War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0362 OPERATIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA. Chapter XX.

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six days after, but my men being in great need of landing, and there being no ground fit them to do so, we again sailed, and reached Annapolis on the evening of Wednesday, 6th February, 1862.

By remaining for thirty-four days, 700 on board, which if intended to sail is only calculated to carry 300, and which was consequently overcrowded by double the number, the Fifty-third Regiment New York Volunteers has undergone fatigue and miseries a thousand times harder to bear than ten battles, and more demoralizing than ten battles or even a defeat. Let us call to mind the English pontoon, between the decks of which an enormous number of prisoners, deprived of all means of cleaning themselves or the ship, were gathered and overcrowded; let us remember that besides this we were, if not exactly short of rations, at least compelled to the strictest economy in order to avoid becoming so; that besides we had not soft water enough even to dream of giving any ot the men for the purposes of corporeal cleanliness; let us consider all, and I think that we shall still have a very inadequate idea of what the sufferings of my poor men have been.

I should be completely misunderstood if it was thought that I in any way meant to complain. No; we have been the victims of circumstances, hard, undoubtedly, but unavoidable, and in our misery we ought to thank God for not having sent to destroy us some of those fearful contagious diseases which are the natural consequences of men being, as we were, overcrowded in a small place.

In making the above picture of our misfortunes I have only in view to state the fact that my men, although submitted to the hard discipline, which is so needed in such cases, behaved n the most admirable manner. that they were ever obedient, clam, and resigned to their fate. Like faithful soldiers, which they are, they have strictly obeyed the orders of our general, and are worthy of the highest consideration.

I shall perhaps have to bear the blame of public opinion for not having protested here or there; for not having done this or that, and many will perhaps think that the colonel could have avoided much suffering by acting in such or such a way. Let them think so. Let even my men be dissatisfied with me now. Time will clear up all those clouds, and if the Fifty-third Regiment has not been yet of any utility to the country, the admirable patience and abnegation displayed by the officers and men during their long sojourn on board has ta least shown what may be expected from their bearing when they are at last able to go into the field.

Very respectfully, &c.,


Colonel Fifty-third New York Volunteers.


Washington, February 12, 1862.

Brigadier General AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE,

Commanding Department of North Carolina:

GENERAL: We are all rejoiced to hear, through rebel sources, the gallant capture of Roanoke Island and the rebel gunboats. I hope to receive your account of it in a day or two, and take it for granted that your success has been at least as decisive and brilliant as indicated by rebel accounts.

I am glad to see that Commodore Goldsborough and yourself have