1862 February 8th

February 8 1862 Saturday

Battle of Roanoke Island, NC (CWSAC Major Battle Union Victory)

Forts Henry & Donelson Campaign

Burnside’s Expedition to North Carolina

Alabama. Union Lieutenant Seth Ledyard Phelps USN led three timber-clad gunboats, the USS Tyler, USS Conestoga, and USS Lexington, in a raid for 150 miles up the Tennessee River from Fort Henry. The raid reached as far as Muscle Shoals just past Florence, which was the limit of navigability.

The Union ships and their raiding parties destroyed supplies and the important bridge of the Memphis & Ohio Railroad, 25 miles upriver. They also captured a variety of Southern boats, including the Sallie Wood, the Muscle, and an ironclad under conversion from a steamboat, the CSS Eastport. The Confederates destroyed two other vessels to avoid their capture. The Union ships returned safely to Fort Henry on 12 February. Phelps made a major blunder during his otherwise successful raid. The citizens of the town of Florence begged him to spare their town and the strategic railroad bridge of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. Phelps told them that he would do so, seeing no military value in the bridge. The loss of the bridge would have split the Confederate theatre in half as this bridge conveyed General Albert Sidney Johnston’s Confederate army to Corinth, Mississippi, where he had decided to concentrate his forces in preparation for their next campaign.

Kansas. Martial law was declared throughout the state of Kansas by the US authorities in response to pro-Confederate agitation and guerrilla activity.

Missouri. Skirmish at Bolivar.

North Carolina. Expedition to Roanoke Island ended.

North Carolina. The Dismal Swamp Canal opened to waterway traffic in 1805 and it became an important route to transport supplies from North Carolina to Virginia.  Captain William Francis Lynch, commanding the CSS Sea Bird, a side-wheel steamer, had received naval supplies via the canal when he was in charge of the flotilla defending Roanoke Island. After Roanoke Island fell into Union hands, Lynch decided to move to Elizabeth City.

Roanoke Island, North Carolina, also known as Fort Huger. Union Brigadier-General Ambrose Everett Burnside’s infantry expedition was supported by naval gunboats in an assault on the Confederate forts on the narrow boggy middle of Roanoke Island.

The Union gunboat fleet included USS Brinker, USS Ceres, USS Chasseur, USS Commodore, Barney, USS Commodore Perry, USS Delaware, USS Granite, USS Hetzel, USS Hunchback, USS Hussar, USS John L Lockwood, USS Louisiana, USS Morse, USS Pickett, USS Pioneer, USS Putnam, USS J N Seymour, USS Shawsheen, USS Southfield, USS Stars and Stripes, USS Underwriter, USS Valley City, USS Vidette, and USS Whitehead.

Burnside’s much larger force drove back and outmanoeuvred Confederate Brigadier-General Henry Alexander Wise’s small command of 3,000 men. The Union landing force at Ashby Harbor advanced north along the only road on the island. The 25th Massachusetts Infantry led the way with the boat howitzers following. They halted when they met a Confederate redoubt and some 400 infantrymen blocking their path. Another thousand Confederates were in reserve about 250 yards to the rear. The front was so constricted that Confederate commander Colonel Henry Marchmore Shaw could deploy only a quarter of his men. The defensive line ended in what was deemed to be an impenetrable swamp on both sides, so Shaw did not protect his flanks. The island was only a mile wide and was traversed by a causeway guarded by a three-gun battery.

The remainder of the Union 1st Brigade of Brigadier-General John Gray Foster spread out to match their opponents’ configuration and the combatants exchanged fire for two hours. The 10th Connecticut Infantry relieved the 25th Massachusetts but they could not advance. No progress was made until the commander of the 2nd Brigade, Brigadier-General Jesse Lee Reno, ordered them to try to pass through the swamp on the Union left. Foster then ordered two of his reserve regiments to do the same on the right.

About this time, Brigadier-General John Grubb Parke came up with the 3rd Brigade. Although uncoordinated, the two flanking movements emerged from the swamp at nearly the same time. Reno ordered his 21st Massachusetts Infantry, 51st New York Infantry, and 9th New Jersey Infantry to attack just as the 23rd Massachusetts Infantry appeared at the other end of the Confederate line. The defensive line began to crack, and Foster ordered his remaining forces to attack. Under assault from three sides, the Confederates broke and fled, abandoning their three guns.

With no landward defences and weak in field artillery, Colonel Shaw was forced to surrender his 1,400 infantry and the guns in the fort. Two regiments (2nd North Carolina Infantry and 46th Virginia Infantry) had been sent as reinforcements, but they arrived too late to take part in the battle and only served to join the surrender. The surrender of Roanoke Island included all the Confederate forts facing Croatan Sound.

