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"Swash," and were securely anchored some two miles from the throat of the inlet, while the larger ships and barks were still riding outside, with colors continually flying for a pilot.
Many of these vessels were crowded with men suffering for the want of necessary supplies, especially water, and the largest of the transports had a draught of from two to four feet more than the specifications of the guarantee should have allowed. The consequence was, that they grounded in attempting the passage. An occasional cessation of a few hours in the storm afforded opportunity that could be taken advantage of by vessels to try the dangerous passage, aided by the tugs, that responded but shyly to the signals for aid. And thus for days the severity of the gale defied all communication between the vessels outside of the bar, as they battled with a fiercer foe than that upon the land—fighting a very hand-to-hand fight with storm and ocean.
Nearly three weeks passed before all the vessels of the expedition were brought in safety through the swash to anchorage within the inlet. Though the severity of the storm had threatened the destruction of the entire armada, and occasioned the deepest gloom and anxiety in the minds of thousands of loyal friends at home, the brave and skillful commanders were never despondent, and met the new dangers of each day with hopeful energy and perseverance. Eight vessels of various sizes were cast away or foundered in the storm, though but few lives were lost.
Colonel J. W. Allen and Surgeon T. S. Weller, of the Ninth New Jersey, were drowned from a small boat while on a noble mission to relieve a suffering crew.
Many of the large transports were grounded in attempting to pass inside the inlet. From the necessity of lightening them, vast quantities of property were lost or thrown overboard. An expedition beset with such difficulties, all overcome by indomitable perseverance, has seldom been recorded in the history of any country.
CAPTURE 0F B0AN0KE ISLAND.
February 8, 1862.
After a detention of three weeks in sight of Hatteras Inlet, occasioned by the severity of the storm, and the difficulty of piloting the heavilyladen vessels through the inlet, the expedition received sailing orders on the 4th of February, and proceeded on the next day to the point of attack. The fleet anchored on the night of February 5, about ten miles below the southern point of Roanoke Island, from whence they again weighed anchor at eight o'clock on the morning of the 6th. A storm retarded their progress, and they remained over night without passing through Roanoke Inlet to Croatan Sound.
At ten o'clock on the morning of the 7th, the gunboats, under the lead of the Flag-officer's ship, moved forward, and were soon inside the narrow passage leading into Croatan Sound, known as Roanoke Inlet. The mainland juts eastward, forming a point of marshy land at the southern extremity of Croatan Sound, which is the only navigable water leading past Roanoke Island. A small island forms the eastern boundary of the channel, while the western shore is a low marshy point. Following Commodore Goldsborough's squadron were the gunboats of the coast division, all of which passed through without interruption.
The S. R. Spaulding, with General Burnside on board, next passed through, but the remainder of the transports were detained about two hours. The rebel gunboats could now be seen close in shore, evidently under the guns of batteries on shore. As the fleet passed into the sound, a signal was fired from one of the rebel gunboats, to announce its approach. This was about half-past ten o'clock. At half-past eleven the first gun was fired from the flag-ship, and was replied to by the rebels. The Flag-officer hoisted the signal: "This day our, country expects that every man will do his duty." The effect was electric. The men worked their guns with unflagging energy, determined that their country should have nothing to complain of in relation to them. As the Federal vessels came within shorter range, the fire became more rapid, but the regular fire did not commence until noon, when the flagship displayed the signal for close action.
The number of the rebel gunboats visible in the early part of the engagement was seven. As the vessels came into closer action, they moved to the northward, with the design of drawing the Union fleet after them, and bring them under the guns of their batteries on the island. At twelve o'clock the engagement became general, between the retreating gunboats of the rebels and the Union fleet, varied by an occasional shot from a battery on shore. The firing was exceedingly brisk for some time, but the distance was evidently too great for destructive effect. The one hundred-pound Parrott gun on board the Southfield, to which the Flag-Officer transferred his flag, boomed forth terrific explosions, followed by the roar and crash of flying shells. The puff of smoke in the air was almost simultaneous with the splash of fragments in the water. The rebel gunboats kept up a steady fire in reply. Their fire was varied at times by the louder report of a hundred-pound Parrott gun on board one of their vessels. The Sawyer gun on board the Fanny, which was captured by the enemy at Hatteras Inlet, was the most annoying in its effects, as the range was long and very accurate.
