Battle of Roanoke Island Commenced in 1862

Battle of Roanoke Island

The Burnside Expedition landing at Roanoke Island.
Image from the Library of Congress

On February 7, 1862, Federal ships bombarded Fort Bartow, part of the Confederate defenses on Roanoke Island. One of three Confederate earthen forts on the west side of the island, Fort Bartow mounted nine guns. The other two garrisons were Fort Huger and Fort Blanchard,

The three forts were designed to protect the mainland from Federal invasion and to complement obstructions placed in the channel. Of the three forts, Bartow was the only one actively engaged in what would become known as the Battle of Roanoke Island.

The first shot of the battle was fired from Bartow’s guns, and the fort was subsequently bombarded by the Federal fleet for seven hours. The Confederate fleet, under Captain W. F. Lynch, waited to engage the Federals behind a line of obstructions placed in the Croatan Sound to delay the Federal advance. However, the Confederates, after a sharp engagement ended only by darkness, were forced to retire due to a lack of ammunition.

The next day, the Union army was victorious in the Battle of Roanoke Island, which gave the Federals control of the North Carolina Sound region.

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