War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0133 Chapter XX. BATTLE OF ROANOKE ISLAND, N.C.

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and undo all this work, nor the stormy and inclement season of winter on a Hatteras coast, which cut off more than half of the remaining short time; he wholly overlooked the very contingency which happened, of the enemy's arrival before these batteries at the marshes could be begun, much less completed; nor did he estimate that the enemy might land on the beach north of Oregon Inlet and cross to the island by wading, as they could the Roanoke Channel, or by barges out of reach of the battery on that sound. In a word, he formed his conclusion that large forces were not required, not from the state of things which did but from that which did not exist, and probably could not exist from shortness of time, stormy winter weather, and want of mean and means. The change of defense of batteries on the marshes, instead of at the places where they were put, was all essential - so absolutely necessary that steps ought to have been taken by all means to effect it, in order to make any force effectual, and to reduce the force necessary for defense; but in any event a large force was necessary, and if the change could not be effected, the largest of forces was necessary. What if the enemy came while we were in the act of the change? This they did, and this General Hunger did not take into his calculations. Who is responsible for the location of the batteries on the island and their malconstruction and efficiency, I am not informed.

On the same day I addressed to him a letter of which the following is a copy:

NORFOLK, VA., January 13, 1862.

Major General B. HUGER, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: I have left in your office a memorandum of requisitions for additional pile-drivers, for a steam dredging-machine, for steam-tugs and barges for transporting forces, for more ammunition, and for an additional number of large artillery pieces, &c. The items were specified, but will be ore formally prepared if necessary or required. Under your orders to make all efforts to carry on all necessary work at Roanoke Island I will proceed at once to employ or procure the laborers necessary, such as free blacks and slaves, under the laws of North Carolina, and to do whatever is necessary without further authority. At the same time, sir, I will refer to you at all times for your orders, advice, and permission, whenever it is practicable to do so. Indeed, I report that Roanoke Island is now in a defenseless condition and in presence of a very formidable enemy's force. My Legion is ordered to report here or at Portsmouth, but has not arrived. I beg you to urge on their movement and have them forwarded as soon as possible.

The Burnside expedition is reported as having sailed. Independent of that, the force now at Hatteras Inlet can pass or take Roanoke Island, and pardon me for saying that I respectfully differ from the opinion you expressed in your orders to-day, that to prevent the enemy's gunboats from passing the marshals at the south end will also prevent any landing. Batteries at the marshes are vitally essential to prevent the gunboats from passing into Croatan Sound, but they will not prevent the landing on the south or east end of the island. At least 3,000 infantry are needed on the island, and a considerable force, say 1,500 more, are needed on the beached, and if the enemy pass Roanoke, 5,000 at least are necessary to fight them on the tongues of land on the north side of Albemarle Sound. We need on the beach and on the island at least eight field pieces and the carriages and caissons necessary. We require thirty-two horses for the artillery. The guns at Redstone are necessary where they are. We need at least six heavy pieces at the south-end marshes and two at least at Fleetwood Point. The wharves necessary I will proceed at once to have constructed. A large amount of lumber is needed for quarters. You will please bear in mind that as yet the infantry have to man the batteries. There are no trained artillery companies at the island now; therefore it is that I ask for the transfer to my command of Captain Grandy's company of artillery, now at Sewell's Point.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE,

Brigadier-General.