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Chapter 17: Roanoke Island.-Mr. Davis's inauguration.

The year 1862 was destined to be a noted one in the annals of the country, and the military campaigns in the Confederate States opened early, to end only with the expiration of the year.

Early in the year, Mr. Walker having resigned his portfolio, a general reorganization of the cabinet was arranged, and, on March 17th, the Senate made the following confirmations :

Secretary of StateJ. P. Benjamin.
TreasuryC. G. Memminger.
Secretary of WarJ. P. Benjamin.
Secretary of NavyS. R. Mallory.
Postmaster-GeneralJ. H. Reagan.
Attorney-GeneralThomas H. Watts.

The dissolution of his cabinet disquieted the President greatly, and about this time the organized opposition party began to be felt. The enemy also manifested unusual activity.

Their first move was the capture of Roanoke Island, on the low coast-line of North Carolina, for it was an important outpost of [179] the Confederates. Its possession by the enemy would give them access to the country from which Norfolk drew its supplies.

On January 22, 1862, General Henry A. Wise was placed in command.

The defence of this island consisted of six land batteries, and after manning the guns there were not one thousand effective men for duty. Seven gunboats were in the Sound to aid in its defence.

On February 8th, General Burnside attacked the defences of the island, and with overwhelming numbers outflanked them, and captured almost the entire force.

In this action Captain O. Jennings Wise, of the Richmond Blues, was killed. When he fell on the field, with a mortal wound, one of his men inquired if he was much hurt. His answer was, “Never mind me; fight on, men, fight on, and keep cool.” As he was being borne from the field a random shot struck and killed him. Nothing could have been more pathetic than the moan of his old father, “Oh, my brave boy, you have died for me; you have died for me,”

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