The fire from the fort indicated a weak force working the guns. The rebel gunboats retired steadily a considerable distance up the sound. A line of piles driven into the bed across the principal channel, obstructed the progress of the Union vessels in the pursuit of the retreating rebels, who occupied an inner channel under the guns of their battery. The Union fleet now turned their attention to the fort, which kept up a steady and rapid fire. On the afternoon of the 7th, the transports, with the land forces, were all brought safely through Roanoke Inlet, and clustered securely in rear of the bombarding fleet. General Burnside gave immediate orders for landing the forces, which was done at a small cove, known as Ashby's Harbor. In less than an hour four thousand men were landed, and by eleven at night, the entire force, excepting one regiment, were on the island, and their bivouac-fires lighted up the shore and the woods for the distance of a mile. At nine o'clock on the morning of the 8th, a few shots were exchanged between the Federal gunboats and the battery, which ceased after fif. teen minutes' duration, and was not renewed during the day. The rebel gunboats had retreated, and all interest now centered in the movements of the land forces. From definite information received by General Burnside, the position of all the works on the island was clearly known, and his movements were based on this knowledge. The plan of attack consisted of a cen. tral attacking column, led by Brigadier-General Foster; a left flanking column to attack the right of the enemy's work, under Brigadier-General Reno, and a right flank column to attack the left of the enemy's position, under the command of Brigadier-General Parke. The approach to the enemy's position was through a swampy wood, with a dense undergrowth, rendering it almost impenetrable. An ordinary cart-road leading through this wood from the shore to the field. work, a distance of about a mile, was the only mode of communication. The woods in front of the battery had been cut down a distance of three hundred yards, forming an open space to be played on by the rebel guns, about two hundred feet wide. The woods immediately in rear of the work were also cut down to permit the manoeuvreing of their own forces. Their battery consisted of an earth-work with three faces covering the open space before, and the woods at each side of the open space, but with a general direction of fire to the front. The guns were mounted in embrasure, and consisted of a twenty-four-pounder brass Dahlgren howitzer, a long eighteen-pounder brass field-gun, and a twelve-pounder brass field-piece. In front of the work was a ditch eight feet wide and about three feet deep, filled with water. The earth-work was bout thirty-five
yards wide, and was erected across the road. The ground in front of the work was a deep marsh, on which the trees which were felled still lay. The difficult nature of this ground was increased by the pits from which the turf and earth for the field-work had been taken. Branches were strewn over the front of the work, making it impossible to discover it from the wood in front. The defending force consisted of about three hundred men, within the breastwork, and about two thousand as a reserve, partly deployed as skirmishers on the left of the battery. The rebels relied chiefly for the defence of their flanks on the almost impenetrable nature of the wood on each side. Their entire force, with the exception of the force working the battery, was scattered in front and in the woods on the left as skirmishers. The Federal army advanced from the bivouac-ground of the evening previous, where they had spent the night with nothing but thin overcoats to protect them from a cold, driving rain. They had left their knapsacks and blankets on the transports, each man carrying nothing but his haversack, with three days’ provisions, and his cartridge-box, with forty rounds of ball-cartridge. The centre, under the command of General Foster, was composed of the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts, Colonel Upton; Twenty-third Massachusetts, Colonel Kurtz; Twentyseventh Massachusetts, Colonel Lee, and the Tenth Connecticut, Colonel Russell, and moved forward about eight o'clock. They were followed by the second column, under General Reno, consisting of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Lieutenant-Colonel Maggi; the Fifty-first New York, (Shepard Rifles,) Colonel Ferrero; Ninth New Jersey, and the Fifty first Pennsylvania, Colonel Hartraaf. The third column, led by General Parke, was formed of the Fourth Rhode Island, Colonel Rodman; First battalion, Fifth Rhode Island, Major Wright; and Ninth New York, Colonel Hawkins. Abrilliant, well-contested fight of two hours' duration put the Federal forces in possession of Roanoke Island, with all the batteries, mounting thirty guns, and Fort Forrest, on the mainland, mounting eight guns. It resulted in the unconditional surrender of the rebel army on the island, numbering 2,500 men, with all their arms and munitions of war. Captain O. Jennings Wise, son of ex-Governor Wise of Virginia, lost his life in this engagement. The Governor himself, being absent from his command on the day of battle, escaped. Colonel Russell, of the Tenth Connecticut, and Lieutenant-Colonel De Monteuil, of the New York Fifty-third, were killed. The Federal loss was fifty killed and one hundred and fifty wounded. That of the rebels was about twenty killed, and sixty wounded.
EVACUATION OP BOWLING- GBEEN, KT.
Fkbhuaet 14-16, 1881
Before th i commencement of hostilities in the State of Kentucky, the rebel General Buckner, Commander-in-Chief of the State militia, seized upon the town of Bowling Green, in Warren county, in the southern section of the State, and occupied it as the grand centre and depot of future military operations. The position was well chosen. It wa9 situated on the line of the Louisville and Nashville railway, and connected also by rail with Memphis and Nashville; while water communication through the Barren river was open to the Green river, the Ohio, and Mississippi, and thus to all important points.
As a military post, its means of defence were also of the first importance. The town lies on the south bank of Barren river, at a point where the channel makes a bend not unlike a horse-shoe. The buildings are situated a distance of five hundred yards from the banks, which rise by jutted rocky sides fifty feet from the water level. A series of nine swelling hills, or knolls, completely encompass the town on the land side, and on these Buckner had erected a cordon of forts; some of stone, and others of earth, twenty feet in thickness—all of great magnitude. Forty-nine guns were mounted on the various fortifications, and great engineering skill had been displayed in their construction.
On learning the defeat of Zollicoffer's troops at Mill Spring, on the 19th of January, General A. S. Johnson, on the 25th, ordered the evacuation of Bowling Green, and General Floyd's brigade immediately marched from thence to Fort Donelson. Active measures were then taken to carry out the order further, by shipping heavy ordnance to Columbus, which place General Grant's reconnoissance at that time had induced the Confederates to believe would be the first point of attack from the Federal army.
After the capture of Fort Henry, on the 6th of February, by which the enemy's communication with Columbus was intercepted, the remaining troops were distributed, some to Fort Donelson, some to Nashville and other points; and a work of indiscriminate destruction of the buildings and property in the town commenced. The beautiful iron railway bridge, and the wooden turnpike bridge over the Barren river were first destroyed. The railway bridge over the Green river, some forty miles to the northeast, had long since been burned, and the forces of General Buell had been deterred from crossing that stream up to the present time.
On the 11th of February, however, General Mitchell's division, encamped on Bacon creek, seven miles north of the Green river, were