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BURNING OF HAMPTON.
ton Bridge' were ordered to oppose the passage of the foe at all hazards. These were attacked late in the evening, and repulsed, and soon afterward the town was set on fire in several places. This was
6. Aug. 7, done, as it afterward appeared, by order of General Magruder, whose judgment and feelings were at that time in subjection to his passions, excited by the too free use of intoxicating drinks. It was at about midnight when the town was fired, and before dawn it was almost entirely in ashes, with a greater portion of the bridge. The Confederates ran wildly about the village with blazing firebrands, spreading destruction in all directions. Even the venerable parish church, built in colonial times, and standing out of danger from the conflagration of the village, was not
BURNING OF HAMPTON. spared; it having been fired, according to testimony subsequently given, by the special order of the drunken Magruder. The cruelty of this destruction was at first charged upon the Union troops, but the truth was soon known, and the odium fixed where it belonged. Magruder contented himself with this performance, and withdrew his forces to Big Bethel and Yorktown. It was at about this time that General Butler was relieved of his com
mand at Fortress Monroe, and MajorGeneral John E. Wool was put in his place. Butler was not assigned to any other duty; but he was not long idle. The generous and sagacious Wool gave him the command of all the volunteer troops outside of the fortress. This service was a temporary one. Weeks before, a Union prisoner (Daniel Campbell, of Maine), who had escaped from Hatteras Inlet, brought information to Commodore Stringham, commanding in Hampton Roads, that through that pass English blockade-runners were continually carrying in supplies of
1 See page 514, volume I.
? The troops employed for the purpose were all Virginians, under the respective commands of Captains Goode, Phillips, Sullivan, and Curtis; the whole under the control of Colonel J. J. Hodges. Many of these troops were citizens of Hampton, and set fire to their own property, to prevent, as they said, its “ being occupied by Northern Vandals."
EXPEDITION AGAINST HATTERAS.
arms, ammunition, and clothing for the Confederates, and that two forts guarded the Inlet. Stringham informed General Butler of these facts, and the latter sent the report to Washington, with suggestions that land and naval forces should be sent to capture the forts at the Inlet, and close up the passage. The suggestion was acted upon, and, at the time we are considering, a small squadron of vessels was in Hampton Roads for the purpose, on which were to be borne nine hundred land troops. Butler volunteered to command these troops. His offer was accepted, and on Monday, the 26th
of August, at one o'clock P. M., the expedition departed, the
squadron being under the command of Commodore Silas H. Stringham.' General Butler took passage in the flag-ship (the Minnesota), and his troops were on the transports George Peabody and Adelaide. The frigate Cumberland was ordered to join the squadron. The expedition rendezvoused off the Hatteras inlet to Pamlico Sound (at the western end
of Hatteras Island, and about eighteen miles from the Cape) at 6 Aug. 27.
five o'clock on Tuesday afternoon, when preparations were immediately made for landing the troops in the morning, twelve hours later.
Two forts, named respectively Hatteras and Clark, occupied the western end of Hatteras Island. The troops were to be landed a short distance up the beach, to attack them in the rear, while the vessels should assail them in front. The Pawnee, Monticello, and Ilarriet Lane were to be sent forward to cover the landing of the forces, and take position, at first, about
two miles from the forts. These movements began at the apc Aug. 25.
pointed hour. Breakfast was served at four o'clock. The Cumberland (sailing vessel) was there, and was taken in tow by the Wabash. Dragging her charge to a proper position, the Wabash opened fire on the forts at a quarter to ten o'clock, and the Cumberland joined in the work. The flag-ship (Minnesota) was near, and soon passed inside the other two and engaged in the fight. The Susquehanna, which had joined the expedition, came up at eleven o'clock, and at once opened fire.
In the mean time a few of the troops had landed near a wreck, about two miles up the beach, under the direction of General Butler, who, with the marines, had gone on board the Harriet Lane. A heavy surf made the landing very difficult, and it was effected by only a little over three hundred men, who were completely covered by the guns of the Monticello and Harriet Lane.
The assault on the Confederate works had continued for more than four hours, when the firing ceased on both sides. The flags of the forts were down, and the men from the smaller work had fled to the greater, which was Fort Ilatteras. Some of the Coast Guard, under Mr. Weigel, of Colonel Weber's command, who had landed, took possession of the former, and raised the Union flag over it; and it was believed that both works were about to
1 The vessels composing the squadron were the Minnesota, Captain G. A. Van Brune; Wabash, Captain Samuel Mercer; Monticello, Commander John P. Gillis; Pawnee, Coinminder S. C. Rowan; Ilarriet Lane, Captain John Faunce; chartered steamer Adelaide, Commander H. S. Stellwagen ; George Peabody, Lientenant R. P. Lowry; and tng Fanny, Lieutenant Pierce Crosby. The Minnesota was the flag-ship. The transport, Service, was in charge of Commander Stellwagion, wbo had made the preparations.
