War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0127 Chapter XX. BATTLE OF ROANOKE ISLAND, N.C.

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On January 7 I assumed command, in accordance with the order of the War Department, of the district assigned me, just thirty days before the enemy arrived at Roanoke Island. I arrived at the island, I think, late on January 6.

On January 7 I addressed to Colonel Shaw the letter of which the following is a copy:

GENERAL ORDERS,

HEADQUARTERS ROANOKE ISLAND, No. 1.

North Carolina, January 7, 1862.

Brigadier General Henry A. Wise having been ordered to the command of the district lying east of the Chowan River, with the counties of Washington and Tyrrel in addition, in North Carolina, he now announces that he takes command, in accordance with the orders of the War Department of the Confederate States.

HENRY A. WISE,

Brigadier-General.

Colonel H. M. SHAW,

Commanding, &c.; Roanoke Island:

SIR: Upon conference with you immediately on my arrival at Roanoke Island, I have issued the foregoing general order. Under this special order you will continue in command of this island until further orders. You will endeavor to have the two guns lying near Weir's Point placed in battery at Robert's Fishery; assist by every means in your power the driving of piles the Croatan Sound; construct a permanent wharf at the most eligible landing near Weir's Point or Northwest Point, on the island; report generally upon the defenses at this point, the number and caliber of guns, and amount of ammunition and provisions, and the location of batteries, and in all respects prepare all the means in your power against any attack of the enemy by sea or land.

HENRY A. WISE,

Brigadier-General.

On January 8, 1862, Colonel Shaw made the report of which the following is a copy:

HEADQUARTERS FORCES ON ROANOKE ISLAND, Camp Raleigh, N. C., January 8, 1862.

Brigadier General HENRY A. WISE,

Commanding District of Albemarle:

GENERAL: In compliance with your special order I have the honor to submit the following report of the defenses of this island, quantity of provisions and ammunition on hand, the strength of this command, &c.

The defenses at Croatan Sound consist of four batteries, mounting in the aggregate thirty guns, all 32-pounders, as follows: At Weir's Point (Fort Huger), ten smooth-bore and two rifled guns; at Fort Blanchard, four smooth-bore guns; at Pork Point (Fort Bartow), six smooth-bore and one rifled gun, and at Redstone Point (Fort Forrest), seven smooth-bore guns. There is another battery on the Tyrrel side of Croatan Sound, at Roberts' Fishery, already completed, but no guns have been mounted, General Hill having ordered a discontinuance of the work. Its capacity is six barbette guns. The two 32-pounders now lying on the beach at Weir's Point will, agreeably to your orders, be mounted as soon as possible. Upon Roanoke Sound there is a small battery of two smooth-bore 32-pounders, at Midgett's Hommock. The battery at Pork Point ought by all means to be strengthened by the addition of two pivot-mounted guns. Orders have been given for the construction of bomb-proof quarters for the detachment at Fort Blanchard; but up to this time lumber ordered for that purpose has not been received. Quarters should be constructed in the immediate vicinity of Fort Huger for the accommodation of at least one of the companies by which the guns at that battery are manned. There ought also to be built at Fort Forrest quarters not only for the company already there, but for another company necessary at that fort. Most of the guns require; nearly all of them have nothing but the dispart sight, which I believe is every unreliable, especially in the hands of inexperienced gunners. I submit that it is very necessary that the most improved sights be obtained at once, and, if needful, and expert artisan sent at once to adjust them.

Of light artillery there are three pieces at this post - one 24-pounder howitzer, one 18-pounder Mexican piece, and one 6-pounder; the latter brought to this place from Elizabeth City, N. C. These pieces are all mounted on carriages, with limbers, but no caissons. For operations upon this island I am not sure that caissons are necessary.

Ammunition on hand.- 387 charges for 32-pounder guns; 1,300 shot; 250 rifle