The Chicamacomico Races
Soon after the capture of Hatteras Inlet, Union Colonel Rush C. Hawkins anticipated an assault to dislodge his troops from their new foothold on Hatteras Island. He dispatched 600 troops of the 20th Indiana Regiment from Fort Hatteras to Camp Live Oak, two miles south of here. On October 1, 1861, Captain William A. Lynch of the Confederate Navy, commanding the "Mosquito Fleet," seized the USS Fanny in Pamlico Sound. Three days later, the fleet returned to this vicinity with Colonel Augustus R. Wright's 3rd Georgia Infantry and quickly forced the Federal troops to retreat. They hurriedly left their equipment and provisions and were preceded by the fleeing residents of Chicamacomico. They reached the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, over twenty miles away, at midnight. "It was maddening." one soldier wrote, "the sea rolling to our feet and nothing to drink."
The next morning, reinforced Union troops drove the Georgians back over the same ground under heavy shelling from the USS Monticello. "We marched 16 miles," wrote a Confederate officer, "and it was a miracle numbers of us were not killed." As the Confederates and the "Mosquito Fleet" disembarked, they traded cannon fire with the Monticello across this narrow stretch of beach. Chicamacomico was subsequently abandoned by both sides - each convinced they had repelled a major enemy offensive.
Exodus from Chicamacomico
Residents of Chicamacomico, after being routed from their homes by Confederate troops, precede the 20th Indiana Regiment as they escape southward towards Fort Hatteras. Many residents had earlier taken the Oath of Allegiance reaffirming their loyalty to the United States and feared reprisals if they remained. Their empty houses were pillaged and some were torched by marauding soldiers of the 3rd Georgia Infantry from nearby Roanoke Island.