Battle of Elizabeth City

Battle of Elizabeth City (HM12HJ)

Location: Elizabeth City, NC 27909 Pasquotank County
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Country: United States of America
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N 36° 17.831', W 76° 13.074'

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"Dash at the Enemy"

— Burnside Expedition —

After Union Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside captured Roanoke Island on February 8, 1862, he dispatched Commander Stephen C. Rowan to destroy the Mosquito Fleet, which had been annoying U.S. naval vessels. Confederate Commodore William F. Lynch's fleet consisted of small, shallow-draft tugs and intracoastal trading steamers converted to gunboats: Appomattox, Beaufort, Black Warrior, Ellis, Fanny, and Seabird. Lynch positioned his vessels a mile east of here, with Black Warrior in Chantilly Bay off the north bank of the Pasquotank River and the other boats lined up across the river to Cobb's Point, site of a four-gun artillery emplacement.

On February 10, Rowan steamed upriver with a fleet that included USS Ceres and Commodore Perry. Lynch discovered that the Cobb's Point artilleryists had fled and asked Capt. William H. Parker of CSS Beaufort to man the guns. After firing a volley, Parker discovered to his dismay that cannons had been placed so they could not swivel upstream; after the Federal ships passed by, the guns were useless. He spiked them and withdrew.

Rowan ordered his vessels to "Dash at the enemy." They shelled Cobb's Point, then soon sank or disabled the Mosquito Fleet. Commodore Perry rammed and sank Seabird. Ceres captured Ellis. Appomattox, Black Warrior, and Fanny were battered and scuttled or abandoned. Beaufort alone escaped to Norfolk. Having disposed of the Mosquito Fleet, Rowan occupied Elizabeth City, and for the remainder of the war, North Carolina's coastal rivers remained in Union hands, with the notable exception of the Cape Fear River.

"The Burnside expedition, it did not end in smoke. It captured Elizabeth City, and the isle of Roanoke." - Unidentified U.S. soldier

"It was one of the best conceived and best executed battles of the war?.It was just such a scene as naval officers delight in." - U.S. Adm. David D. Porter
HM NumberHM12HJ
Placed ByNorth Carolina Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 at 11:44pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 390644 N 4017599
Decimal Degrees36.29718333, -76.21790000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 17.831', W 76° 13.074'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 17' 49.86" N, 76° 13' 4.44" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)252, 919
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 508 S Water St, Elizabeth City NC 27909, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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