« PrejšnjaNaprej »
place, which was very creditable to a quarter-gunner on board the Valley City, by the name of John Davis. A shot from the enemy had passed through the Valley City's magazine and exploded in a locker beyond. Lieutenant Chaplin went into the exposed part of the ship to provide for extinguishing the flames, and found Mr. Davis coolly seated on an open barrel of powder, covering it with his person as the only means of keeping out the fire.* Secretary Welles recognized the importance of the service, and at once appointed Davis acting gunner in the navy of the United States. Commander Rowan, on the 11th, sent Lieutenant Murray with the Louisiana, Commodore Perry, Underwriter, and Lockwood, to Edenton, where our forces destroyed eight cannon and a vessel on the stocks, and captured two schooners. Immediately on the return of this expedition, another was sent, under the same officer, to obstruct the Currituck canal. Lieutenant Murray effectually accomplished this important duty.
In the coöperative movements of the army and navy, the signal corps attached to the expedition was found to be of great service. This corps was composed of twenty officers and fifty men, under the instruction and command of First Lieutenant Joseph Fricker, of the 8th Pennsylvania. Twenty-four Second Lieutenants, selected mostly from Massachusetts regiments, formed the complement of officers. Two officers and four men were assigned to each brigade, army and naval division head
uarters, and their services were gratefully acknowledged by the officers of both arms.
The intelligence of the brilliant victories won by our land and naval forces was received at the North with feelings of grateful exultation. The winter had been one of inaction and almost despondency. The disasters at Hatteras Inlet had not conduced to raise the public mind. News of the most cheering character had been received from the West of the movement of Flag Officer Foote upon Fort Henry, and of General
* Commander Rowan's Report.
Grant upon Fort Donelson. But in the East nothing had been done as yet in the campaign of 1862, to arouse the public enthusiasm, and the victory of General Burnside and Flag Officer Goldsborough was accordingly welcomed as the beginning of a splendidly successful campaign. Appreciative letters were sent from the President and the War and Navy Departments to the triumphant leaders. The Mayor of the city of New York issued a proclamation of congratulation. The Legislatures of Massachusetts and Ohio passed votes of felicitation. The General Assembly of Rhode Island, upon the recommendation of Governor Sprague, voted its thanks and a sword to General Burnside. Salutes were fired in the principal northern cities. The successes of our arms were accepted as the auguries of future and more decisive triumphs.
NEW BERN AND FORT MACON.
THE second part of General Burnside's instructions con
templated the occupation of Newbern. As soon as affairs were sufficiently settled at Roanoke Island, and the necessary preparations had been made, it was the commanding general's intention to proceed at once to the main land. Not a long time was required for either labor. In the course of a week or two, the forts on Roanoke Island were put in proper order and condition for defence, and the 51st Pennsylvania and 5th Rhode Island regiments were detailed for a temporary garrison. These regiments were relieved, early in March, by the 9th New York and 6th New Hampshire, and Colonel Hawkins was appointed Post Commandant. Expeditions were sent out during the month of February, to reconnoitre the neighboring country. One or two regiments were sent over to Elizabeth City, and remained there for a short time. Winton, on the Chowan river, was examined on the 18th, and Old Currituck Inlet on the 19th. At these places, some public property and artillery were found and destroyed or captured. But these excursions were simply designed to distract the attention of the enemy, and to afford occupation to the troops while preparations were making to strike the heaviest blow of all. General Burnside was also engaged in administering the oath of allegiance to the inhabitants of the island and others who desired to renew their political relations with the United States. On the 18th, the commanding general, jointly with Flag Officer Goldsborough, issued a proclamation to the people of North Carolina, disabusing their minds of the false impressions which
the rebel government had sought to make respecting the objects, of the war, and inviting them to return to their allegi
But the loyal sentiment of the people was not particularly strong, and the well-meant measures of reconciliation had but little effect. General Burnside was also occupied, during the month of February, in disposing of the prisoners that had fallen into his hands. He could not spare the transports which would be required to carry them North. He could not leave a large body of his troops on the island to guard them. He remembered the prisoners that had fallen into the hands of the enemy at the battle of Bull Run, and as he recalled the story of their sufferings, he resolved that he would leave no pretext to the enemy for a deferral of an exchange. Good policy and humanity alike dictated liberal terms to the vanquished. He determined, therefore, to parole his prisoners and release them. Lieutenant Colonel Osborne, of the 24th Massachusetts, was sent to Elizabeth City to confer with the enemy's officers near that point upon the subject. The result of the consultation was that the prisoners in our hands should be released, upon signing a parole not to take up arms against the United States, nor to give any information respecting our forces until regularly exchanged. In the meantime, the enemy was to make arrangements in good faith to exchange the prisoners in his hands, according to rank, or with certain equivalents, according to the rules of war. The prisoners were conveyed to Elizabeth City on the 20th, and there released. Lieutenant Colonel Osborne performed his duty with great acceptance, and General Burnside had the satisfaction of feeling that proper measures had been inaugurated for releasing from the enemy's hands our unfortunate men.
His action was approved by the Secretary of War.
On the 26th of February, the troops—with the exception of the garrison at Roanoke-were ordered to be in readiness to embark. But it was not till the 6th of March that they commenced going on board the transports, and it was not till the
* See Appendix,
9th that all were in readiness to move. The last regiment to embark was the 4th Rhode Island, of General Parke's brigade. At ten o'clock on the evening of the 11th, the fleet anchored off the mouth of Hatteras Inlet, in Pamlico Sound, and on the morning of the 12th, the commanding general issued a general order, notifying his troops that they were on the eve of an important movement, which would greatly demoralize the
enemy, and assist the Army of the Potomac in its contemplated operations against Richmond. It was a bright, warm,
, and beautiful day, and the expedition had every promise of success.
At this time, events were taking place in Hampton Roads, which demanded the presence at that point of the Flag Officer of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. The enemy's iron clad ship, called by the rebels the “ Virginia”--fitted from the United States ship Merrimac, abandoned by us at the time of the evacuation of the Norfolk Navy Yard--ran out of the harbor of Norfolk, and approached our naval station near the Fortress. Several wooden tenders or consorts accompanied the iron clad. The particulars of the remarkable and disastrous naval battle that ensued are well known, and need not be repeated here. The powerlessness of our wooden ships to contend with the foe; the sinking of the Cumberland, her crew fighting her guns till the very last, and going down with the vessel with the flag still flying; the burning of the Congress ; the disabling of the Minnesota by running aground; the timely arrival of the Monitor and the effectual punishing which she gave the audacious enemy, are familiar facts. The fear which such an almost in vulnerable and invincible monster was liable to produce; the mischief which she might do, if she should succeed in getting out to sea, in dominating Chesapeake Bay and even the entire coast, and laying Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and other northern cities under contribution, and the necessity of guarding against such a contingency, all required extraordinary vigilance. As it was, the enemy's ship came near neutralizing General McClellan's plan for a movement upon the Peninsula. One can readily imagine