Altogether, some 2,500 to 2,675 Confederates became prisoners of war. The Union forces lost 37 killed, 214 wounded, and 13 missing. The Confederates lost 23 killed, 58 wounded, and 62 men missing, in addition to their prisoners and 32 guns captured.

Immediately after the battle, the Union gunboats passed the silent Confederate forts into Albemarle Sound and acquired control of the inland sea of North Carolina. They then prepared to complete the occupation of the surrounding Confederate strong points. (CWSAC Major Battle Union Victory)

ORDER OF BATTLE: ROANOKE ISLAND, NC

Union Department of North Carolina: Brigadier-General Ambrose Everett Burnside
Coast Division (North Carolina): Brigadier-General Ambrose Everett Burnside
1st Brigade, Coast Division (North Carolina): Brigadier-General John Gray Foster
2nd Brigade, Coast Division (North Carolina): Brigadier-General Jesse Lee Reno
3rd Brigade, Coast Division (North Carolina): Brigadier-General John Grubb Parke
Coast Division Gunboats: Picket, Vidette, Hussar, Lancer, Ranger, Chasseur, Pioneer, Sentinel
North Atlantic Blockading Squadron: Flag Officer Louis Malesherbes Goldsborough USN

USS Philadelphia (Flagship), USS Southfield, USS Delaware, USS Stars and Stripes, USS Louisiana, USS Hetzel, USS Underwriter, USS Commodore Perry, USS Valley City, USS Commodore Barney, USS Hunchback, USS Morse, USS Whitehead, USS John L Lockwood, USS Henry Brinker, USS Isaac N Seymour, USS Ceres, USS General Putnam, USS Shawsheen, USS Granite

Confederate Department of North Carolina: Brigadier-General Richard Caswell Gatlin
District of Roanoke Island: Brigadier-General Henry Alexander Wise
Garrison Fort Huger: Colonel Henry Marchmore Shaw
Mosquito Fleet: Flag Officer William F Lynch CSN
CSS Sea-Bird (flagship), CSS Curlew, CSS Ellis, CSS Beaufort, CSS Raleigh, CSS Fanny, CSS Forrest, CSS Appomattox, CSS Black Warrior

North Carolina. After the victory at Roanoke Island, Union gunboats moved  up the Pasquotank River towards Elizabeth City.

Virginia. Skirmish at Linn Creek (Logan County).

Virginia. Skirmish at the mouth of the Blue Stone River (Mercer County), involving Confederate Lieutenant-Colonel William E Peters (45th Virginia Infantry).

Union Organisation

Commander in Chief: President Abraham Lincoln

Vice-President: Hannibal Hamlin

Secretary of War: Edwin McMasters Stanton

Secretary of the Navy: Gideon Welles

  • North Atlantic Blockading Squadron USN: Flag Officer Louis Malesherbes Goldsborough USN
  • South Atlantic Blockading Squadron USN: Flag Officer Samuel Francis Du Pont USN
  • West Gulf Blockading Squadron USN: Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut USN
  • East Gulf Blockading Squadron USN: Flag Officer William McKean USN
  • Pacific Squadron USN: Rear Admiral Charles H Bell USN
  • Western Gunboat Flotilla USN: Flag Officer Andrew Hull Foote USN
  • Potomac Flotilla USN: Lieutenant Robert Harris Wyman USN

General–in-Chief: George Brinton McClellan

  • Department of Florida: Lewis Golding Arnold
  • Department of Kansas: David Hunter
  • Department of Key West: John Milton Brannan awaited
  • Department of the Missouri: Henry Wager Halleck
    • District of Cairo: Ulysses Simpson Grant
    • District of St Louis: John McAllister Schofield
    • District of Central Missouri: John Pope
      • Army of Western Missouri: John Pope
    • District of North Missouri: John McAllister Schofield
    • District of Southeast Missouri: Ulysses Simpson Grant
    • District of Southwest Missouri: Samuel Ryan Curtis
      • Army of the Southwest: Samuel Ryan Curtis
  • Department of New England: Benjamin Franklin Butler
  • Department of New Mexico: Edward Richard Sprigg Canby
    • Southern District of New Mexico: Benjamin Stone Roberts
  • Department of New York: Edward Denison Morgan
  • Department of North Carolina: Ambrose Everett Burnside
  • Department of the Ohio: Don Carlos Buell
    • Army of the Ohio: Don Carlos Buell
  • Department of the Pacific: George Wright
    • District of the Humboldt: Francis James Lippitt
    • District of Oregon: Albemarle Cady
    • District of Southern California: James Henry Carleton
  • Department of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan
    • District of Harper’s Ferry and Cumberland: Frederick West Lander
    • Army of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan
  • Department of Texas: Vacant
  • Department of Virginia: John Ellis Wool
  • Department of Western Virginia: William Starke Rosecrans
    • District of the Kanawha: Jacob Dolson Cox
    • Cheat Mountain District: Robert Huston Milroy
    • Railroad District: Benjamin Franklin Kelley