2 These troops consisted of 500 of the Twentieth New York, Colonel Weber: 220 of the Ninth New York, Colonel Hawkins; 100 of the Union Co Guard, Captain Nixon; and 60 of the Second United States Artillery, Lieutenant Larned.
BATTLE AT HATTERAS INLET.
be surrendered. The Monticello was ordered to go cautiously into the Inlet, followed by the Harriet Lane, and take possession of them; but it had proceeded only a short distance, when fire was opened upon it from Fort Hatteras, and at the same time a tugsteamer was seen approaching, having in tow a schooner filled with troops, for the relief of the fort. The Minnesota, Susquehanna, and Pawnee immediately reopened fire on
FORT HATTERAS. the fort, and the attack was kept up until half-past six, when the whole squadron, excepting the Pawnee and the Harriet Lane, hauled off for the night. The Monticello was much exposed during the fight, and, at one time, her capture or destruction seemed inevitable; but she was finally taken out of range of the heavy guns of the fort, without much damage.
Early on the morning of the 29th the contest was renewed. During the preceding evening, Major W. S. G. Andrews, the commander of the two forts (who had been absent on the main), accompanied by Samuel Barron, who was in command of a little Confederate navy in charge of the defenses of Virginia and North Carolina, and then lying in Pamlico Sound, not far from the Inlet, arrived at Fort Hatteras. They found Colonel Martin, who had conducted the defense during the day, completely prostrated by fatigue, and it was agreed that Barron should assume the chief command of the fort, which he did. Guns were speedily brought to bear on Fort Clark, then supposed to be held by the Nationals, and the batteries were placed in charge of fresh troops. But Fort Clark was not held by Butler's troops. They were well and cautiously handled by their commander, Colonel Weber, and had been withdrawn toward the landing-place. Not far from the fort they had placed in battery during the night two bowitzers and a rifled 6-pounder cannon, landed from the fleet. These were very serviceable in the hands of Lieutenant Johnson, of the Coast Guard, who, early in the morning, beat off the Confederate steamer Winslow, commanded by Arthur Sinclair (who had abandoned his country's flag), which was filled with re-enforcements
1 Fort Hatteras was the principal work, and mounted ten guns. Fort Clark was a square redoubt, about 750 yards northward it, and mounting seven guns. The former occupied a point on a sandy beach, and was almost surrounded by water. It could only be approached on the land side by a march of 500 yards circuitously over a long neck of land, within half musket-shot of its embankments, and over a narrow causeway, only a few feet in width, which was commanded by two 82-pounder guns loaded with gripe and canister shot. The parapet was nearly octagon in form, and inclosed about three-fourths of an acre of ground, with several sufficient traverses.
Mr. Fiske, acting aid-de-camp of General Butler, performed a gallant feat. When Fort Clark was abandoned, he swam ashore, through quite heavy breakers, with orders from Butler to Colonel Weber. He entered the fort, and found books and papers there containing much valuablo information. He formed them into a package, strapped them on his shoulders, and swam back with them to the general. After the capitulation, the Confederate officers expressed their surprise at the accuracy of Butler's information on the previous day, being ignorant that their own documents had furnished it.
CAPTURE OF FORTS HATTERAS AND OLARK.
for the garrison. The Harriet Lane, in the mean time, had run in shore to assist the land forces who had moved up to Johnson's battery.
The Susquehanna was the first of the squadron to open fire on the fort on the second day. The Wabash and Minnesota followed, and a little later the Cumberland sailed in and took part in the fight. The Harriet Lane also came up and became a participant. The pounding of the fort was too severe to be borne long, and Barron attempted the trick of hauling down his flag, and assuming the attitude of the vanquished; but the Nationals were not deceived a second time. At almost eleven o'clock a white flag appeared over the fort, and the firing ceased. The tug Fanny, with General Butler on board, moved into the Inlet to take possession of the works. The Confederate vessels in the Sound, with troops on board, fled at her approach. The Harriet Lane and the transport Adelaide followed the Fanny in, and both grounded, but they were finally hauled off. The forts were formally surrendered, under a capitulation signed by the respective commanders.” “No one of the fleet or army was in the least degree injured,” said Butler, in his report to General Wool. He added, that the loss of the Confederates was “twelve or fifteen killed and thirty-five wounded.”
The capture of the forts at Hatteras Inlet was a severe blow to the Confederates, and opened the way to most important results, beneficial to the National cause, as we shall observe hereafter. General Butler had been ordered to destroy the forts, and not attempt to hold them. He was so impressed with the importance of preserving them, that, after consultation with Stringham and Stellwagen, he returned immediately to Fortress Monroe, and hastened to Washington with the first news of the victory, to explain his views to the Government in person. It was determined to hold them, and the troops, which had only been provisioned for five days, were imme
diately supplied. Butler was now commissioned by the Secretary a September, of Wara to go to New England and “raise, arm, uniform, and equip a volunteer force for the war.” He did so.
