to any one for the defeat of our troops at Roanoke Island on February 8, 1862, should attach to Major General B. Huger and the late Secretary of War, J. P. Benjamin.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
B. S. GAITHER,
FEBRUARY 10, 1862.-Action at Elizabeth City, N. C.
Report of Colonel C. F. Henningsen, Fifty-ninth Virginia Infantry.
WINTON, N. C., February 12, 1862-12 p.m..
GENERAL: Finding at Currituck Court-House that provision and forage could not be obtained to proceed to Powell's Point, or even to remain at the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal any nearer than Elizabeth City, [we] marched there on the 3rd with artillery of Wise's Legion and remained there till [the] 7th, breaking horses to fire and harness while waiting orders from General Wise. Received on February 7 one order from General Wise to leave guns and wagons at Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal and proceed with horses and men to Powell's Point. Sent quartermaster to make arrangements. Same evening received second dispatch from Brigadier General H. A. Wise, dated from Nag's Head, informing me that the Federal squadron in great force was advancing up the sound, and ordering me to remain and do the best I could for the defense of Elizabeth City.
I found a battery (about 2 miles by water and about 3 by land) with four 32-pounders and 28 rounds of ammunition; battery defective (magazine dangerous, if there had been any ammunition to put in it). General Mann promised to call out the militia, and Colonel Starke endeavored to do so, but it seems they would not come. I tried to obtain 150 negroes to throw up traverse (three of the guns being enfiladed) and otherwise improve [the] battery, but could only, by 2 a.m.. on the 9th, obtain 30 hands, whom I impressed.
Early on the morning of the 8th Commodore Lynch, with six steamers, arrived; had fought the day before, exhausting all his ammunition. Proposed to man the battery with crew of the lost steamer Curlew; to place therein additional guns, and moor schooner with two guns alongside battery. Colonel Martin received 200 sounds powder from Norfolk and 100 pounds blasting powder was found and made up into cartridges.
On the morning [of the] 9th, Commodore Lynch, having found a few rounds, steamed out with two steamers to reconnoiter enemy. Returned, chased by enemy's steamers, and determined to land crews and fight battery, expecting Captain Hunter with ammunition. It appeared that the militia would not come out without requisition from seven magistrates. This was obtained on the 9th. The naval officers were of opinion that the enemy would not attempt to pass battery until silenced. I undertook, with promise of a regiment of militia and expectation of a few companies, to prevent its being turned for some time.
On the evening of the 9th I moved out four pieces to rear of the battery for that purpose, leaving two pieces and wagons in Elizabeth City ready to move.