Report of Acting Master Woodward

        U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Shawsheen.

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Off Elizabeth City,

Tuesday, February 11, 1862.


SIR: In obedience to your order I have the honor to submit to you the following report of the part taken by this steamer, under my command, at the attack on Cobb's Point battery, also a fleet of rebel gunboats and one armed schooner stationed near by to support said battery:

On the morning of the 10th instant thirteen of our gunboats were at anchor at the mouth of the Pasquotank River, having anchored there the preceding night. At 6:30 a.m. a sail was discovered crossing the mouth of the river outside of the fleet, when some of the gunboats gave chase. I also got underway and stood out in pursuit and, seeing her running for the land, I fired a shot across her bow, which brought her to, when the Seymour, being in advance of the other boats, took her in tow. She proved to be a schooner loaded with wood. I immediately stood up the river after the fleet, which had got underway and was proceeding slowly up the river toward Elizabeth City. I soon overtook them. At 7:30 a.m. some rebel steamers were discovered ahead, apparently on the retreat. At 8 a.m. came in sight of the battery and saw the steamers form in order across the river opposite. Our steamers advanced at a medium rate, when, being within about 2 miles of the battery, the steamers and armed schooner opened fire upon our fleet. At 8:30 a.m. the battery commenced firing, their shot reaching our steamers, but doing no injury. When our fleet was up within good range, signals were made by Commander Rowan on his flagship, the Delaware, to make a dash at the enemy and fire at their own discretion, when all the steamers went ahead at full speed and opened on the enemy a well-directed fire, which fire was repeated in quick succession as we advanced. Their shot and shell fell rapidly among us, some of which took effect, but still we advanced on the enemy, which, with our fire, threw them into confusion, although they endeavored to make an able resistance; but when they discovered our intention to board, their men left their guns; their steamers were headed toward the shore, some of them set on fire. The flag on the fort, or battery, was hauled down and it deserted, when our leading steamers made a most gallant maneuver and ran them aboard, sinking two, capturing one, and the schooner was set on fire and deserted. I was running for the steamer Fanny, and being so near that all hands were ready to board and were using muskets and small arms at the retreating rebels, who waved a flag in defiance at us. As we were about to board her I discovered her to be on fire, and was ordered to back off from her by Commander Rowan, which I did, and followed other steamers in pursuit of one of the rebel steamers, which was making her escape by way of the canal. After chasing her some way up the canal, the chase was given up. Some of our steamers went up to the wharf, including the flagship Delaware. One new gunboat, building, and one old gunboat, repairing, were set on fire by the retreating enemy, and the city fired in several places. After remaining a short time up at the city, I was ordered to anchor down near the battery on Cobb's Point, which I did, as did all the fleet soon afterwards, having expended 10 rounds ammunition for forward rifled gun, and 50 charges small-arm ammunition, and receiving no injury throughout the engagement. Permit me to add that an under my command- both officers and me worked with a determined will, worthy of themselves and the noble cause in which they are engaged.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,



Acting Master,

Commanding U. S. S. Shawsheen.



Commanding Albemarle Flotilla


Navy Official Records

Series I, Volume 6

Atlantic Blockading Squadron

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

pp. 618-619