The battle at Hatteras Inlet was fought on August 28th and 29th, 1861. The battle was primarily a naval one from the Federal side and a military one from the Confederate side. The superior range and weight of the Union guns made the fight no contest. The old seacoast 32-pounders mounted at Forts Hatteras and Clark were no match for the more modern eight inch and nine inch guns of the Union flotilla; they were outranged by over 1000 yards. The Federals could take up position out of the Confederate range and fire explosive shells at the forts with impunity.
Admiral Silas Stringham commanded the Federal expedition to Hatteras. His forces included the USS Minnesota (Capt. Gershom J. Van Brunt, commanding), USS Wabash (Capt. Samuel Mercer), USS Cumberland (Capt. John Marston), USS Susquehanna (Capt. James L. Lardner), USS Pawnee (Comm. Stephen C. Rowan), USS Monticello (Comm. John P. Gillis), USRC Harriet Lane (Capt. John Faunce), the tug Fanny (Lt. Pierce Crosby), and troop transports George Peabody (Lt. R. B. Lowry) and Adelaide (Comm. Henry S. Stellwagon). Around 800 troops accompanied the expedition under the command of Brigadier General Benjamin Butler.