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Doc. 30.-battle of Roanoke Island.


Official report of Gen. Burnside.

headquarters Department of North-Carolina, Roanoke Island, February 10, 1862.
To Major-General Geo. B. McClellan, Commanding United States Army, Washington:
General: I have the honor to report that a combined attack upon this island was commenced on the morning of the seventh, by the naval and military forces of this expedition, which has resulted in the capture of six forts, forty guns, over two thousand prisoners, and upward of three [90] thousand small arms. Among the prisoners are Col. Shaw, commander of the island, and O. Jennings Wise, commander of the Wise Legion. The latter was mortally wounded, and has since died. The whole work was finished on the afternoon of the eighth inst., after a hard day's fighting, by a brilliant charge in the centre of the island, and a rapid pursuit of the enemy to the north end of the island, resulting in the capture of the prisoners mentioned above.

We have had no time to count them, but the number is estimated at near three thousand.

Our men fought bravely, and have endured most manfully the hardships incident to fighting through swamps and dense thickets.

It is impossible to give the details of the engagement, or to mention meritorious officers and men, in the short time allowed for writing this report, the naval vessel carrying it starting immediately for Hampton Roads, and the reports of the Brigadier-Generals have not yet been handed in.

It is enough to say that the officers and men of both arms of the service have fought gallantly, and the plans agreed upon before leaving Hatteras were carried out.

I will be excused for saying in reference to the action, that I owe everything to Generals Foster, Reno and Parker, as more full details will show. I am sorry to report the loss of about thirty-five killed, and about two hundred wounded, ten of them probably mortally. Among the killed are Col. Russell, of the Tenth Connecticut regiment, and Lieut.-Col. Victor de Monteuil, of the D'Epineuil Zouaves; both of them fought most gallantly. I regret exceedingly not being able to send a full report of the killed and wounded, but will send a despatch in a day or two with full returns.

I beg leave to enclose a copy of a general order issued by me on the ninth inst. I am most happy to say that I have just received a message from Commodore Goldsborough, stating that the expedition of the gunboats against Elizabeth City and the rebel fleet has been entirely successful.

He will, of course, send his returns to his department.

I have the honor to be, General, your obedient servant,

A. E. Burnside, Brig.-General Commanding Department of North-Carolina.


Report of Com. Goldsborough.

U. S. Flag-steamer Philadelphia, off Roanoke Island, February 9, 1862.
Roanoke Island is ours. The military authorities struck to us yesterday. Their means of defence were truly formidable, and they were used with a determination worthy of a better cause. They consisted of two elaborately-constructed works, mounting together twenty-two heavy guns, three of them being one hundred pounders rifled. Four other batteries, mounting together twenty guns, a large proportion of them being also of large calibre, and some of them rifled; eight steamers mounting two guns each, and each having a rifled gun with a diameter of a thirty-two pounder, a prolonged obstruction of smaller vessels and hills to thwart our advance, and altogether a body of men numbering scarcely less than five thousand, of whom three thousand are now our prisoners.

The fighting commenced on the morning of the seventh inst., at about eleven o'clock, and was continued till dark. The following morning it was resumed at an early hour, and it lasted until well in the afternoon, when by a bold charge by our army the rebel flag was made to succumb, and our own was hoisted everywhere on the island in its place. No attack could have been more completely executed, and it was carried out precisely in accordance with the arrangements made before the expedition left Cape Hatteras Inlet.

A detailed account of the operations of the naval branch of the expedition will be forwarded to the Department hereafter.

I beg to submit herewith a copy of a general order to be read on the quarter-deck of each vessel belonging to that branch of the expedition.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

L. M. Goldsborough, Flag-Officer Commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. To the Hon. Gideon Wells, Secretary of the Navy.


General order.

The following is the General Order:

Your efforts of yesterday and the day before against the enemy, were alike worthy of your-selves and the sacred cause our glorious flag up-holds.

I thank you for them, and congratulate you upon the results achieved. No commander-in-chief could have been more gallantly sustained, or could have desired a more gratifying display of coolness, skill and discipline.

