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The fight at Roanoke Island[Special Correspondence of the Dispatch.]
The Roanoke Island defeat — capture of our fleet — Elizabeth City burned by our own troops.A courier arrived here yesterday afternoon, about three o'clock, from whom we gather the following information: The enemy in full force advanced upon Elizabeth City yesterday, about seven o'clock, and began an attack upon that place. The citizens finding resistance vain, evacuated the place, but before doing so set fire to the town, and when our informant left it was still in flames. We have also to record the capture by the enemy of all our little fleet except the ‘"Fanny"’ or ‘"Forrest,"’ our informant was not certain which. This beat eluded the enemy and made up the Pasquotank river. She was, however, pursued, and fears are entertained that she, too, has been captured. It is said that before our boats were surrendered they were abandoned, and that the crews succeeded in making their escape. If this be so, we are at a loss to conjecture why they were not fired before being abandoned. The disaster to our little fleet is attributed to the fact that, having exhausted their supply of coal and ammunition, they proceeded to Elizabeth City for the purpose of obtaining a supply. Every effort was made to obtain coal, but without success, and on this account the fleet was unable to return to the Island or lend any assistance whatever to our forces. All the details as published with reference to the capture of Roanoke Island are confirmed by this courier. He represents our loss at about three hundred killed and wounded, and states that of the enemy could not have been less than a thousand killed Great havoc was made among them while coming up the road leading to the fort. Our forces brought to bear upon them two 32 pounders, and at every fire their ranks were, terribly thinned. The places of the fallen, however, were quickly filled. Pork Point Battery was manned by the Richmond Blues, and most nobly did they defend it. During the conflict they were attacked by a whole regiment of Zouaves, and though completely overpowered they stood their ground bravely, nor did they yield a root until all the command save seven fell bleeding to the ground. There is good reason to believe that had Col. Henningsen, with his artillery, been on the island, we should not have been forced to surrender it. The lack of field pieces was very sadly felt, and bad they been at hand, the enemy, perhaps, would never have been able to have landed their forces Col. Henningsen had orders, we understand, to report at Roanoke Island, but by some misunderstanding by miss K. Elizabeth City for his destination. It is to be deeply regretted that this error should have been made, as the Colonel is a brave and efficient officer, and we are satisfied that had he been present the foe would have been compelled to acknowledge his prowess. Captain Taylor, of this city, in represented as distinguishing himself for his coolness and bravery. He fought the enemy like a tiger, and not an inch of ground was yielded by him without its being well disputed. In addition to the above there are many rumors which we might give, but as they are nothing more than rumors, we prefer withholding them. Among them there one, however, which is worthy of notice, and that is, that Gen. Wise had been shot while in an ambulance, on his way to this city. There is no truth whatever for this statement, so far as we have been able to learn; and we can only account for it by supposing that the name of the General was confounded with that of his son, who was reported among the killed. To-morrow we hope to be able to gather some additional items, which we will of course give the reader the benefit of. In the meantime, while this disaster is not at all agreeable, let us not allow it to dispirit us too much. Let us hope that out of evil good will eventually come; and let us resolve upon even more determination for the future than we have felt and acted in the past.
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