Confederate Organisation

Commander in Chief: President Jefferson Finis Davis

Vice-President: Alexander Hamilton Stephens

Secretary of War: Judah Philip Benjamin

Secretary of the Navy: Stephen Russell Mallory

Military Adviser to the President: Vacant

  • Department No 1: Mansfield Lovell
  • Department of Alabama and West Florida: Braxton Bragg
    • Army of Pensacola: Samuel Jones
    • Army of Mobile: John Bordenave Villepigue
  • Department of Henrico: John Henry Winder
  • Department of the Indian Territory: Douglas Hancock Cooper
  • Department of Norfolk: Benjamin Huger
    • District of Albemarle: Henry Alexander Wise awaited
  • Department of North Carolina: Richard Caswell Gatlin
    • District of Cape Fear: Joseph Reid Anderson
    • District of Pamlico: Lawrence O’Bryan Branch
    • District of Roanoke Island: Henry Alexander Wise
  • Department of Northern Virginia: Joseph Eggleston Johnston
    • District of Aquia: Robert Augustus Toombs
    • Army of the Potomac: Joseph Eggleston Johnston
      • I Corps Potomac: James Longstreet
      • II Corps Potomac: Gustavus Woodson Smith
    • Valley District: Thomas Jonathan Jackson
      • Army of the Valley: Thomas Jonathan Jackson
    • Army of the Northwest: Edward Johnson temporary
  • Department of the Peninsula: John Bankhead Magruder
    • Army of the Peninsula: John Bankhead Magruder
  • Department of South Carolina, Georgia and East Florida: Robert Edward Lee
    •  District of Middle and East Florida: William Montgomery Gardner
    • District of Georgia: Alexander Robert Lawton
    • District of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley
      • 1st Sub-District of South Carolina: Arthur Middleton Manigault.
      • 2nd Sub-District of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley
      • 3rd Sub-District of South Carolina: Nathan George Evans
      • 4th Sub-District of South Carolina: John Clifford Pemberton
      • 5th Sub-District of South Carolina: Thomas Fenwick Drayton
  • Department of Southwestern Virginia: William Wing Loring
    • District of Lewisburg: Henry Heth
  • Department of Texas: Paul Octave Hébert
    • Western District of Texas: Henry Eustace McCullough
    • District of Galveston: Ebenezer B Nichols
    • District of Houston: John Creed Moore
    • Defences of Pass Cavallo: John W Glenn
  • Western Department: Albert Sidney Johnston
    • First Geographical Division: Leonidas Polk
    • Trans-Mississippi District: Earl Van Dorn
    • District of East Tennessee: George Bibb Crittenden
    • Army of Central Kentucky: William Joseph Hardee
    • Army of Eastern Kentucky: Humphrey Marshall
    • Army of the West: Benjamin McCulloch interim Earl Van Dorn awaited
  • District of Arizona: Henry Hopkins Sibley
    • Army of New Mexico: Henry Hopkins Sibley
  • Forces in Richmond: Charles Dimmock

Union Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

Major-General USA

George Brinton McClellan
John Charles Frémont
Henry Wager Halleck

Major-General USV

John Adams Dix
Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
Benjamin Franklin Butler
David Hunter
Edwin Denison Morgan

Brigadier-General USA

John Ellis Wool
William Selby Harney
Edwin Vose Sumner
Joseph King Fenno Mansfield
Irvin McDowell
Robert Anderson
William Starke Rosecrans
Philip St George Cooke

