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Hillsborough Recorder

Hillsborough Recorder

Sept/ 11, 1861

Page 2

From the Washington Dispatch


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 Hatteras.

In the night the enemy landed large forces with batteries of flying artillery, and occupied Fort Clark and threw up other earth works.

On Thursday 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 furlough.

Serg’t. Gautier, 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 outside.



[Transcribed by Sharon Strout]


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