DECEMBER 7-27, 1864.--Expedition to and operations against Fort Fisher, N.C.
Report of Lieut. Col. Clark E. Royce, Sixth U.S. Colored Troops, Second Brigade, First Division.
HEADQUARTERS SIXTH U.S. COLORED TROOPS,
Near Chaffin's Farm, Va., January 1, 1865.
SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by the Sixth U.S. Colored Troops in the late naval expedition:Having embarked the regiment at Bermuda Hundred on the evening of the 8th ultimo, with five days' rations and forage, on the steam propeller New Jersey, I received orders to proceed to Hampton Roads and transfer my command to the steamer Admiral Du Pont. On the afternoon of the 9th ultimo, arriving in Hampton Roads, the men and rations were transferred to the Admiral Du Pont. There being no accommodations for horses on that steamer, the horses of the regiment, six in number, were put aboard the steamer Salvor, and all shot and thrown overboard during the storm of the 21st ultimo, off Beaufort, N. C. At midnight of the 9th ultimo took on board twenty days' additional rations; lay at anchor with the rest of the fleet until the morning of the 12th ultimo, Monday, when a brig, dragging her anchor in the storm, ran into the Admiral Du Pont, and stove a hole in her port quarter; were ordered to Norfolk for repairs. On the morning of the 12th I received written orders from Brigadier-General Paine, commanding division, "to sail to-morrow morning at 3 o'clock up the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River to Mathias Point, at eight knots per hour, but keeping close up with the rest of the transport fleet." A sealed dispatch was inclosed to be opened at Mathias Point. The repairs on the Admiral Du Pont were not finished until morning, so that I did not arrive at Fortress Monroe until 7.30 in the morning of the 13th ultimo. Finding the fleet of transports gone, I followed in the course directed at the rate of eleven knots per hour until I met the fleet a few miles below Mathias Point at dusk of the same day. Thenceforward I followed the written instructions and kept close up [with] the rest of the transport fleet, without any occurrence of note until ordered into Beaufort for coal on the evening of the 20th ultimo. On the morning of the 21st ultimo, arrived off Beaufort Harbor and were prevented from entering by a severe gale until noon of the 22d ultimo. Saturday, the 24th ultimo, Col. J. W. Ames, commanding the Second Brigade, transferred his headquarters on board the Admiral Du Pont and took command. On the morning of the 25th ultimo I received orders off HalfMoon Battery, to hold my command in readiness to disembark. No man, however, left the ship. On the 29th ultimo, arrived off Fort Monroe. The ship was ordered to Norfolk for a pilot, where it was obliged to stay over night. Two men escaped from the vessel during the night and were left at Norfolk. At 8 in the evening of the 30th ultimo the regiment arrived at its old camp.
The following is the number of officers and men of the regiment who were with the expedition: Officers, 16; enlisted men, 329.
The number of enlisted men disabled by sickness, 5; by frost bite, 3; by sprain, 1; total 9. Enlisted men lost by desertion, 2.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CLARK E. ROYCE,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.
Capt. S. A. CARTER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, First Division, 25th Army Corps.
Researched and Compiled