Sept/ 11, 1861
Our community was
thrown into intense excitement on Friday morning last on receipt of the news
that Hatteras had been captured. We had
expected the attack. On Tuesday morning
we left there in company with others. A
first class frigate was then coming up.
She was joined by others in the afternoon. On Tuesday the whole fleet, consisting of 5
or 6 large Steamers and 6 Gun-boats, arrived off the bar. Early on Wednesday morning the attack was
commenced on Fort
Clark. This was a small Fort about half a mile from
Hatteras to the North and nearer the ocean, Hatteras being on the point of land near the
channel just where it enters the Sound.
Unfortunately they were so located that vessels could attack Fort Clark
out of the range of the guns of Hatteras.
What miserable science. The
gallant men who defended it did
everything that could have been done.
With a heroism worthy of veteran gunners they stood to their guns for
hours behind a simple sand bank, and without covering the heavy balls of the
enemy knocking away the sand as snow-drift and tearing through their ranks, and
bombs dropping in their midst. Their
ammunitions exhausted, and the last shot fired, in the afternoon they spiked
their guns, broke to pieces the gun-carriages, and in the midst of a heavy
cannonade retreated to Fort
In the night the
enemy landed large forces with batteries of flying artillery, and occupied Fort Clark
and threw up other earth works.
morning the combat was renewed. All the
available force of the enemy on water and land was brought to bear on the Fort
now crowded with men. The vessels having
got the range of our guns, only 32 pounders, their guns being of heavier
caliber and longer range, took their positions mainly beyond our reach. We were powerless. The result, without a miraculous
interposition in our favor, could not be doubtful. For hours, from sea and land, a storm of
balls rained upon the Fort. Cool, calm,
determined, the brave sons of North
Carolina and the heroes from other States of the
South present, stood to their guns and watched an opportunity to send death
into the ranks of the invading foe. Many
deeds of cool daring and unsurpassed heroism were done. The bomb-proof earth works, it is said, at
length gave way, which was in the centre of the Fort, the magazine exposed—some
say exploded, and in the midst of the falling of hundreds of bombs, without
hope of succor or relief, our brave troops surrendered at 11 o’clock. Thus fell an important post and thus 7
companies of the 7th Regiment of N. C. Volunteers, with their field
officers, a company of the 2nd Regiment of State troops, the
Washington Greys, and several other naval and artillery officers, were
butchered and captured.
Who were killed
and wounded, we know not. We fear to
hear the list. We had many kind, loved
friends in the devoted band. Rumor has
it that____ and ____ were killed at the guns or torn to pieces by bombs, but we
will not publish the names till we know.
Oh, mothers, wives, kindred, hope till you hear the fate of loved ones!
A few of the
wounded were taken off in the Steamer Winslow and carried to Newbern. Lieut. Murdock, of the Navy, had his left arm
shattered and E. B. Shaw, of this place, a slight flesh wound in the leg. The latter is now here with his parents.
A few of the Tar
River Boys, Hertford Light Infantry, Morris Guards and Washington Greys, having
been detailed on other service, made their escape. A number of some of the companies were on
Thos. Hardenbergh, Allen Grist, Jr., Solomon Dunbar, S. L. Grist and E. B.
Shaw, of the Washington Greys, under command of Serg’t. Gautier, gallantly and
heroically bore themselves in carrying powder from the Steamer Col. Hill to the
Fort in a yawl boat. Cannon balls and
rifle shot whistled over and around them, dashing the water into foam, and
bombs fell on every side of the boat.
One shell in their midst would have annihilated them, boat and all. Too much praise cannot be bestowed on them.
P. S. --Since
writing the above we have reliable information
from Newbern, from which place a flag of truce was sent to Hatteras,
that there were only 7 killed and 25 wounded, 4 of whom were mortally wounded and
have since died. No names are given
except one, who, it is said, was from the Hatteras district.
The Fort was
occupied by the enemy, and 3 small steamers were inside and 2 large ones
by Sharon Strout]