War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0109 Chapter XX. BATTLE OF ROANOKE ISLAND, N.C.

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which was a hitherto-impassable cypress swamp. The First Brigade advancing was supported by Reno, who threw two regiments on their right flank. The Fourth Rhode Island was ordered to follow part of Foster's brigade in turning their left flank, Parke holding the Ninth New York in reserve. Our men at once plunged into the swamp, nearly waste-deep with mud and water, and after almost incredible exertions succeeded in forcing our way through briers, cypress, and a dense mass of birch, &c. When we had nearly succeeded in turning their flank on the left and right General Parke ordered the Ninth New York to charge in front, when the enemy, finding that they were flanked, fled up the island, followed by regiments of Foster and Reno in pursuit, General Parke ordering the Ninth New York to cut off their retreat by the Nag's Head, which they did, taking O. Jennings Wise prisoner, and capturing the battery at that point, with three heavy columbiads. The enemy retreated to Weir's Point, where they did not make any fight, but surrendered to Generals Foster and Reno, about 3,000 all told.

General Burnside ordered the Fourth Rhode Island to proceeded to Pork Point and take possession of Fort Bartow, giving us the Tenth Connecticut for our support. We immediately marched for the point and took possession of the place, planting the banner of the Fourth Rhode Island on the ramparts. The Eighth North Carolina was within about half a mile of us, advancing to take possession of it, the battalion of Seventeenth North Carolina having evacuated it about two hours before we took possession. When they saw our flag on the fort they fell back and surrendered to General ReNumbers The larger fort on the main-land was fired about ten minutes after our arrival and consumed.

We have taken thirty-five to forty pieces of artillery, about 4,000 stand of arms, an camp equipage and stores of our regiments of infantry.

The gunboats of the enemy have escaped up the sound. Four hundred to 500 of the enemy got off the island, and a regiment from Norfolk that were coming to re-enforce the rebels did not land, but got away. The enemy had sunk hulks and driven piles into the channel, which, with their masked batteries and natural advantage of the island, they supposed had made their position impregnable to any force we could bring against them. How we ever got through that swamp I can hardly conceive of now; as it was, we were full two hours in it. Half the time the regiment was under fire, but the distance - 300 to 400 yards off the battery - and the enemy being obliged to take uncertain aim from the constant firing of Foster's advance, preserved us from loss.

I don't think we have lost a man, all but one (Corporal Perkins) having joined the regiment, and I think he will be found. A number of our men in the Fourth had balls through their coats and blankets. Our flag being half rolled up, did not present much surface to the fire, and we only got one bullet-hole through it; shall do better when we have a chance. The Fourth was cool and did well. All our force behaved well and gave satisfaction to the commanding officer of the division.

I must now close this hasty an imperfect sketch, hoping it will give you some idea of the battle of Roanoke. Our regiment is again embarked on board the Eastern Queen, and is to proceed to ----, I suppose. The blank I am unable to fill,

And remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel Fourth Rhode Island.