April 22nd 1864 (cont’d)
Mr Edmondston has just come in & brought us news of a gallant & glorious success of our arms here in our own borders. On Sat our Gunboat the Albemarle under command of Capt Cooke steamed down the River to Plymouth whilst Hoke’s & Ransoms brigades under command of Hoke advanced by land. The boat passed one Battery in the night & attacked the other altho four Gunboats lay there. Running her sharp prow into one she became entangled. When the Yankee Commodore Flusser called to him to surrender he refused, and drawing his pistol responded to a shot! Dividing his men into two squads, one to load the other to fire, he assembled them on the upper deck & kept up so steady & raking a fire that the Yankees could not board her until the action of the Engine & the current freed his vessel. His opponent sunk instantly, when Flusser steamed up, cut his hauser, & retreated followed by a parting shot from Capt Cooke. He sunk another boat & the fourth followed in Flusser’s wake. On shore Hoke was not idle. He stormed the battery after having refused the terms proposed by Weitzel who was in command in response to his demand for a surrender & took the whole of the force, 2500 men prisoners, officers & men. We lost from 2 to 500 killed & wounded. The enemy’s loss was smaller, being protected by their fort. Amongs the killed & prisoners were numbers of negroes who had run off from their masters living here in this community. Some of the young men which brother lost last winter were among the number. Many of Mr. Ed Hill’s were killed. The steamer with our dead and wounded passed here on Tuesday. Little did I know when I heard her laboured puff of what her freight was composed! We captured one million lbs of Bacon, large quantities of Beef & of Beef Cattle, ten Batteries, sunk two boats, which can be raised & made available, it is thought, 2500 prisoners many of them officers, quantities of dry goods & groceries, amunition, small arms, & all the et ceteras of a garrison, & what is better, with the aid of the Gunboat we can hold the post. This is supposed to be the cause of the sudden abandonment of Suffolk, as it gives the ability to flank any force there or in the N E counties. The prisoners are en route to Richmond, negroes & all. How thankful we should be to God for this signal triumph! Plymouth has been a thorn in our side & the garrison there a perpetual uneasiness to us. Its loss may compel a change in Grant’s programme, especialy if the Gunboats in the Neuse succeed in joining the Albemarle, as we may then attack Hatteras & flank Norfolk & open the most magnificent trade in Blockade Running yet seen.
Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979).http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html