Brigadier-General USV

Samuel Peter Heintzelman
Erasmus Darwin Keyes
Andrew Porter
Fitz-John Porter
William Buel Franklin
William Tecumseh Sherman
Charles Pomeroy Stone
Don Carlos Buell
Thomas West Sherman
John Pope
George Archibald McCall
William Reading Montgomery
Philip Kearny
Joseph Hooker
John Wolcott Phelps
Ulysses Simpson Grant
Samuel Ryan Curtis
Charles Smith Hamilton
Darius Nash Couch
Rufus King
Jacob Dolson Cox
Stephen Augustus Hurlbut
Franz Sigel
Robert Cumming Schenck
Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss
Frederick West Lander
Benjamin Franklin Kelley
John Alexander McClernand
Alpheus Starkey Williams
Israel Bush Richardson
James Cooper
James Brewerton Ricketts
Orlando Bolivar Willcox
Michael Corcoran
George Henry Thomas
Ambrose Everett Burnside
Henry Hayes Lockwood
Louis Blenker
Henry Warner Slocum
James Samuel Wadsworth
John James Peck
Ormsby McKnight Mitchel
George Webb Morell
John Henry Martindale
Samuel Davis Sturgis
George Stoneman
Henry Washington Benham
William Farrar Smith
James William Denver
Egbert Ludovicus Vielé
James Shields
John Fulton Reynolds
William Farquhar Barry
John Joseph Abercrombie
John Sedgwick
Charles Ferguson Smith
Silas Casey
Lawrence Pike Graham
George Gordon Meade
Abram Duryée
Alexander McDowell McCook
Oliver Otis Howard
Eleazar Arthur Paine
Daniel Edgar Sickles
Charles Davis Jameson
Ebenezer Dumont
Robert Huston Milroy
Lewis Wallace
Willis Arnold Gorman
Daniel Butterfield
Horatio Gouverneur Wright
Edward Otho Cresap Ord
William Nelson
William Thomas Ward
John Gross Barnard
Innis Newton Palmer
Seth Williams
John Newton
Winfield Scott Hancock
Thomas Leonidas Crittenden
George Wright
Isaac Ingalls Stevens
Thomas Williams
George Sykes
William Henry French
William Thomas Harbaugh Brooks
John Milton Brannan
William Wallace Burns
John Porter Hatch
David Sloane Stanley
William Kerley Strong
Albin Francisco Schoepf
Lovell Harrison Rousseau
James Scott Negley
Thomas John Wood
Richard W Johnson
Adolph Wilhelm August Friedrich Von Steinwehr
Joseph Bennett Plummer
John Gray Foster
George Washington Cullum
Jeremiah Tilford Boyle
Christopher Columbus Augur
Schuyler Hamilton
Jesse Lee Reno
George Washington Morgan
Julius Stahel
John McAllister Schofield
Thomas Jefferson McKean
John Grubb Parke
Zealous Bates Tower
Jefferson Columbus Davis
James Henry Lane
John McAuley Palmer
William High Keim
James Abram Garfield
Lewis Golding Arnold
Frederick Steele
William Scott Ketchum
Abner Doubleday
John Wynn Davidson
Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana
David Bell Birney
Thomas Francis Meagher
Henry Morris Naglee

Brigadier-General USA (Staff)

Montgomery Cunningham Meigs (Quartermaster-General)
Henry Knox Craig
Lorenzo Thomas (Adjutant-General)
James Wolfe Ripley (Ordnance)

Confederate Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

General ACSA

Samuel Cooper
Albert Sidney Johnston
Robert Edward Lee
Joseph Eggleston Johnston
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard

Major-General PACS

Leonidas Polk
Braxton Bragg
Earl Van Dorn
Gustavus Woodson Smith
Theophilus Hunter Holmes
William Joseph Hardee
Benjamin Huger
James Longstreet
John Bankhead Magruder
Mansfield Lovell
Thomas Jonathan Jackson
Edmund Kirby Smith
George Bibb Crittenden
John Clifford Pemberton
Richard Stoddert Ewell

Brigadier-General PACS

Alexander Robert Lawton
Benjamin McCulloch
William Wing Loring
Charles Clark
John Buchanan Floyd
Henry Alexander Wise
David Rumph Jones
Henry Hopkins Sibley
John Henry Winder
Richard Caswell Gatlin
Daniel Smith Donelson
Samuel Read Anderson
Benjamin Franklin Cheatham
Daniel Harvey Hill
Jones Mitchell Withers
Richard Heron Anderson
Robert Augustus Toombs
Samuel Jones
Arnold Elzey
William Henry Chase Whiting
Jubal Anderson Early
Isaac Ridgway Trimble
Daniel Ruggles
Roswell Sabine Ripley
Albert Pike
Paul Octave Hébert
Joseph Reid Anderson
Simon Bolivar Buckner
Leroy Pope Walker
Albert Gallatin Blanchard
Gabriel James Rains
James Ewell Brown Stuart
Lafayette McLaws
Thomas Fenwick Drayton
Thomas Carmichael Hindman
Adley Hogan Gladden
John Porter McCown
Lloyd Tilghman
Nathan George Evans
Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox
Robert Emmett Rodes
Richard Taylor
Louis Trezevant Wigfall
James Heyward Trapier
Samuel Gibbs French
William Henry Carroll
Hugh Weedon Mercer
Humphrey Marshall
John Cabell Breckinridge
Richard Griffith
Alexander Peter Stewart
William Montgomery Gardner
Richard Brooke Garnett
William Mahone
Lawrence O’Bryan Branch
Edward Johnson
Maxcy Gregg
Raleigh Edward Colston
Henry Heth
Johnson Kelly Duncan
Sterling Alexander Martin Wood
John George Walker
John King Jackson
George Edward Pickett
James McQueen McIntosh
Bushrod Rust Johnson
Joseph Brevard Kershaw
Daniel Marsh Frost

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