Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Great Burnside Expedition

(From the Newbern Progress of Tuesday.)

Nothing would afford us more pleasure at this particular time than to be able to give a strictly correct account of the strength and condition of the Burnside Expedition.  We doubted some days ago whether there really had ever been such a thing in existence, and began to think it all a Yankee lie, but more recently we have become convinced that there is such a thing, and that what is left of it is actually at Hatteras.

The Country is so situated about Hatteras that it is difficult to get close to the enemy to take satisfactory observations without being observed.  We saw, however, and conversed with a gentleman direct from Portsmouth having left that place Saturday and arrived here Sunday night, who went to Ocracoke before leaving, took a horse and rode down the bank as near to the enemy as was safe, within 10 or 11 miles, and took as good an observation has he could with a glass.  He says he counted 93 vessels, about two thirds of which were steamers, all inside the bar and about 20 inside the Sound, and puts down the number at least 100.

(From The Newbern Progress of Monday.)


The Albemarle arrived on Saturday between 3 and 4 o’clock, having left Portsmouth early Saturday morning, and we have learned from Col. Singletary, who was in command of the expedition, that he arrived at Portsmouth Wednesday evening after the storm had set in, so that it was impossible for him to make any observations himself, but he saw a Mr. Samuel Tolson, a Mr. Williams, and others, who had been applied to by the directors of the fleet to act as pilots, and those gentlemen assured him fleet was at Hatteras, numbering about 175 vessels, and represent that their force is 30,000 strong.

About one third of the fleet was in the Sound on Tuesday, on third in the Roads, and one third outside.  They were busy lightening vessels over the Swash, and as they would clear the roads by entering the Sound, others would come in from outside.  They said that the Yankees were very anxious to get pilots for the Croatan Sound and the rivers, which makes it seem that Roanoke, Edenton, Washington, and perhaps other places east of us are to be attacked and it is rendered certain that we are to be visited from the fact that the vessels they were lightening over could not attack any place but this.  These gentlemen also learned from them that they had lost three vessels and three men since they had come to Hatteras.  Also that New Orleans is to be attacked simultaneously with the attack here.

It is impossible to tell what effect the storm of Thursday and Friday had upon them but it must have been severe.  The Colonel says that Portsmouth was completely covered with water.  He thinks they must have suffered severely, for the gale was terrific, but it was impossible for him to learn anything of their condition later than Tuesday.

He reports the people of Portsmouth under arms and determined to defend themselves as best they can.  The women are apparently much alarmed.

Capt. Crosson went down the river yesterday on the Albemarle, and will probably return to-day, if so, we shall be able to give something further in relation to the movements of the fleet in our next.


GOLDSBORO’, Jan 28. – The Tribune of to-day saw a man who left Portsmouth on Saturday. – He said seventy five vessels could be seen from Portsmouth on Saturday.  The storm on Thursday and Friday was very severe.  Portsmouth was wholly submerged.  Several vessels were reported as stranded and there were some on Chickamacomico beach.  The Tribune says the fleet is certainly at Hatteras, and the attack is expected at Newbern and Roanoke perhaps Edenton, Elizabeth City and at other places.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, February 8, 1862, p. 2

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