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was wrecked. Two officers of the army, Colonel J. W. Allen and Dr. F. S. Weller, both belonging to the 9th New Jersey infantry, were lost on the 15th, by the swamping of a boat in which they were returning from the flag ship of the commanding general to their transport. They had gone on board, in company with others, early in the morning, to consult with General Reno. After spending an hour or two very agreeably, they left the ship, went on board their boat, and put off towards their own vessel. But in moving through the surf, the boat was capsized, and the entire party, twelve in number, were thrown into the waves. They succeeded however in clinging to the boat, and for half an hour they were in this perilous position. At last, the steamer Highlander came within hailing distance, sent out her boats, and picked up the drenched and exhausted men. But no means availed to bring back to life the two insensible officers. They had passed away from earth. Colonel Allen was a native of Burlington County, in New Jersey, had been a member of the State Senate, and had acquired considerable reputation as a civil engineer. He resided in Bordentown, where he left a widow and several children. Dr. Weller was a resident of Paterson, where he was highly esteemed as a man and a physician.
The storm, which had well nigh proved the ruin of the expedition, was the severest which had visited that region for several years, and it burst upon the fleet at the very moment when it was capable of inflicting the greatest injury. Hatteras Inlet is a passage made by the sea breaking across the narrow spit of land which, in its bolder and more prominent point, is known as Cape Hatteras. The channel, if so it might be called, is simply the place where the water, for the time, happens to be deepest. Outside the island, at the entrance of the inlet from the ocean, is a bar, and just inside the island, where the waters of the inlet meet those of the Sound, there is another bar. The channel between the two, in the vernacular of that section, is called the “swash.” As the bottom is loose and sandy, its depth varies, at different times, from five to nine
feet, according to the force of the winds and the current. The tide rises but a few feet. The inlet is scarcely over a mile wide, and at the entrance of the Sound, is the bar or “bulkhead,” on which the water, in the height of the tide, can be no more than six or eight feet deep*. Beyond the point, a slight curve in the shore makes a small harbor. In the Sound itself, there is sufficient water to float in safety vessels of considerable draft and tonnage. It is in general about twenty feet in depth, but abounds in shoals, which render its navigation somewhat difficult and dangerous. Into the narrow passage called Hatteras Inlet, and immediately beyond, the storm had driven over one hundred vessels of different sizes.
Some were found too large and of too great draft of water to pass through the shallow channel. The anchorage was uncertain. Even before their arrival, the vessels had been considerably shaken by the heavy weather. They were, moreover, filled to their utmost capacity, with troops, many of whom had never before sailed mile
the ocean, and were overcome by seasickCrowded into this narrow and uncomfortable anchoring place, which could hardly be called a harbor except by an extreme stretch of courtesy, with no secure ground to catch the anchors, the vessels were forced about by the wind in most uncomfortable and vexatious manner. It was no uncommon thing for hawsers to become entangled, for schooners, brigs, and steamboats to fall foul of each other, for the bowsprit of a sailing vessel to run itself unceremoniously through a steamer's saloon, or for a gunboat to come drifting along, threatening destruction to some poor defenceless shell of a transport. It was indeed providential that the inhospitable shores of Hatteras were not thickly strewn with the wrecks of vessels, the bodies of men, and the debris of an expedition which had been fitted out with a generous expenditure of money and with every material of war.
The officers of the navy, on their part, did all that could be
*“ Scarcely an inch more than seven and a half feet,” says Flag Officer Goldsborough.
reasonably expected. Commander Rowan was especially active in this respect. From the beginning of operations in North Carolina till the end, the most cordial relations existed between the army and the navy. The officers of each arm of the service seemed to vie with those of the other in doing all that could be done for the promotion of their country's cause. No feeling of jealousy ever showed itself, for none was provoked. The Flag Officer and his subordinates were ready to aid the transport fleet in this emergency to the extent of their power. But, of necessity, they could not accomplish a great deal. Their own vessels required their constant supervision and care. It is true, that they had none of that narrowness of opinion which sometimes induces one to feel that he has no responsibility beyond the strictest line of his own duty, and no inclination to go beyond the established routine of his life; but they were compelled, by the circumstances of the case, to pay more attention to their own ships than to the army transports. With the most willing disposition, the ability was lacking. Gunboats and transports were in equal peril, and demanded the vigilance and faithful service of every officer and man.
