Captain Lewis O. Morris, First United States Artillery, being assigned to duty with the brigade, was placed in charge of the three 30-pounder Parrott guns, and Lieutenant D. W. Flagler, of the Ordnance, had charge of the two mortar batteries.
From Slocum's Creek it was intended to haul the siege train over to the railroad, and thence transport it on cars with horse-power to Carolina City. Immediately on landing at Slocum's Creek I was informed that the enemy had burned the railroad bridge over Newport River, and fearing that a similar attempt would be made on the county-road bridge, I dispatched a company to guard it, and followed with the available force that had landed. We thus secured this bridge, and had an unobstructed route by the common road to Carolina City, which point we reached on the 22nd.
The Fifth Rhode Island Battalion was ordered to the crossing of Newport River, and to the major commanding was intrusted the rebuilding of the railroad bridge. This was accomplished in a few days.
On the 23rd a demand was made for the surrender of the fort and garrison. This being refused, steps were at once taken to completely invest the work and preparations made for besieging the place.
Two companies were sent to Morehead City, the terminus of the railway, and three companies to Beaufort, with instructions to the commanding officers at both points to seize all the boats and cut off all supplies for the garrison and stop all communication with fort. A gunboat served to blockade Core Sound, and by the aid of one or two small boats at Carolina City we were enabled to cut off all communication through Bogue Sound. From Beaufort a communication was opened with the blockading fleet, a party crossing to Shackelford Banks, and thence in a fisherman's boat to the fleet.
Having received a ship's launch and howitzer from New Berne by the way of Clubfoot Canal, a small party on the 29th of March, under cover of this gun, effected a landing on the Banks directly opposite Carolina City, thus completely investing the work.
The enemy now seemed to be very active in and about the fort. The bark Glen, lying under the guns of the fort, was burned; also the Eliason House. The light-house tower and beacon were overturned, and all the outbuildings were destroyed. All parties of our men crossing from Morehead to Beaufort, or anywhere within range of the guns of the fort, were continually fired upon.
Fort Macon is situated upon the eastern extremity of Bogue Banks, a narrow sand island stretching off to the westward a distance of about 25 miles, and separated from the mail-land by Bogue Sound, in which the depth of the water is so slight as to permit no navigation other than of the lightest-draught flats and small boats. From a point on the island opposite Carolina City to the fort, a distance of about 5 miles, the surface of the island is broken, commencing a short distance from the beach, into irregular knolls of sand, varying in height and extent. Toward the sound these knolls decrease in size until they approach an extensive salt-marsh, through which run numerous creeks. Near the head of one of these creeks, Hoop Pole, our permanent camp and depot was located, and to this point it was necessary to transport all the troops, supplies, siege guns, ammunition, &c., in scows and small boats. On account of the intricacy of the channel and the slight depth of the water, even with the boats which we obtained, no supplies could be transported excepting upon full tide.
Finding that a large force was necessary to guard the Newport