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ascertained that we could place a vessel of seven feet draught_right_on the edge of the beach; Lieutenant R. H. Lamson, commanding Gettysburg, volunteered to go in the Wilderness, Acting Master Henry Arey in command, and tow the Louisiana into position, having assisted in the gale in taking care of the Louisiana after she and the Nansemond (the vessel having her in tow) had lost all their anchors.

At half-past ten P. M. the powder-vessel started in toward the bar, and was towed by the Wilderness until the embrasures of Fort Fisher were plainly in sight. The Wilderness then cast off, and the Louisiana proceeded under steam until within two hundred yards from the beach and about four hundred from the fort.

Commander Rhind anc ored her securely there, and coolly went to work to make all his arrangements to blow her up. This he was enabled to do owing to a blockade-runner going in right ahead of him, the forts making the blockade-runner siguals, which they also did to the Louisiana.

The gallant party, after coolly making all their arrangements for the explosion, left the vessel, the last thing they did being to set her on fire under the cabin. Then taking to their boats, they made their escape off to the Wilderness, lying close by. The Wilderness then put off shore with good speed, to avoid any ill effects that might happen from the explosion. At forty-five minutes past one of the morning of the twenty-fourth the explosion took place, and the shock was nothing like so severe as was expected. It shook the vessel some, and broke one or two glasses, but nothing more.

At daylight on the twenty-fourth the fleet got under way and stood in, in line of battle. At half-past eleven A. M. the signal was made to engage the forts, the Ironsides leading, and the Monadnock, Canonicus, and Mahopac following. The Ironsides took her position in the most beautiful and seamanlike manner, got her spring out, and opened deliberate fire on the fort, which was firing at her with all its guns, which did not seem numerous in the north-east face, though we counted what appeared to be seventeen guns; but four or five of these were fired from that direction, and they were silenced almost as soon as the Ironsides opened her terrific battery.

The Minnesota then took her position in handsome style, and her guns, after getting the range, were fired with rapidity, while the Mohican, Colorado. and the large vessels marked on the plan, got to their stations, all firing to cover themselves while anchoring. By the time the last of the large vessels anchored and got their batteries into play, but one or two guns of the enemy were fired, this feu d'enfer driving them all to their bomb-proofs.

The small gunboats Kansas, Unadilla, Pequot, Seneca, Pontoosuc, Yantic, and Huron took positions to the northward and eastward of the monitors, and enfilading the works.

The Shenandoah, Ticonderoga, Mackinaw,

Tacony, and Vanderbilt took effective positions as marked on the chart, and added their fire to that already begun.

The Santiago de Cuba, Fort Jackson, Osceola, Chippewa, Sassacus, Rhode Island, Monticello, Quaker City, and Iosco dropped into position according to order, and the battle became general. In one hour and fifteen minutes after the first shot was fired not a shot came from the fort. Two magazines had been blown up by our shells, and the fort set on fire in several places; and such a torrent of missiles were falling into and bursting over it that it was impossible for anything human to stand it. Finding that the batteries were silenced completely, I directed the ships to keep up a moderate fire in the hopes of attracting the attention of the transports and bringing them in. At sunset General Butler came in, in his flag-ship, with a few transports (the rest not having arrived from Beaufort).

Being too late to do anything more, I signalled the fleet to retire for the night for a safe anchorage, which they did without being molested by the enemy.

There were some mistakes made this day when the vessels went in to take position. My plan of battle being based on accurate calculation, and made from information to be relied on, was placed in the hands of each commander, and it seemed impossible to go astray if it was strictly followed.

I required those vessels that had not followed it closely to get under way and assume their proper positions, which was done promptly and without confusion. The vessels were placed somewhat nearer to the works, and were able to throw in their shell, which were before falling into the waters.

One or two leading vessels having made the mistake of anchoring too far off, caused those coming after them to commit a like error; but when they all got into place, and commenced work in earnest, the shower of shells (one hundred and fifteen per minute) was irresistible. So quickly were the enemy's guns silenced that not an officer or man was injured. I regret, however, to have to report some severe casualties by the bursting of a one-hundred-pound Parrott cannon.

One burst on board the Ticonderoga, killing six of the crew, and wounding seven others. Another burst on board the Yantic, killing one officer and two men. Another on the Juniata, killing two officers, and wounding and killing ten others. Another on the Mackinaw, killing one officer, and wounding five others (men). Another on the Quaker City, wounding, I believe, two or three.

The bursting of the guns (six in all) much disconcerted the crews of the vessels when the accident happened, and gave one and all a great distrust of the Parrott one-hundred-pounders, and (as subsequent events proved) they were unfit for service, and calculated to kill more of our men than those of the enemy.