What was done with them will be revealed when we come to consider events at Ship Island, in the Gulf of Mexico, and at New Orleans.
Colonel Hawkins was left, with the portion of his Ninth New York (Zouaves) that had joined the expedition, to garrison the post at Hatteras
1 This was an anxious moment for the Unionists, for, by these accidents, a valuable ship of war and a transport filled with troops were unler the guns of the fort, and within the power of the Confederates.
2 The capitulation was signed on board the flag ship Minnesotul, August 29tki, 1861, by "S. H. Stringham, Flag Officer Atlantic Blockading Squadron," and " Benjamin F. Butler, Major-General U. 8. Army, commanding," on one part, and “S. Barron, Flag Officer C. S. Navy, commanding naval forces, Virginia and North Carolina," " Willian F. Martin, Colonel Seventh Light Infantry, N. C. Volunteers," and "W. S. G. Andrews, Major, commanding Forts latterus and Clark." It was agreed that commanders, men, forts, and munitions of war should be immediately surrendered to the Government of the United States, in terms of full capitulation, " the oflicers and men to receive the treatment of prisoners of war." Barron had proposed that the officers and men should retire” (in other words, not be detained as prisoners), the former to go out with their side-arms. The proposition was rejected. The prisoners were taken to New York, and afterward exchanged.
* Reports of General Butler, August 30th, and of Commodore Stringham, August 30th and September 1st, 1861, and other subordinate officers; also of “Commodore” Barron and Major Andrews, of the Confederate service, September 1st, 1861. The nuinber of troops surrendered, including the officers, was 715, and with them 1,000 stand of arms, 5 stand of colors, 81 pieces of cannon, vessels with cotton and stores, and 75 kegs of gunpowder. One of the flags was new, and had been presented, within a week, by the women of New Berne, North Carolina, to the "North Carolina Defenders."-General Wool's General Order, No. 8, August 31st, 1861.
4 General Wool issued a stirring order, announcing the victory, and Secretary Welles congratulated Stringham and his men for the brilliant achievement accomplished without the loss of a man on the Union side."
STRUGGLE FOR HATTERAS ISLAND.
HARRIET LANE MONTICELLO
OPERATIONS NEAT. CAPE HATTERAS.
and hold the Island and Inlet. Late in September he was re-enforced by Colonel Brown and his Twentieth Indiana regiment. In the mean time an expedition had been secretly prepared for following up the victory at Hatteras, by seizing and holding the whole coast of North Carolina washed by the waters of Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, and threatening Norfolk, still held by the Confederates, in the rear.!
The first object was to close the passages to these Sounds from the sea. Accordingly, a little naval force was sent to break up a Confederate post at Ocracoke Inlet, a
1861, few miles down the coast from Hatteras. Commodore Rowan sent Lieutenant J. T. Maxwell to perform this service. He went in the tug Fanny, with a detachment of mariners and soldiers of the Naval Brigade which had been organized in Hampton Roads.
со The tug towed a launch, and the Sus quehanna accompanied them. An earthwork, little inferior to Fort Hatteras, was found on Beacon Island, commanding the Inlet; but this, called Fort Ocracoke, and older Fort Morgan near, were abandoned. They were disabled by Maxwell.
In the meantime the Confederates were evidently preparing to throw a force on to Roanoke Island, to the northward of Hatteras, with the intention of recovering their losses at the Inlet, and keeping open two small inlets to Pamlico, above Cape Hatteras. Hawkins sent Colonel Brown, with his Twentieth Indiana, up the island to a hamlet called Sept. 29. Chicomicocomico, partly to defend the professedly loyal inhabitants there, but more particularly to watch the Confederates, and, if possible, prevent their gaining possession of Roanoke. The regiment was landed in small boats, with very scant supplies. The Fanny was sent with
Sept. 80. stores, but was captured by the Confederates, who thus obtained
dOct. 1. property of the value of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The most important loss was the camp equipage, provisions, and intrenching tools of Brown's regiment. It defeated his undertaking; for when, on the 4th of October, a squadron of five or six Confederate steamers, bearing over two thousand men, composed of North Carolinians and Georgians, who had taken possession of Roanoke Island, bore down from Croatan Sound, with the evident intention of attacking him, he was compelled to retreat. Troops were landed from the steamers at Keneekut and Chicomicocomico, above and below Brown's Camp, under cover of shells thrown from the armed vessels. The Indianians succeeded in escaping to Cape Hatteras, where they were met by five hundred of Hawkins's Zouaves, supported by the Susquehanna and Monticello. They had lost about fifty men, most of whom were cap
· See page 897, volume I.