War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0132 OPERATIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA. Chapter XX.

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21, 1861, assigned to the command of the military, district composed of that part of North Carolina east of the Chowan River, together with the counties of Washington and Tyrrel, which will be designated as the Fourth Brigade, Department of Norfolk. General Wise will establish his headquarters (subject to the approval of the major-general commanding the department) at the most central and accessible point to the forces of his brigade.

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By command of Major-General Huger:


Assistant Adjutant-General.

When I went to Roanoke Island on the 6th the pile-driver from the navy-yard reached there about the same time, and on January 2 I wrote to the Secretary of War for authority to procure several others. I received a reply of which the following is a copy:


Brigadier General HENRY A. WISE, Norfolk, Va.:

SIR: I have your favor of the 2nd instant. On inquiry I find that but one steam pile-driver can be procured, viz, on at the navy-yard in Norfolk,, and if that is the one you have, is the only one to be obtained. I ma told, however, that one other exists that is accessible, and was tendered for the service you are now supervising by the owners at Morehead, in North Carolina. The Secretary of the Navy tells me that these two pile-drivers are the only ones that exist in the waters in our neighborhood, and it must be one of the two that is now in your possession.

I have not yet seen your requisition for munitions, but think there be no difficulty in sending you from here a moderate supply of fixed ammunition for field pieces; but our supply of cannon powder is very limited. At the first indication, however, of an attack on Roanoke Island supply will be sent you. With the number of batteries now requiring a supply we have a very small reserve, that we can only part with to the point that may be actually attacked. I am daily hope of the receipt of a handsome importation of powder from abroad, and the instant it arrives you shall be supplied.

Your obedient servant,


Secretary of War.

While the Secretaries of War and of the Navy were thus informed of any but two pile-drivers, three within reach were offered to my command by Messrs. Parks and Culpeper, of Norfold, and by Dr. Warren, of Edenton.

I had hurried back to Norfolk from Roanoke Island, and made in person the strongest verbal representations of the defenseless condition of the post to General Huger and left a memorandum of the necessary requisitions. I particularly impressed upon him the necessity of making the defenses at the marshes at the south end of the island. On January 13 we have me the instructions of which the following is a copy.*

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These were the first instructions, on January 13, which I received from General Huger; he adopted my own proposition to establish batteries on the marshes; he postponed my proposition for several permanent batteries, probably for want of time, but he did not consider that the enemy might probably come before the town-gun batteries he proposed could be begun. The wharves were to be constructed, too, laborers, tools, and machines had to be gotten, and materials transported; he did not seem to calculate upon an early approach of the enemy; he did not appreciate the shortness of time, the want of men and means to do


*Printed in General Huger's report, p.114.