War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0190 OPERATIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA. Chapter XX.

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and I combined can't guarantee successful defense for a day. I beg, sir, that you will urge this upon the Navy Department, and believe that I am not superserviceable in this urgency.

General Wise, finding that his written appeals for aid in the defenses of the island to headquarters at Norfolk and to the Department at Richmond were neglected and treated with indifference, repaired in person to Richmond and called upon the Secretary of War, and urged in the most important manner the absolute necessity of strengthening the defenses upon that island with additional men, armament, and ammunition. The Secretary of War replied verbally to his appeals for re-enforcements that he had not the men to spare for his command. General Wise urged upon the Secretary that General Huger had about 15,000 men in front of Norfolk lying idle in camp for eight months, and that a considerable portion of them could be spared for the defense of the rear of Norfolk and especially as hs (General Wise's) district supplied Norfolk and his army with nearly or quite all of his corn, pork, and forage; that re-enforcements at Roanoke Island were as absolutely necessary to the defense of Norfolk as forces in its front, and that particular or special posts should not be allowed to monopolize nearly all the men, powder, and supplies.

In reply to all his urgent appeals for the means of defense General Wise, on January 22, received the following military orders, Numbers 17:

Brigadier General Henry A. Wise, Provisional Army, will immediately proceed to Roanoke Island, North Carolina, and assume command of the Confederate States troops at that place.

By command of the Secretary of War:


Assistant Adjutant-General.

It is apparent to the committee from [that] the correspondence on file of General Wise with the Secretary or War, General Huger, his superior officer, the Governor of North Carolina, and others, proves that he was fully alive to the importance of Roanoke Island, and has devoted his whole time and energies and means to the defense of that position, and that he is in no way responsible for the unfortunate disaster which be fell our forces upon that island on February 7 and 8.

But the committee cannot say the same in reference to the efforts of the Secretary of War and the commanding officer at Norfolk, General Huger. It is apparent that the island of Roanoke is important for the defense of Norfolk, and that General Huger had under his command and that point upward of 15,000 men, a large supply of armament and ammunition, and could have thrown in a few hours a large re-enforcement upon Roanoke Island, and that himself and the Secretary of War had timely notice of the entire inadequacy of the defenses, the want of men and munitions of war, and the threatening attitude of the enemy. But General Huger and the Secretary of War paid no practical attention to those urgent appeals of General Wise, sent forward none of his important requisitions, and permitted General Wise and his inconsiderable force to remain to meet at least 15,000 men, well-armed and equipped. If the Secretary of War and the commanding general at Norfolk had not the means to re-enforce General Wise why was he not ordered to abandon his position and save his command? But, upon the contrary, he was required to remain and sacrifice his command, with no means in his insulated position to make his escape in case of defeat.

The committee, from the testimony, are therefore constrained to report, that whatever of blame and responsibility is justly attributable