War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0186 OPERATIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA. Chapter XX.

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at Ashby's, and defended by a swamp from the advance of our infantry and protected by the shot and shell from their gunboats. Our whole force, therefore, withdrew from Ashby's and took position at the redoubts, or breastwork, and placed in battery their field pieces, with necessary artillerymen, under the respective commands of Captain Schermerhorn, Lieutenant Kinney and Selden. Two companies of the Eighth and two of the Thirty-first were placed at the redoubt to support the artillery. Three companies of the Wise Legion deployed to the right and left as skirmishers; the remainder of the infantry in position 300 yards in the rear of the redoubt as a reserve.

The enemy landed some 15,000 men, with artillery,and at 7 a.m.. of the 8th opened fire, upon the redoubt, which was replied to immediately with great spirit, and the action soon became general, and was continued without intermission for more than five hours, when the enemy succeeded in deploying a large force on either side of our line, flanking each wing. The order was then given by Colonel Shaw to spike the guns in the battery and to retreat to the northern end of the island. The guns were spiked and the whole force fell back to the camps.

During the engagement at the redoubt the enemy's fleet attempted to advance up Croatan Sound, which brought on a desultory engagement between Fort Bartow and the fleet, which continued up to 12.30 o'clock, when the commanding officer was informed that the land defenses had been forced and the position of the fort turned. He therefore ordered the guns to be disabled and the ammunition destroyed, which was done, and the fort abandoned. The same thing was done at Forts Blanchard and Huger, and the forces from all the forts were marched in good order to the camps. The enemy took possession of the redoubt and forts immediately, and proceeded in pursuit with great caution toward the northern end of the island in force, deploying so as to surround our forces at the camps. Colonel Shaw, having arrived with his whole force at his camp in time to have saved his whole command if transports had been furnished, but none being there, and finding himself surrounded by a greatly superior force upon the open island, with no field works to protect him, and having lost his only three field pieces at the redoubt, had either to make an idle display of courage in fighting the foe at such immense disadvantage, to the sacrifice of his command, or to capitulate and surrender as prisoners of war. He wisely determined upon the latter alternative.

The loss on our side in killed, wounded, and missing is as follows: Killed, 23; wounded, 58; missing, 62. The loss of Forty-sixth and Fifty-ninth Virginia Volunteers is, killed, 6; wounded, 28; missing, 19. That of the Eighth, Thirty-first, and Second North Carolina State troops is, killed, 16; wounded, 30; missing, 43.

Of the engineer's department, Lieutenant Selden (killed), who had patriotically volunteered his services in the line, was assigned to the command of the 6-pounder, which he handled with so much skill as to produce immense havoc in the enemy's ranks and to elicit the unbounded admiration of all who witnessed it. Unhappily, however, that gallant officer received a rifle-ball in the head and he fell without a groan.

The loss of the enemy was in killed and wounded at least 900, and the probability is a much larger number.

The foregoing is a brief and concise view of the defenses of Roanoke Island and of the adjacent waters, the number of our troops engaged on February 7 and 8, and the circumstances of the capitulation thereof