16 January 1862: “All is quiet.—We feel anxious about Roanoke Island.”

Item Description: editorial from The Daily Journal (Wilmington, N. C.), 16 January 1862, page 2 column 1.  “The ships that left Norfolk” are those of the Burnside Expedition.



If the ships that left Norfolk on Sunday evening did not put back, they are now going on their fourth day out, having been three days and a half out this morning—or three days out last evening.  As yet we have heard nothing of their whereabouts.  If they were out in the blow of Monday night they must have got pretty well scattered and been forced to make an offing[.]  If near enough our coast to be seen at all, they would most probably be first discovered by the sentinel at Cape Lookout Light-house, but we have not heard that any have been so seen.
If they have put in to Hatteras, which they may have done, we might not hear of it fr some days, as indeed we did not when Hatteras was taken, although we knew the fleet was there, from the fact of the Gordon, which had to leave there to keep out of their way, having put in to this harbor.
We will most probably hear something to-day from the coast, either that they have been seen, or that the have not.  So far nothing has been heard of them.
P. S.—We have heard from the Forts as late as this morning.  Nothing in the way of an “expedition” was then in sight, nor had anything been seen of it.  In fact even the usual blockaders had been forced to haul off owing to the state of the weather.  All is quiet.—We feel anxious about Roanoke Island.

Additional information: At this point in the Burnside Expedition, ships had been arriving at Hatteras Island since 12 January, confronting an exceptional strong northeaster (“the blow of Monday night”) and treacherous seas for several days.  By 16 January the storm had passed, but several challenges faced the somewhat battered fleet. The anchorage area was overcrowded and ships were breaking loose and ramming into other ships, causing damage. Burnside was trying to get his fleet though the “swash” (a narrow channel of water lying within a sandbank or between a sandbank and a coast) at Hatteras and into Pamlico Sound with the assistance of tugs, which had been delayed by the storm.  Cape Look-out is southwest of Hatteras and north east of Wilmington and Cape Fear.

Citation: The Daily Journal (Wilmington, N. C.), 16 January 1862, page 2 column 1.  North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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