Thursday, May 01, 2014


I recently discovered a colorful chapter entitled "Hatteras" in an 1895 document...The 48th in the War, Being a Narrative of the Campaigns of the 48th Regiment, Infantry, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, During the War of the Rebellion

The author, Oliver Christian Bosbyshell, Late Major, was with Union troops when they attacked Fort Hatteras and Fort Clarke on Hatteras Island in 1861. The following excerpt in which Bosbyshell describes the windy conditions on Hatteras will be familiar to any resident or visitor to the Outer Banks, especially campers.

Flags of the 48th Reg.
"Generally it was not a difficult matter for a soldier to pitch a tent. It would not have been difficult at Hatteras if the wind could have been subdued. Wind! Speaking of wind, do you remember how the wind blew at Hatteras? What a dreadful draft it was! Hark! its [sic] snapping the tent-fly now. It is a mighty, rushing torrent of air, sweeping continuously in furious blasts, with irresistible force—keen, sharp, penetrating, unrelenting in its terrific power, unabating in its fury—driving the sand into mouth, nose, eyes, ears and hair. ’Twas such a wind greeted the pitching of the tents around Fort Clarke. The more the boys tugged and pulled to keep the tents upright, the more the wind seemed to howl, 'You can’t! you shan’t!' then it would come along with such a whack that every muscle had to be strained to keep the tent in place. Under these circumstances the ordinary Yankee got his blood up, and wind or no wind the tents had to go up, and at last, at last, they were secured. It was night, however, and an early retirement after the day’s hard labor was deemed advisable. To the sound of the flip, flap, flopping of the tent-flys, and ever roaring of the breakers, forgetfulness crept over the 29 camp as each tent lodger snoozed calmly as a summer morn, when flop, whiz-z-z the corner of the tent blew up! Misplaced confidence in a sweetheart teaches the lover to sigh at the fickleness of woman, but, oh to have a tent prove false upon 'a lone, barren isle,' and, in the midst of a terrific rain storm, be obliged to face a Hatteras wind, with scant protection against its fury, frantically holding fast to the frail canvas house, waiting for a lull in the blast (vain hope) to afford an opportunity to repeg, is so overpoweringly harrowing to the feelings, and so indescribably uncomfortable, that it is only those who actually experienced it who fully understand its supreme misery."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous10:15 AM

    I grew up camping a week every summer at the Cape Point campground in Buxton. I can understand completely, especially if you happened to have a tent that wasn't up to the wind, or stakes not up to the task. I could imagine both were lacking during the civil war. Even today, it's hard to find a tent tough enough to stand up to an Outer Banks storm, and even those don't normally come with good tent stakes!

  2. Excellent description for all who have camped along the Outer Banks! Thanks, Philip!