was needed. After this there was no election for me but to fight. The lack of time and the storms prevented me from working,and no work had been done. The North Carolina troops had not been paid, clothed, or drilled, and they had no teams or tools or materials for constructing works of defense, and they were badly commanded and led, and, except a few companies, they did not fight.
About 600 of my Legion withstood the enemy for half a day on the 8th without field artillery, except a 24-pounder and 18-pounder with 12-pounder ammunition, and a 6-pounder brass howitzer, which did terrible execution among the enemy. Twice the enemy, at least 8,000 strong, were repulsed with slaughter, and it was not until they passed a dense, deep swamp,thought to be impassable, and outflanked us on the right - and until Lieutenant Selden was killed at his gun sighting the aim of his last round of ammunition, and until the enemy advanced under a white flag, firing at out men as they cheered a supposed surrender - that our artillery pieces were captured and the Legion gave way, but never surrendered.
They fought on all the 8th and continued the fight on the 9th. Never did men do and dare more nobly, but they were unsupported, except by two or three companies of the Eighth North Carolina Regiment. The Thirty-first was hardly in the action at all, and had leave of their colonel (Jordan) to take care of themselves, and some 60 or 70 of them escaped.
The forts on the island were all out of place; they ought to have been at the south end, and they were at the north,leaving several of the landing points on the south end without any defense against the shot and shell of the heavy steamers, which came quite up and covered the landing of their troops, horses, artillery,and everything required for land forces. We had but four indifferent mules for our pieces and they were killed.
Such were the odds and the deficiencies of our defenses, yet my men fought firmly, coolly,and stubbornly up to the muzzle, to wounds, death, and captivity. Providence sharply prohibited my commanding in person. For nine days I was prostrated at Nag's Head with high fever and a severe attack of pleurisy; but this enabled me to save about 200 of my men. Here we are, a remnant of infantry, a corps of artillery - in all six companies, besides fragments of about 40, who escaped, of the Legion.
I desire you favor now to recruit it. My Third Regiment was, unjustly to me and my men, taken from me and sent to South Carolina. I ask for its return to my command. I ask for the four field pieces taken from me by General Floyd or their equivalent. I ask for the transfer of such troops as seek to join my command and for all facilities to move it under the circumstances. Having obtained my Legion by your good pleasure, having spent it a every risk an sacrifice with honor in the service, I ask your interposition in behalf of its full restoration.
With the highest respect, you obedient servant,
HENRY A. WISE,
Referred to Secretary of War, whose attention is called to the representation of [General Wise] and especially to the order marched by quotation. A copy of the letter will be furnished to General Huger