, into the Sound
Before surrendering, each man coolly broke his gun against the trees, determined that though they fell into the hands of the enemy they should be useless.
The casualties among the first mentioned command have been greatly exaggerated.--Only one of the entire company — its commander — was killed, and only eight or ten of them wounded.
A special train of the Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad arrived in Portsmouth
yesterday, about one o'clock. Information was brought that the enemy had entered Edenton
and taken possession.
This news was communicated through Dr. Warren
, of Edenton
to the people of Suffolk
, and forwarded by them to us. We have received no confirmation as yet of the statement, and it may be that the intelligence is premature.
The enemy was represented as being on the way to Blackwater
, and the non-arrival of the boat due from there yesterday seemed to corroborate the statement.
Treachery the cause of the disaster.
We learn that a man named Doe
, who lived on Roanoke Island
, and who knew of a landing place on the march that others were ignorant of, deserted, went over to the enemy and piloted them into the landing, after giving them all the information about our forces and fortifications.
It appears that Colonel Shaw
got wind of his intended desertion, and told him that if he attempted to desert be would blow him out of the water; but Doe
afterwards got a chance and made his escape, and in consequence of that escape we have this terrible disaster.
The report of the burning of Elizabeth City
and its capture by the Federalists is fully confirmed.
The town was attacked on Monday morning about 8 o'clock, and was set on fire and evacuated after a fight of about a couple of hours' duration.
The torch was applied by the patriotic citizens themselves, and although the destruction was only partial, yet a sufficient display of self-sacrifice has been made by these gallant Carolinians to satisfy the enemy that they are fighting a people they never can subdue.
The Confederate steamer Forest
, attached to Commodore Lynch
's fleet, and which was undergoing repairs at Elizabeth City
, we are glad to say, was not left to the enemy, as at first reported, but was burned by the citizens before they left the town.
The North Carolina Standard
's regiment of North Carolina
troops, pretty well equipped, we believe, has been stationed on the Island
for some time.
At the time of the battle it had about 600 or 700 effective men. After the removal of Col. Wright
's Georgia regiment from the Island
, Col. Jordan
's regiment was sent there from Fort Hill
At the time of the battle, owing to sickness and other causes, it could muster only about 400 or 500 effective men, and they were armed with the old flint-lock musket.
Besides these there were some 200 of the 17th regiment, (Col Martin
's) the remnant that were on furlough at the time of the taking of Hatteras
To these were added reinforcements from Gen. Wise
's Legion, about the time the battle commenced, making about 2,300 or 2,500.
Who was in command, as yet we have no means of knowing.
was sick and not on the Island
. Col. Shaw
was the senior Colonel
of the North Carolina
Whether any one else was placed in command by Gen. Wise
, we have not learned.