War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0151 Chapter XX. BATTLE OF ROANOKE ISLAND, N. C.

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You will fall back to the first eligible position and fight again as long as prudence will allow. Then, if compelled to, retreat to the breastworks, and there make a final stand. If the enemy do not land at Pugh's, but pass the marshes, the force at Pugh's will join the force at Ashby's and there they will, if possible, prevent the landing of the enemy. There is a point just in the rear of Ashby's house, on the road, where the field pieces may be masked and the enemy may be ambuscaded. If driven from that point, you will fall back to the breastworks and there make your first stand. If the enemy pass the sound without attempting to land, your aim then will be to withdraw the forces to such point on the eastern side of the island as will be most practicable for ferrying them across the Roanoke Sound to the beach. The steamer Currituck is hourly expected; but if she fails to arrive, all the means at our command will be used to prevent their being cut off. There is but one tug now here to do the entire service for the army, and she (the Roanoke) must be kept for the purpose of towing the barges and ferry-boats.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. B. DUFFIELD,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

At the earliest moment on February 7 I sent to the island ten companies-two of the First and eight of the Second Regiments-and additional orders to Colonel Shaw, of which the following is a copy:

HEADQUARTERS FOURTH BRIGADE, DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK,

Camp at Nag's Head, N. C., February 7, 1862.

Colonel H. M. SHAW, Commanding Roanoke Island:

COLONEL: I send you, as promptly as possible, ten small but efficient companies, under Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson, who will hand you this and show to you his instructions, which you will consider, as far as they are pertinent, additions to those sent you yesterday. He is a brave officer, has trained and seasoned men, and you may rely on him implicitly. While you will send a portion of your most efficient men to the south end, who may be relied on to fall back with order and precision you will be particular in reserving an equally good portion of your best men to maintain the post at Suple's Hill. They must be such picked men as will not fire on our own forces when retreating to that post. At Suple's Hill you will make your breastworks for the infantry right and left by felling trees and brush and covering with earth as sufficiently as time will permit. You will detail a proper reliable officer with a small detachment to mark the best and most solid road over the marsh to the battery on Roanoke Sound, and he will there mark on that sound the narrowest portion of it convenient to the fort at the Hommock where a ferry of lighters may be placed across to the beach. He will on the island side place a signal of the narrowest part of the channel where the ferry ought to terminate on that side. If the enemy's gunboats pass the batteries on the Croatan they may easily prevent our steam-tugs from towing off our troops from Weir's Point or the north end of the island. Your only retreat may be by the ferry of lighters. To establish that ferry you will collect all the lighters and barges you have to spare at Weir's Point and notify me when to send for them. The Currituck is expected to-day with a sufficiency, but may not arrive. Report tome all you know of the enemy this morning and everything new as soon as it occurs. I dispatched to Norfolk yesterday a messenger announcing the approach of the enemy. The road across the marshes and the ferry across the Roanoke Sound are all important. Inculcate upon your men deliberate coolness, and make them work night and day, to hold on until we can re-enforce them or withdraw them in safety. Furnish Colonel Anderson with all needed requisitions. I am still confined to my bed.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY A. WISE,

Brigadier-General.

On the same day, the 7th I gave the following instructions to Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson:

HEADQUARTERS FOURTH BRIGADE, DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK,

Camp at Nag's Head, N. C., February 7, 1862.

Colonel ANDERSON:

SIR: On yesterday orders were sent to Colonel Shaw, commanding at Roanoke, as to the disposition of his forces and guns to repel the enemy, who are now in sight of the island in strong force, to which you will refer for your instructions. Have a small but efficient guard at Hommock Landing, at the extreme south end of the island, as the enemy can approach there in the lightest-draught gunboats. The guard must be