Lynch’s Expedition to Hatteras – October 13-15, 1861

Following the capture of the Fanny on the 1st of October and the Chicamacomico Races on the 4th, Lynch left Roanoke Island on Sunday, 13 October 1861 enroute to Hatteras Inlet. Firing from the direction of Hatteras was heard at daybreak Monday at Roanoke Island, lasting until around 8 a.m. . The commander of the USS Stars and Stripes reported firing at the “Coffee” (NCS Winslow) in the sound on October 15th while the Stars and Stripes was in the ocean off Cape Hatteras. The Winslow, accompanied by four other steamers, headed toward Hatteras Inlet. They remained there for some time before steaming out of sight across the sound. I have found no report mentioning who had been firing during the morning of the 14th.

The Confederate reports state that the fleet went down and laid off in the sound for two days but could not entice the Union gunboats to come out from the protection of the batteries at Hatteras Inlet. That would place them at Hatteras on the 14th and 15th, agreeing with Werden’s report from the Stars and Stripes. Lynch’s force included the Curlew, Fanny, Raleigh, Winslow, and Edwards.

The second piece of news was that a Union expedition left Hatteras on 3 October 1861 enroute to Chicamacomico. Lieutenant Bankhead of the Susquehanna commanded the expeditionary force, consisting of the USS Ceres, USS Putnam, and a launch from the Susquehanna carrying 25 of her sailors. The commanders of the two tugs had been replaced by officers of the Susquehanna because Lt.Werden, the ranking commander at Hatteras, didn’t have confidence in their abilities. The Putnam had left her station covering the 20th Indiana’s troops at Chicamacomico without permission shortly after the arrival of the Fanny on October 1st.. Three Confederate ships from Roanoke Island – the Raleigh, Curlew, and Junaluska – captured the Fanny that same day.

I have not seen any mention of the Union expedition in any of the Confederate reports covering the events of the 4th – the Chicamacomico Races. They may have already returned to Hatteras by that time. They had not returned by 5 p.m. on the 3rd when the Pawnee sailed.


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