We have yet more work of the kind to accomplish, and will soon deliver another blow to crush the hydra of rebellion. From what I have already witnessed, I am sure that you will do it well.



Report of Col. Ferrero.

I beg to submit the following as the report of the Fifty-first regiment N. Y.V.:

I received an order from Gen. Reno, on the morning of Saturday, the eighth of February, 1862, at about half-past 7 o'clock, to form line on the right of the Second brigade. The regiment started at about eight o'clock A. M., in the rear of the First brigade. After having marched a distance of about half a mile, we met three companies of the Twenty-first Massachusetts. I halted my column, and allowed them to take their position. Following them on the main road up the island, and marching a distance of about half a mile, I received an order from Gen. Reno's aid to force our way through a dense jungle in the direction of the fighting. On arriving near the rear of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, received an order to advance, and take position on their left.

Finding the swamp almost impassable, owing to the dense growth of underbrush on the right of my line, I ordered four companies of the right [91] wing, viz., A, G, D and I, to push forward toward the left, under command of Lieut.-Col. Potter. Said companies advanced and entered the fire on the left of the Twenty-first Massachusetts. During the engagement of the above companies in said position, the firing was very galling, but it was replied to with great vigor, by both men and officers. I ordered the companies of the left wing to push forward towards the right. Finding it impossible to engage the enemy on account of the Twenty-first Massachusetts regiment being in front, I ordered the men to lie down, in order to avoid the shower of bullets from our own troops as well as those from the enemy. The enemy, finding that they were outflanked, commenced to retreat, when the order was given by Gen. Reno to charge. The right wing charged under command of Lieut.-Col. Potter, while I led the left wing.

Having advanced a few paces in front of the Ninth New-Jersey and the Ninth New-York, I found their fire was directed into our ranks. I halted my men, and ordered the signal for cease firing to be sounded by my bugler, which was understood by all the troops in the vicinity. At that moment the cry came to charge, when all charged, my right wing arriving at the fort first. Capt. J. G. Wright, of company A, color company, arrived with his company, and planted the American flag upon the ramparts, in advance of any other regiment. It was the first American flag in the fort. Capt. Sims, of company G, and Capt. Johnson, of company I, took possession of the guns of the fort. I led the left wing down the main road, followed by the Ninth New-York, crossed the moat, and halted inside the fort. On arriving inside of the fort, Lieut. Springweller, of company K, brought me a wounded officer, who was a lieutenant in the Wise Legion, of Virginia, whom he found lying a short distance off.

After remaining at the fort about fifteen minutes, I rallied my men, formed line, and started up the main road in pursuit of the enemy. On arriving at the end of the island, I found that two boat-loads of the enemy had escaped, but one containing O. Jennings Wise, severely wounded, and four others, had been captured, and were in charge of the Ninth New-York. The four prisoners were transferred to my charge, and I left then in a house which was guarded by our troops. Ascertaining that Gen. Reno had advanced across the island to the left, I immediately followed, and arrived in time to receive an order from him to place a chain of sentinels to encircle the grounds and barracks of the captured enemy, which was executed, and remained upon duty until relieved by the Ninth New-Jersey. The men and officers under my command, behaved with a coolness that was really surprising for men who were under fire for the first time. On Sunday morning, the ninth inst., I received an order to detail a company to plant the American flag on one of the captured forts on the sea-shore.

Yours respectfully,

Edw. Ferrero, Col. Fifty-first Regiment N. Y.V.


Colonel Lee's report.

headquarters Twenty-Seventh Regt. Mass, Vols., Roanoke Island, February 12, 1862.
To His Excellency John A. Andrew:
dear sir: I am very sorry to be obliged to report the death of Capt, Hubbard of company I, which occurred this morning. I would recommend to fill the vacancy, First Lieut. Edward K. Wilcox; for First Lieutenant, C. Wesley Goodale, now Second Lieutenant; and for Second Lieutenant, Joseph W. Lawson. The list of killed and wounded, in the engagement February eighth, was, in my regiment, as follows:

Killed.--Corporal Geo. W. Hale; private Levi Clark, company F; private H. C. Bardwell, company G; private Wm. Hill, company B.

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