Some of the vessels were struck once or twice. The Mackinaw had her boiler perforated with a shell, and ten or twelve persons were badly scalded.

The Osceola was struck with a shell near her magazine, and was at one time in a sinking condition; but her efficient commander stopped up the leak, while the Mackinaw fought out the battle, notwithstanding the damage she received. The Yantic was the only vessel that left the line to report damages.

Commander John Guest, at the east end of the line, showed his usual intelligence in selecting his position and directing his fire. Twice his guns cut down the flagstaff on the Mound battery, and he silenced the guns there in a very short time, the Keystone State and Quaker City cooperating effectively.

Lieutenant Commander J. L. Davis, with both rudders disabled, got his vessel, the Sassacus, into close action, and assisted materially in silencing the works; and the Santiago de Cuba and Fort Jackson took such positions as they could get (owing to other vessels not forming proper lines and throwing them out of place), and fought their guns well. The taking of a new position while under fire, by the Brooklyn and Colorado, was a beautiful sight, and when they got into place both ships delivered a fire that nothing could withstand."

The Brooklyn well sustained her proud name under her present commander, Captain James Alden; and the Colorado gave evidence that her commander, Commodore H. K. Thatcher, fully understood the duties of his position. The Susquehanna was most effective in her fire, and was fortunate enough to obtain the right position, though much bothered by a vessel near her that had not found her right place.

The Mohican went into battle gallantly, and fired rapidly, and with effect; and when the Powhatan, Ticonderoga, and Shenandoah got into their positions they did good service. The Pawtuxet fell handsomely into line, and did good service with the rest, and the Vanderbilt took position near the Minnesota, and threw in a splendid fire. The firing of the monitors was excellent, and when their shells struck, great damage was done, and the little gunboats that covered them kept up a fire sufficient to disconcert the enemy's aim.

The rebels fired no more after the vessels all opened on them, except a few shots from the Mound and upper batteries, which the Iosco and consorts soon silenced.

Our men were at work at the guns five hours, and glad to get a little rest. They came out of action with rather a contempt for rebel batteries, and anxious to renew the battle in the morning.

On the twenty-fifth (Christmas) all the transports had arrived, and General Butler sent General Weitzel to see me, and arrange the programme for the day. It was decided that we should attack the forts again, while the army

landed and assaulted them, if possible, under our heavy fire.

I sent seventeen gunboats, under command of Captain O. S. Glisson, to cover the troops and assist with their boats in landing the soldiers. Finding the smaller vessels kept too far from the beach, which was quite bold, I sent in the Brooklyn to set them an example, which that vessel did, relying, as every commander should, on the information I gave him in relation to the soundings. To this number were added all the small vessels that were covering the coast along; and finally I sent some eight or nine vessels that were acting under Commander Guest in endeavoring to find a way across the bar. This gave a hundred small boats to land the troops with. Besides those, the army was already provided with about twenty more.

At seven a. M. on the twenty-fifth I made signal to get under way and form in line of battle, which was quickly done. The order to attack was given, and the Ironsides took position in her usual handsome style, the monitors following close after her. All the vessels followed according to order, and took position without a shot being fired at them, excepting a few shots fired at the four last vessels that got into line.

The firing this day was slow, only sufficient to amuse the enemy while the army landed, which they were doing five miles to the eastward of the fleet.

I suppose about three thousand men had landed when I was notified they were re embarking.

I could see our soldiers near the forts reconnoitring and sharpshooting, and was in hopes an assault was deemed practicable.

General Weitzel in person was making observations about six hundred yards off, and the troops were in and around the works. One gallant officer, whose name I do not know, went on the parapet and brought away the rebel flag we had knocked down. A soldier went into the works and led out a horse, killing the orderly mounted on him, and taking his despatches from the body. Another soldier fired his musket into the bomb-proof among the rebels, and eight or ten others who had ventured near the forts were wounded by our shells.

As the ammunition gave out the vessels retired from action, and the iron-clads and Minnesota, Colorado, and Susquehanna were ordered to open rapidly, which they did with such ef fect that it seemed to tear the works to pieces. We drew off at sunset, leaving the iron-clads to fire through the night, expecting the troops would attack in the morning, when we would commence again. I received word from General Weitzel informing me that it was impracti cable to assault, and I herewith enclose a letter from General Butler assigning his reasons for withdrawing the troops. I also enclose my answer.

In the bombardment of the twenty-fifth the men were engaged firing slowly for seven

hours. The rebels kept a couple of guns on the upper batteries firing on the vessels, hitting some of them several times without doing much damage. The Wabash and Powhatan being within their range, the object seemed mainly to disable them, but a rapid fire soon closed them up. Everything was coolly and systematically done throughout the day, and I witnessed some beautiful practice.

