Overview Hamilton Raid 10/31/1862
- The report of Acting Rear Admiral S. P. Lee on the raid from Plymouth to
Hamilton. This will be the only one of the series I will transcribe as I just
discovered, after having something niggling my memory, that the U. S. & C. S.
Navy's Official Records have already been transcribed and placed on the web! And
as a firm believer in not reinventing the wheel I will concentrate on the
pre-war and post-war periods. The Official Records are at Cornell University's
Making of America site (the URL is within brackets below):
[http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/moa/moa_browse.html%5d The Official
Records for the U. S. & C. S. Armies & Navies will be listed about half way down the
Now to do some serious research on Gov. Stanley, military governor of NC, who
was the basis for my question regarding historians. Let me look over the
papers in the Official records and see if my thesis will hold water, then I will
run some ideas past all who answered.
Report on Hamilton, NC Raid 11/14/1862
Letters to the Secretary of Navy from
M80 roll 160 fr. 121
National Archives & Records Administration
U. S. Flagsteamer "Miami"
Washington, N. C. Nov. 14th, 1862
I transmit enclosed Commander Davenport's report of the naval cooperation
with the late Army expedition from Newberne [sic] to Hamilton and that vicinity;
also some interesting and instructive original papers captured at Hamilton.
On the 31st of October Commander Davenport, with the "Valley City",
"Humpback", "Perry", "Hetzel" and the "Vidette" (an Army gunboat), threw shot and shell
for half an hour into the woods two miles back of Plymouth, where 3,000
rebels were posted, killing two of them.
On the 2nd inst., at 7 P. M., Com. Davenport, with the "Valley City" leading,
and the "Perry", "Hetzel" and "Humpback" following, left Plymouth, and at 6
A. M. on the 3rd anchored off Williamston on the Roanoke, where he soon had an
interview with Gen'l Foster and arranged for an advance on Hamilton; and at 1
P. M. on the 4th; the "Valley City" having led, followed by the "Perry",
"Hetzel", "Humpback" and "Seymour", arrived at Rainbow Bluff batteries, which were
found in possession of our troops, who had advanced without making the
preconcerted signal to the gunboats. The enemy had previously left these batteries
and taken off the guns. His gunboats then went to Hamilton, where they found
no rebel gunboats in process of construction. That evening the army,
accompanied by four pieces of naval artillery with their crews, left for Tarboro, and
the "Valley City" and "Perry" were sent up the river a few miles - as far as
they could go - to divert the attention of the enemy.
On the 5th the "Seymour" destroyed, as far as possible the earthworks at
Rainbow Bluffs, in doing which Acting Masters Mate Whall was accidentally killed.
At 2 A. M. on the 6th, the army returned to Hamilton, having failed to reach
Tarboro (owing, it is said, to the enemy having been reinforced from
Richmond), and on the 9th inst. the joint expedition left Hamilton for Plymouth - the
troops returning thence to Newberne, also Com. Davenport, with the "Hetzel",
the "Humpback" (in want of repairs) and the "Seymour" (carrying troops).
Com. Davenport is satisfied that the rebels have no iron-clads on the
Roanoke, and that they cannot build on that river above Williamston, owing to low
water, steep banks and the want of necessary facilities. Lt. Com. Flusser
however believes that they are building at or about Halifax.
Com. Davenport is strongly opposed to engaging the gunboats on such
expeditions, on account of their unfitness for service on these narrow and crooked
rivers, from whose high banks sharpshooters, protected in rifle pits, can control
and sweep our open decks. It is obvious that, where the situation does not
allow the gunboats to take care of themselves, they cannot assist the army,
whilst they are themselves exposed to the worst consequences.
The Department will see, from the enclosed papers of Lt. Bender, secured at
Hamilton by A. A. Paymaster Cushing, that the rebels are certainly building
gunboats on this river, and one or more at Tarboro. It may be safely assumed,
and it is reported here that these are iron-clads. It is the policy of the
enemy to build more effective vessels than they have to encounter.
I have the honor to be,
Very respectfully yours,
S. P. Lee
A. R. Admiral, N. A. B.
Hon. Gideon Welles
Secretary of the Navy
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