War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0152 OPERATIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA. Chapter XX.

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directed to give the earliest notice of the approach of the enemy at that point to the force at Pugh's Landing. If no enemy is approaching Pugh's for a landing at the same time the force at PUgh's will re-enforce the guard at the Hommock. If not, the guard at the Hommock will act as vedettes and prevent the enemy from falling in the rear of Pugh's.

Of the artillery, you will leave the heaviest pieces at the breastworks and at Ashby's and take the lighter pieces to Pugh's and the Hommock, as you will have no artillery horses. Under every emergency save your field pieces, in order to fall back, if compelled, to the breastworks. They will be the only pieces you will have for the defense at Suple's Hill, where the breastworks are. If any fights at the landings, let them be sharp, close, and hot, but not continued too long against great odds. Fall back timely, slowly, and continue to fight and fall back till all the forces at the landings are concentrated at Suple's Hill. There will be in all about 1,350 effective infantry to repel the landing of the enemy and to maintain the post at Suple's Hill. One-third of that force will be posted in reserve at Suple's Hill. That force will at once be employed in constructing right and left flank breastworks at Suple's Hill Battery. To do that work, take with you all the available spades, shovels, and axes, and apply to Shaw for all that he can furnish. You will let the senior captain of the Forty-sixth Regiment take command of the companies from that regiment as a battalion, subject, however, to your command. You will ask Colonel Shaw for the loan of all the spare tents and cooking and other utensils of which you have not sufficient. You will make requisitions upon the quartermaster and commissary at the island for whatever you may need. You will report these instructions immediately on your arrival to Colonel Shaw, and be subject to his orders as commandant.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



On February 7 I also sent to General Huger and to Colonel Shaw the following letters:


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

Major-General HUGER, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: I send you, by direction of General Wise, copies of the dispatch of Lieutenant Loyall to Colonel Shaw, with the colonel's note forwarding the same to these headquarters, and of the dispatch of Colonel Shaw, received about daybreak this morning. The officer who brought the dispatch first-above mentioned reports that of the enemy's fleet twenty-eight are gunboats seven are towing steamers, and the rest are transports. A re-enforcement of ten companies was sent from this place this forenoon to Roanoke Island, leaving about 300 men here to cover the retreat of our forces to the beach, should they be compelled to withdraw from the island. Owing to continued sickness the general was unable to accompany the troops sent to Roanoke. He is very much prostrated from the illness which still confines him to his bed, and which, in all probability, will compel him to keep his room for some days to come. At 10.20 a.m.. a single gun was heard, which the general supposed to be the signal-gun of Flag-Officer Lynch.

At 11.16 1/2 a.m.. of this day firing in the Croatan Sound commenced, and from that time till the period of closing this dispatch form two hundred and fifty to three hundred guns have been heard, showing a furious battle to be raging between our forces and the enemy. It is now 12.25 p.m.., and the firing is very rapid and heavy.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Assistant Adjutant-General.

P. S.-1 p.m.. The firing still continues most furious. A cannon is heard every second.


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

Colonel H. M. SHAW, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: Your brief dispatch, announcing that the enemy have landed on the island, has been delivered by Captain Robinson. I am directed by the general to say that he very deeply regrets that the enemy were allowed to land without resistance. The orders heretofore given you required that the enemy should be attacked while attempting to land; that you should fight every inch of ground at the water's edge as long as prudence would permit, and, if compelled to fall back, to do so fighting, and make a final stand at the breastworks.

Captain Robinson reports that you expected to be attacked at the breastworks in