General Burnside, therefore, was obliged to act the part of Admiral as well as General, and to manage his great fleet of transports and supply-vessels as best he could. With no experience at sea, he suddenly found himself called upon to perform the duties of a skillful navigator at a time when the sailor is compelled to summon up all his resources. All accounts agree
that General Burnside proved himself to be fully equal to the trying occasion, and was completely master of the situation. He was indefatigable, unwearied, ubiquitous. Generals Foster, Reno, and Parke gave him their ablest assistance, and were always ready with counsel and help. The commanders of regiments, and indeed all the officers and men behaved in a manner beyond all praise, and performed the duties and bore the extraordinary burdens of the time with great fidelity and
fortitude. They saw in their commanding general an example of patience and hopefulness which they were glad to imitate.
A correspondent of the London News, who accompanied the expedition, published at the time a very graphic account of the storm off Hatteras and in the Inlet, and, in the course of his narrative, took occasion to speak of the commanding general in very warm terms of commendation. “ Bravely we breasted on in our little boat," he wrote, “staggering beneath the giant blows of each successive sea, our decks swept fore and aft, and all on board reeling from side to side like drunken men. One figure stood immovable, grasping by the bitts, scanning the horizon for traces of ships, as we rose on each glittering mass of foam. It was the square, manly form of General Burnside, whose anxiety for the fate of his army was intense.” After speaking of the manner in which the general bore himself in the storm, he adds: “He has performed all the duties of a harbor master, narrowly escaping being swamped on more than one occasion, and there is not a grade in his army that he has not filled during the last fortnight, so anxious is he for the well being and comfort of his troops.'
This community of danger, and the courage and skill with which the emergency was met and its duties performed by all parties, endeared the officers and men to each other more closely than a well fought and victorious battle could have done. The troops gave to their commander their entire confidence, regard, and admiration, and they were ready to go with enthusiasm to meet any danger to which he led the way. It was with grateful hearts that, when on the 25th of January, the storm finally broke, and calm weather came again, they felt that they had a leader whose hopefulness and patience even the elements could not subdue, and whom they could implicitly trust. He also was glad to feel that he had a command willing, eager, and able to accomplish every result that he could reasonably wish. Fortunate was the storm in the revelation of character which it had so fully made!
ROANOKE ISLAND, AND ITS CAPTURE.
HEN a coastwise expedition was first projected, Gen
eral McClellan's plan was to operate with about ten thousand men," in the inlets of Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac, in conjunction with a naval force operating against points on the sea coast. This expedition was to be composed mostly of New England regiments, as it was thought that the men of these regiments would be conversant with boat-service, the management of steamers and sailing vessels, barges, launches, floating batteries, and the like. These regiments were “to be uniformed and equipped as the Rhode Island” troops were—an expressive testimonial to the sagacity of General Burnside, who had first suggested the pattern of the Rhode Island uniform. The expedition thus prepared was to form an integral part of the Army of the Potomac. General Burnside was conversant with General McClellan's plan, and when he was first selected to lead the enterprise, it was with the understanding that the force would not pass beyond the Virginia capes. The plan was submitted to the War Department on the 6th of September. On the 1st of November, General Scott was relieved of his command, and General McClellan was appointed in his place as General-in-Chief of the Armies of the United States. After General Burnside had proceeded, to a considerable extent, in perfecting his arrangements, the plan of operations was very essentially changed. General McClellan, late in the autumn, decided to increase the force to be sent, and to order it to the coast of North Carolina. A change in the plan necessitated considerable delay. A larger naval force,