Report of Acting Master French

        U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Whitehead.

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Off Elizabeth City, N c.,

February 10,1862.


SIR: I engaged the enemy this morning at 8:20; discovered a rebel schooner abandoned and fired, mounting two 32s. Not being able to extinguish the fire, I scuttled her.

I took from her 6 muskets, 12 boarding pikes, books and papers of the rebel paymaster.

I expended during the action 6 shell. My officers and men behaved nobly during the fight. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



Acting Master,

Commanding Steamer Whitehead.


Commander S. C. ROWAN,

Commanding Naval Flotilla, Pamlico and Albemarle Sound





Off Elizabeth City,

Pasquotank River,

February 10, 1862.

SIR: Receiving orders from the flagship Delaware to get underway, I accordingly weighed anchor Sunday, February 9, at 3 p.m., and stood into Albemarle Sound. Made the light-house at the mouth of Pas quo tank River at 6 p.m., and continued up the river a few miles and came to anchor at 7:20 p.m.

Monday, February 10, at 6:45 a.m., I got underway and continued up the river. Had not proceeded many miles before I could see the smoke issuing from the smokestack of several rebel gunboats, evidently expecting our approach, and drawn up in the most commanding position, no doubt expecting to debar our farther progress. When within shooting distance I opened fire upon the nearest steamer. The enemy replied from a schooner mounting two guns on one side of the river and a battery on the opposite side. I then changed the direction of my fire from the steamers to the schooner. After firing a few shell I closed in upon the schooner. The enemy then fired her, and escaped to the shore in their boats. I boarded her and attempted to extinguish the fire, being very anxious to save her, as she had a valuable cargo of naval stores, being evidently the store ship for the rebel fleet. Her name, as painted on the stern, was M C. Etheridge, of Plymouth, N. C.

I found the fire had been set in several places, and it made such rapid progress that I was unable to save anything of any value. I scuttled her and then anchored in the middle of the river.

I expended during the action 6 shell.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



Acting Master,

Commanding Steamer Whitehead.


            Lieutenant Commanding ALEXR. MURRAY

            Commanding Division, U. S. S. Louisiana


Navy Official Records

Series I, Volume 6

Atlantic Blockading Squadron

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

            pp. 616-617