Blockade of the North Carolina Coast.;
A BOLD EXPLOIT INTERESTING REPORT FROM LIEUT. CUSHING.Published:
September 6, 1863
transmits to the Navy Department the following interesting report of
the destruction of the blockade runner Alexander Cooper, which was
accomplished in New-Topsail Inlet, North Carolina, on the 22d ult.:
STEAMER SHOCKOKON, OFF WILMINGTON, N. C, Aug.
SIR: I have the
honor to report that we have destroyed the blockade-running schooner
Alexander Cooper, under the following circumstances: On the 12th I made
a reconnaissance with boats in New-Topsail Inlet, and was driven out by
four pieces of artillery stationed opposite the mouth, but not before I
had discovered a schooner at a wharf some six miles up the sound, This
schooner I determined to destroy, and as it was so well guarded I
concluded to use strategy.
On the evening of
the 22d the Shockokon anchored close into the sea beach, about five
miles from the inlet, and I sent ashore two boats' crews, who
shouldered the dingui, and carried it across the neck of land that
divides the sea from the sound. This was about half a mile in width,
and covered with a dense thicket. The crossing placed my men some miles
in rear of the artillery force guarding the entrance.
The dingui being
launched on the inside waters, six men under my Executive Officer,
Acting Ensign Jos. S. CONY, started with orders to destroy or capture
anything that could be of use to the enemy.
Now, it seems
that a 12-pounder howitzer was stationed at the point for which we were
aiming, and the smoke-stack of my steamer having been seen over the
trees, the commandant of the post, Capt. ADAMS, had come down from the
main camp to insure a bright lookout.
While the rebels
at the schooner's mast-heads were straining their eyes in looking to
the south, my boat was approaching in the other direction, and the men
succeeded in landing about sixty yards from the wharf without being
discovered. The Master-at-Arms, ROBERT CLIFFORD, crept into the rebel
camp and counted the men, and having returned to his ship-mates, a
charge was ordered, and our seven men bore down on them with a shout.
In a moment the
enemy (who outnumbered us 3 to 1) were routed, leaving in Mr. CONY'S
possession ten prisoners, including Capt. ADAMS and Lieut. LEATHAM, one
12-pound army howitzer, eighteen horses, one schooner, and some
extensive salt works.
Mr. CONY then
threw out two pickets, detached two men to guard the prisoners, and
with the remaining two fired the vessel and salt works. These were
The object of the
expedition being accomplished, my men returned to the vessel without
loss, bringing with them three of the prisoners -- all that the boat
would contain. The rebel officers and privates dress alike, and Mr.
CONY was at a loss to know what three to retain. He settled the matter,
however, by picking out the three best looking ones, who all turned out
to be privates. So the officers owed their safety to their lack of
physique -- a new feature in military strategy.
While this was
going on at the main-land, my pickets on the beach tide, under Acting
Master's-Mate PROUDFIT, engaged and repulsed the rebel picket force In
that quarter, without loss on our side. * * * * * *
cleared from New-York for Port Royal, S. C, with an assorted cargo, and
was towed once outside the line of the blockade by a gunboat.
I shall try to
learn the names of the patriotic citizens of my State who entered into
this little speculation.
Rear-Admiral S.P. LEE, Commanding N.A.B. Squadron.