Report of Lieutenant Chaplin

        U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Valley City

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Off Elizabeth City, NC,

February 10, 1862.


SIR: I respectfully beg to submit the following report of the proceedings of this vessel in the action off this city on this day:

After steaming up the river until 8 o'clock yesterday evening, I came to anchor with the other vessels of the flotilla about 17 miles below Elizabeth City.

February 10, at 6:30 a.m., got underway in obedience to signal and stood up the river, in company with the rest of the flotilla. When nearing the approaches of the city received the fire of a rebel battery on shore. I immediately manned my port battery and kept up a brisk return of the fire. A steamer and schooner bearing the rebel flag opened fire on us on our starboard bow; returned their fire with my starboard battery; a shell from the enemy passing through both of my boats, rendered them entirely unfit for service.

Upon signal, "Make a dash at the enemy," increased the speed and fired several brisk broadsides at the enemy's battery. A shell from shore penetrated the side and passed through the magazine, exploding outside the screen on the berth deck. Several of the powder division were severely scorched; the protecting bulkheads of the magazine were tom to pieces and the forward part of the berth deck set on fire by the explosion. Ordered the pumps to be manned and speedily got the fire subdued. In forty minutes from the commencement of the action came to anchor within the precincts of Elizabeth City.

I take pleasure in again bearing testimony to the gallant conduct of the officers and crew of this vessel; and particularly I desire to bring under your notice the cool intrepidity and thorough practical seamanship displayed by Master's Mate J. A. J. Brooks in maneuvering this vessel while under the hottest of the enemy's fire. Also to the undaunted presence of mind of the gunner's mate, John Davis, who, while at his station in the magazine, when the shell penetrated the side and ignited the berth deck, as above reported, did cover a barrel of powder with his own person, thereby preventing an explosion, while at the same time passing powder, providing for the gun divisions on the upper deck.

I beg to enclose herewith the surgeon's report of the casualties during the day.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



Lieutenant, Commanding.


Commander S. C. ROWAN,

Commanding U. S. Flotilla, off Elizabeth City


[Enclosure. ]



Pasquotank River,

Elizabeth City, N. C.,

February 10, 1862.


The following is a list of casualties that took place on board this vessel during the action of today:

Thomas T. Daniel, pilot; age 45 years; born on Roanoke Island; resides at Cape Hatteras; wounded by a fragment of shell; fracture of the ankle; not dangerous.

James A. Young, officers' cook (colored); age 42 years; born in Maryland; resides in Baltimore; contusion of leg by splinter, and  in face and neck; not dangerous.

John Lahey, nurse; age 23 years; born and resides in New York; burned about face and head.

Thomas Doyle, ordinary seaman; age 24 years; born and resides in New Hampshire; burned about face, head, and neck severely.

Very respectfully,



Acting Assistant Surgeon.


            Lieutenant Commanding J.G. Chaplin


Navy Official Records

Series I, Volume 6

Atlantic Blockading Squadron

From October 29, 1861, to March 8, 1862.

pp. 614-615