The army commenced landing about two o'clock, Captain Glisson, in the Santiago de Cuba, having shelled Flag-pond battery to ensure a safe landing, and they commenced to reembark about five o'clock, the weather coming on thick and rainy. About a brigade were left on the beach during the night, covered by the gunboats. As our troops landed, sixty-five rebel soldiers hoisted the white flag and delivered themselves up, and were taken prisoners by the seamen landing the troops, and conveyed to the Santiago de Cuba. Two hundred and eighteen more gave themselves up to the reconnoitring party, all being desirous to quit the


I don't pretend to put my opinion in opposition to that of General Weitzel, who is a thorough soldier and an able engineer, and whose business it is to know more of assaulting than I do, but I can't help thinking that it was worth while to make the attempt after coming so far. About twelve o'clock I sent in a detachment of double-enders, under Commander John Guest, to see if I could effect an entrance through the channel. The great number of wrecks in and about the bar has changed the whole formation, and where the original channel was we found a shallow bar.

engaged in the most perilous adventure that was, perhaps, ever undertaken, and though no material results have taken place from the effects of the explosion, that we know of, still it was not their fault.

As an incentive to others, I beg leave to recommend them for promotion; also, that of Lieutenant R. H. Lamson, who piloted them in and brought them off. No one in the squadron considered that their lives would be saved, and Commander Rhind and Lieutenant Preston had made an errangement to sacrifice themselves in case the vessel was boarded-a thing likely to happen.

I enclose herewith the report of Commander Rhind, with the names of the gallant fellows who volunteered for this desperate service. Allow me also to mention the name of Mr. Bradford, of the Coast Survey, who went in and sounded out the place where the Louisiara was to go in, and has always patiently performed every duty that he has been called on to carry out.

My thanks are due to Lieutenant Commander K. R. Breeze, fleet captain, for carrying about my orders to the fleet during the action, and for his general usefulness; to Lieutenant Commander H. A. Adams for his promptness in supplying the fleet with ammunition. Lieutenant M. W. Sanders, Signal Officer, whose whole time was occupied in making signals, performed his duty well; and my aids, Lieutenant S. W. Terry and Lieutenant S. W. Preston, afforded me valuable assistance.

I have not yet received a list of the casualties, but believe they were very few from the enemy's guns. We had killed and wounded about forty-five persons by the bursting of the Parrott guns.

I beg leave to suggest that no more be introduced into the service.

I sent Lieutenant W. B. Cushing in to sound and buoy out a channel, if he could find one, with orders to Commander Guest to drag for torpedoes and be ready to run in by the buoys when ordered. The examination was not at all There is only one kind of firing (at close satisfactory. A very narrow and crooked chan-quarters) that is effective, and that is from nine, nel was partly made out and buoyed, but run- ten, and eleven-inch guns; they cannot be ning so close to the upper forts that boats equalled. could not work there.

Lieutenant Cushing went in in his boat as far as Zeke's Island, but his researches would not justify my attempting the passage with six double-enders, some of which had burst their rifled Parrott guns and injured many of their


As it was getting late, and the troops were making slow progress in landing, I withdrew the vessels and boats that were searching for the channel, and sent them to help land the troops, otherwise we might have succeeded in buoying it out, though it was a difficult thing for the boats to work under the fire of the upper batteries.

One boat belonging to the Tacony was sunk by a shell, and a man had his leg cut off. Still they stuck to their work until ordered to withdraw for other duty. In conclusion, allow me to draw your attention to the conduct of Commander Rhind and Lieutenant Preston. They

Until further orders I shall go on and hammer away at the fort, hoping that in time the people in it will get tired and hand it over to us. It is a one-sided business altogether, and in the course of time we must dismount their guns, if, as General Weitzel says, we cannot "injure it as a defensive work.' The government may also think it of sufficient importance to undertake more serious operations against these works.

An army of a few thousand men investing it would soon get into it, with the aid of the navy. When smooth water permits I will go to work looking for a channel over the bar, which has not yet been found to my satisfaction.

I must not omit to pay a tribute to the officers and crew of the monitors-riding out heavy gales on an open coast without murmuring or complaining of the want of comfort, which must have been very serious. They have shown a degree of fortitude and perseverance

seldom witnessed. Equally brave in battle, they take the closest work with pleasure, and the effect of their shells is terrific.

The following are the names of the commanders, and I hope I shall ever keep them under my command:

Commander E. G. Parrott, commanding Monadnock; Commander E. R. Calhoun, commanding Saugus; Lieutenant George E. Belknap, commanding Canonicus; Lieutenant Commander E. E. Potter, commanding Mahopac.

There are about one thousand men left on shore by the army, who have not been got off yet, on account of the surf on the beach. These will be got off in the morning, and the soldiers will then be sent home.

I enclose general order for the attack.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient



Secretary of the Navy.



