APRIL 6, 1863.-Skirmish at Nixonton, N. C.
Report of Captain Enos C. Sanders, First North Carolina (Union) Infantry.
WASHINGTON, N. C., May 1, 1863.
I started on the steamer Massasoit for New Berne and arrived at Midnight. Took the same boat on the 2nd instant for Plymouth. I made application for transportation at New Berne, and the quartermaster, Lieutenant-Colonel Biggs, ordered the Massasoit to go the whole trip with me; but as his orders did not reach the captain of the steamer I went to Plymouth, where I arrived on Sunday, the 3rd instant. Saw Commander Charles Flusser that evening; he was to send a gunboat as convoy to the steamer Massasoit, which I had already procured the use of, to go as far as Roanoke with me.
After getting the men that I was after (but afterwards the general decided to send a gunboat and a company of infantry), on the morning of the 4th I started at 5 a. m. on the United States gunboat Southfield, Captain Behm commanding, with a company of the Eighty-fifth New York Infantry, Lieutenant Whitney commanding. Arrived at Halley's Landing at 9 a. m.; the wharf had been burned by the Confederates. I landed with the company, and, on making inquiries, found that the men of Company E were encamped in the woods 10 miles from that place, and as it was uncertain about the force of the enemy in that vicinity I did not think it prudent to go into the country. We then started for the Pasquotank River, where we arrived at 5 p. m. We landed at the mouth of the river and marched to Shiloh, a distance of 10 miles, where we went aboard of the gunboat at 10 p. m. I sent word to the men to be ready the next day to go with me.
On the morning of the 5th we went to Elizabeth City; landed and got the family of William Wright; went to Shiloh; the schooner Patty Martin had arrived; went to Jones' Mill; landed; marched to Old Trap; found some of the men collected there, but the others,not knowing of our presence, could not be found. We staved till morning, and then went on board with 7 of my men, as follows: Peter, Stephen, Cornelius, and Nicholas Burgess, Ithean and Wilson Duncan, and Dempsey Wright. We crossed over to the Pasquotank side; landed and got the family of Joseph Morgan. There were four men in that country belonging to my company; one, John Cartwright, came us; one could not be found, and the other two were, one sick and one wounded. We went aboard at dark.
On the morning of the 6th the Southfield started for Roanoke at 2 a. m. I started for Nixonton, on Little River, at daylight with the schooner Patty Martin and my men, numbering 17. We arrived at the landing of Thomas Moss' place at 5 p. m.; came to anchor; sent a boat ashore with 6 men, with orders not to land till they found all right; a large flat at the landing looked suspicions. As the boat approached the land they saw landing looked suspicious. As the boat approached the land they saw a handkerchief waived in the window of Mrs. Moss' house. They put about pulled for the schooner, when they were fired upon by the guerrillas. They returned the fire from the boat, and we commenced a brisk fire from the schooner, which was kept up till the boat came alongside, when we got under way and headed down the river.
We had used nearly all the ammunition we had. There was no one hurt on our side, although the boat was within 40 yards of the shore when fired upon. The vessel was struck several times. We got to the mouth of the river at sunset, where we found the United States steamer