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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Harvard Memorial Biographies, 1846. (search)
grievous disappointment befell him there, for, instead of the position to which he had looked forward, the post of Commissary of Subsistence proved to be awaiting him. Strong as the impulse must have been to decline the appointment and return to the Geneseo regiment, he decided, as generously as became him, that his duty was to go on with the expedition, and he began his work as Commissary, with the rank of Captain, on General Reno's staff. He was soon in battle, commanding a gunboat at Roanoke Island, and braving, at Reno's side, the hottest of the fire at Newbern. A little later, he was in action at Camden, and wrote with deep feeling of the dead and wounded that were left upon the field at night when our troops were ordered to retire. But his duties were chiefly at Newbern and Beaufort, N. C., where he was stationed as Commissary for several months, occupied, as he jestingly said, in the grocery business of those posts. It was a hard, a very hard service for him, and one that f
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Harvard Memorial Biographies, 1857. (search)
the fleet, with its precious freight of eight or ten thousand men, was exposed in endeavoring to pass through Hatteras Inlet,—owing to ignorance of the channel and the too great draught of water of most of the transports,—the confusion and alarm on board the ships, the noble exertions of Burnside and Foster and other officers, and the wonderful passage of the straits at last, without serious loss, will long be remembered. The first object attempted by the expedition was the capture of Roanoke Island, which was accomplished early in February. After some feints in the direction of Plymouth and Norfolk, General Burnside landed near the mouth of the Neuse, marched his troops within a short distance of the enemy's works, and on the 14th of March, after a short contest with musketry, in which our troops suffered more than the enemy, carried the lines by a brilliant assault, capturing many guns and prisoners. He advanced at once to Newbern, which place was evacuated, and became from this
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Harvard Memorial Biographies, 1859. (search)
s first leave of absence since the regiment left Boston. Thus far, he had escaped from wounds, though fever had once kept him for several weeks from his command. He frequently said, during his visit home, that the regiment could not expect such immunity from the casualties of battle during the new term of service. Promotion had been slow, but another year would advance the survivors more rapidly. He was willing to take his chance, and was not afraid to die. His first battle was at Roanoke Island, in the winter of 1862, when Burnside commanded; he was in action at Newbern, Kinston, Whitehall, Goldsborough Bridge, and elsewhere; his last battle was at Drury's Bluff, near Richmond, Virginia, under Butler. The siege of Fort Wagner was an episode in his career, and he there showed indications that he was especially adapted for service so difficult. When ordered to the front, he wrote (March 21, 1863):— We are expecting orders hourly to embark for the great trial of the war;
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Harvard Memorial Biographies, 1860. (search)
between the land and naval forces,—--a distinction which shows how fully he had mastered his difficult art. Let him now speak for himself. off Roanoke Island, North Carolina, February 9. my dear mother,—My last letter left me on board the schooner Colonel Patterly, having just arrived in Hatteras Inlet. From thence Iion 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 Sed, he turned to me and said, No man can help dodging; I dodge myself. I watched him through the action, and he was the only man that did not dodge. From Roanoke Island General Burnside and the fleet turned to Newbern, which was captured after a brisk engagement. Lieutenant Barstow was during this action with Captain Rowan,
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Harvard Memorial Biographies, 1861. (search)
signal officer. He went on board the gunboat Southfield on February 6th, Commodore Goldsborough having transferred his flag to that vessel for the attack on Roanoke Island. He writes as follows on February 9th, after the battle of Roanoke Island, his first engagement:— We went on board the Southfield last Thursday morning at daylight, and expected to be within gunshot in about an hour, as we were only about ten miles from Roanoke Island. But it came on to rain, and we were obliged to anchor and lie by all night. Friday morning it was foggy, but about ten it cleared off, and we got under way. In about half an hour we were in full sight of everyth 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