War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0185 Chapter XXX. ATTACK ON NEW BERNE, N. C.

Search Civil War Official Records

The position occupied by Lieutenant Barstow was one of extreme danger; every tent and house within the works at Fort Anderson was riddled by shot and shell, and the parade literally blown up by the enemy's artillery. Both Lieutenant Barstow and his flagman (Marsh) were struck by spent pieces of shell, but fortunately received no injury of any account. It is about justice to Lieutenant Merrill to state that but for him the gunboat on which he was placed would have done more damage to our troops than the enemy, as either through the stupidity, excitement, or drunkenness of its commanding officer they were going to open fire on the only place where the garrison of the fort were covered from the fire of the enemy. Lieutenant Merrill having taken position on the paddle-box had a fine view of the field and the roads by which the enemy must come to assault the place, and the moment the head of their columns showed themselves gave directions, distances, and elevation to the gunners, and that so accurately that some of the rebel guns were for a time abandoned and their infantry driven back. He and Lieutenant Barstow together directed the fire of the gunboat Hunchback and the batteries on shore on the south side of the Neuse.

With a corps of such officers as Lieutenant Merrill I would be willing to undertake anything.

It was impossible for these officers to get their reports ready in time, or these copies would have accompanied my own report of the same transaction, lately mailed to you.

I remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain and Acting Signal Officer.

Major A. J. MYER, Signal Officer, U. S. Army.

Numbers 3. Report of Lieutenant Nathaniel S. Barstow, Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry, Acting Signal Officer, of attack on Fort Anderson.


New Berne, March 16, 1863.

SIR: On the 13th instant, in pursuance to orders of Captain Taylor, I reported for signal duty to Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson, at Fort Anderson, on the north side of the Neuse River, New Berne, N. C.

On the morning of the 14th instant, just before daylight, the fort was attacked by General Pettigrew with two brigades of infantry and seventeen pieces of artillery.

By order of Colonel Anderson I sent the following message to Major-General Foster:

The enemy are in front of us in large force, with artillery; we want men.


Re-enforcements shall be sent as soon as possible.

After sending this message, by the severity of the enemy's fire I was compelled to change my position, and took a more sheltered place.

From Colonel Anderson to General Foster:

Send more men, send them quickly.


Hold out as long as you can; lie close; men are coming.