War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0159 Chapter XX. BATTLE OF ROANOKE ISLAND, N. C.

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February 13, 1862-12 noon.

I have received a message from Edenton by a Mr. Haughton, who left there yesterday. He states that the enemy landed at Edenton yesterday morning, estimated 5,000. I have many stragglers of your Legion here. All effective men should move toward Suffolk, and non-effective west of Suffolk, to come back when ready. By this movement up the river they are passing around your position. The report of the landing at Edenton is fully confirmed. I send this by my messenger in haste.

Your obedient servant,



P. S.-I hope to hear from your flag of truce this evening or to-morrow.

This gave me full discretion to select whatever position I could occupy most usefully, and intimated that there was apprehension the enemy would, by moving up the river, pass around my position. I immediately replied as follows:


February 13, 1862.

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

SIR: Seeing the position at the Canal Bridge utterly indefensible by my force without field artillery, and that the men had no quarters and the heavy artillery exposed to capture, I this morning shipped them in a schooner, and have ordered them to the Great Bridge, on the Virginia section of this canal, with all my extra ordnance and commissary stores. I have ordered the unarmed escaped men of the North Carolina regiments to Norfolk. The are unfit for service. Just as we were moving from the canal bridge three of the enemy's steamers appeared at the North River end of the canal and opened with a few round shot and shell, which all fell short. We moved slowly away while they were landing at the mouth of the canal. We by land and the transports by water have all arrived here safely. Colonel Henningsen is reported as not far off-some 5 miles-with his artillery. This will give me eleven companies of infantry and artillery and one of cavalry. I have ordered vedettes down to the bridge and westward near to Sawyer's Creek. I shall be governed by the movements of the enemy. I sank a barge at the month of the canal and a steam dredging machine higher ups, so as effectually to delay for a day or two, if not to effectually arrest, the entrance or passage of the canal. I beg that Captain Tabb may detail another officer to collect and send to me the stragglers of the Legion. I do not want any of the Eighth and Thirty-first Regiments of North Carolina. Captain Tabb's services as my assistant adjutant-general are needed very much. Please send the Legion men to me, not to Suffolk. The enemy cannot get around my position by passing up the sound and rivers. I fear they mean to move on the Great Bridge. Captain Robinson has taken full report of the flag of truce.

Very respectfully,



On the same day I also addressed to him the following:


February 13, 1862.

Major-General HUGER, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: The Currituck, with flag of truce, has just returned. She brings the bodies of Captains Wise and Coles and of Lieutenant Selden, and a copy of Major Duffield's report is herein inclosed. Captain Robinson bears to you the letter of General Burnside. I send also the copy of this to me. I beg most earnestly that his proposition be at once accepted and my men released on parole. The messenger must return immediately to Elizabeth City. Send Captain Robinson, if you please, back with a favorable answer. The enemy have about 15,000 men; they landed about 10,000; had 5,000 in the action; 5,000 in reserve. We had not over 500 in action. Our killed, about 15; the enemy's, about 400.

Edenton has fallen. This place is wholly indefensible by the force under my command here. I have determined to move the guns to Currituck Court-House, and, after getting quarters there, to advance toward Elizabeth City and join my forces on the line between Edenton and Currituck. We are to-day throwing more obstructions into the canal and will block it effectually.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,