War of the Rebellion: Serial 107 Page 0057 Chapter LXIII. BATTLE OF ROANOKE ISLAND, N. C.

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FEBRUARY 8, 1862.-Battle of Roanoke Island, N. C.

Report of Lieutenant Charles W. Tillotson, Company B, Ninety-ninth New York Infantry (Union Coast Guard).


U. S. S. Southfield, February 10, 1862.

SIR: I take this the first opportunity to report the condition of Company B. My company is in good spirits and conducted themselves nobly under fire. We were in the most exposed position, and suffered considerably. My loss is McCoy and John Doyle, instantly killed; John Sadler wounded in both thighs, supposed mortally; Mathew Stanford wounded in right arm, William Jackson in the back, David Lloyd in the forehead, and Daniel Van Auken in the right hand. Several of my men lost their arms, but all but four replaced them with rebel rifles of the Enfield pattern. I am proud of my company, and I am sure you will be. Lieutenant Hughes conducted himself nobly, as did every man in the company. I will give you a description of the engagement as well as I can in my poor way:

On the morn of the 7th our fleet of gun-boats got under way and attacked the batteries on Roanoke Island; the enemy returned our fire from the batteries and eight gun-boats with spirit and energy. At 12 o'clock the troops prepared to land, and we ran in with the launches to cover their landing. My company manned five of them, and I commanded the three forming the left wing; we learned the beach with grape and shell; then landed our howitzers and protected the landing of the troops; we advanced the artillery about a mile the first night, and stood picket supported by the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts. The fleet kept up a continuous fire all day and drove the steamers from their positions twice, and they returned. The channel was filled up so that our boats could not close with them, yet hurt them badly; also silenced all the guns in the battery, except two, the first day. It was a nasty, rainy night. At daybreak on the 8th we advanced upon the enemy, the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts the advance guard. The artillery followed, supported by 12,000 in the rear. The rebels fell back to their intrenchments, when they made a stand. The Twenty-fifth deployed. Our artillery took a position in the center on a line with the skirmishers, and kept it. Here I had my division on the right, while the left was partly under cover of trees. The enemy had a strong position, commanding the road, flanked on both sides of the swamp. Our army come and deployed right and left through the swamps, where they cut their way inch by inch. The fire was incessant on both sides from 9 a. m. until half-past 12, when the three companies of the Fifty-First New York and the Twenty-First Massachusetts charged on the left, and the Ninth New York in front. We followed close in on the Ninth with our artillery. The rebels then ran in every direction, followed close by us. They tried to rally and make a stand, but our troops made a charge again, and caused a perfect rout. We followed them to Weir's Point Battery, where they surrendered unconditionally the whole island. Lieutenant Hughes' was the battery. We took 3,000 prisoners. There were about 8,000 rebels on the island, but they escaped in steamers and schooners. We also captured thirty-one guns in five batteries. Our gun-boats have gone over to Elizabeth City, and the army will follow in a day or two. Do not be surprised if Company B win laurels for themselves, and become an ornament to the regiment. It surely will, sir, if I can make it so. I am in hopes to join