On Sunday afternoon, April 17, between 12,000 and 15,000 Confederate troops under the command of Gen. Robert F. Hoke attacked the Union garrison of about 3,000 soldiers, including Co. B. A boat took the non-combatants to Roanoke and brought Company A to Plymouth.
At the time, the 101st was assigned to the forts and trenches on the eastern part of town.
Confederate forces took the forts at Plymouth on April 18. The following day, the newly built ironclad CSS Ram Albemarle arrived, sank a Union vessel, and effectively took control of the Roanoke River. Confederate forces had surrounded the town. Union forces were cut off from reinforcements and had no route to retreat.
That same evening, the 101st skirmished with advancing Confederate Troops on the eastern end of town.
The following morning, April 20, Confederate troops charged on Fort Compher and Conaby Redoubt, which were held by the 101st. The Pennsylvania troops were outnumbered and surrounded, but fought valiantly by all accounts.
When it became clear that they were going to be captured, the 101st tore their flag and buried it so that it would not fall into enemy hands. The 101st Pa. Historical Society website includes links to official reports that provide many more details of the last stand of the 101st.
It was a sad ending to the valorous story of the 101st.
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