NORTH CAROLINA, December 25, 1864.

ADMIRAL-Upon landing the troops and making a thorough reconnoissance of Fort Fisher, both General Weitzel and myself are fully of the opinion that the place could not be carried by assault, as it was left substantially uninjured as a defensive work by the navy fire. We found seventeen guns protected by traverses, two only of which were dismounted, bearing up the beach, and covering a strip of land, the only practicable route, not more than wide enough

for a thousand men in line of battle.

Having captured Flag-pond Hill battery, the garrison of which, sixty-five men and two commissioned officers, were taken off by the navy, we also captured Half-moon battery and seven officers and two hundred and eighteen men of the Third North Carolina Junior Reserves, including its commander, from whom I learned that a portion of Hoke's division, consisting of Kirkland's and Haygood's brigades, had been sent from the lines before Richmond on Tuesday last, arriving at Wilmington Friday night. General Weitzel advanced his skirmish line within fifty yards of the fort, while the garrison was kept in their bomb-proofs by the fire of the navy, and so closely that three or four men of the picket line ventured upon the parapet and through the sallyport of the work, capturing a horse, which they brought off, killing the orderly, who was the bearer of a despatch from the Chief of Artillery of General Whiting to bring a light battery within the fort, and also brought away from the parapet the flag of the fort.

This was done while the shells of the navy were falling about the heads of the daring men who entered the work, and it was evident, as soon as the fire of the navy ceased because of the darkness, that the fort was fully manned again and opened with grape and canister on our picket line.

Finding that nothing but the operations of a regular siege, which did not come within my instructions, would reduce the fort, and in view of the threatening aspect of the weather, wind rising from the south-east, rendering it impossi ble to make further landing through the surf, I caused the troops with their prisoners to reembark, and see nothing further that can be done by the land forces. I shall, therefore, sail for Hampton Roads as soon as the transport fleet can be got in order.

My engineers and officers report Fort Fisher to me as substantially uninjured as a defensive work. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant, BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General Commanding.

Rear-Admiral PORTER,

Commanding N. A. Blockading Squadron.

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and could keep any rebels inside from showing We have not commenced firing rapidly yet, their heads until an assaulting column was within twenty yards of the works.

followed the officer who took the flag from the I wish some more of your gallant fellows had horse out from the fort. I think they would parapet, and the brave fellow who brought the have found it an easier conquest than is supposed.

ion in opposition to General Weitzel, whom I I do not, however, pretend to place my opinknow to be an accomplished soldier and engineer, and whose opinion has great weight with


safety. We will have a west wind presently, I will look out that the troops are all off in and a smooth beach about three o'clock, when sufficient boats will be sent for them.

Cuba will be delivered to the provost marshal The prisoners now on board the Santiago de at Fortress Monroe, unless you wish to take them on board one of the transports, which would be inconvenient just now.

I remain, General, respectfully, your obedient servant, DAVID D. PORTER, Rear-Admiral.

Major-General B. F. BUTLER,

Commanding, &c. &c. &c.

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I have the honor to say that in the ac- fire of those two days' bombardment. This ship tions of the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth in-planted two hundred and thirty (230) shot in stant, with Fort Fisher and its dependencies, the rebel works on the twenty-fifth, and exthese works were effectually silenced by the ploded nine hundred and ninety-six (996) shells heavy and accurate fire of this fleet for hours at within them on that day. a time, the enemy only replying to our fire when an occasional cessation occurred on our part.

On the twenty-fourth an explosion took place, during a heavy fire from the fleet, within the main fort of the rebels, and immediately after which flames were observed streaming high above the walls, naturally leading to the conclusion that we had fired the barracks and other tenements connected with Fort Fisher. During the continuance of this blaze, which was for hours, not a gun was fired by the enemy (to the best of my recollection), except from the isolated work called the Mound fort.

On the twenty-fifth instant the range was shorter and the firing of the fleet more accurate than on the preceding day. It is my belief that not a shot or shell was fired by the advanced line of ships that did not either penetrate the earthworks of the enemy or explode within them. The crew of this ship were perfectly cool, and fired with deliberation and apparent severe effect upon the enemy, delivering on the first day fifteen hundred and sixty-nine (1,569) projectiles. Near the close of the second day's action we perceived the near approach of the advanced skirmishers of our army force, which had landed late in the day, when our fire ceased for nearly thirty (30) minutes, and was only resumed after we had been hulled several times by a vicious gun which appeared to be fired from the north-east angle of Fort Fisher. We then reopened heavily, but more to the left than we had previously fired, to avoid annoying our own troops, who were seen approaching the fort. The effect of this last heavy fire was apparently severe upon the casemated works to the southward and westward of Fort Fisher. At this time a succession of explosions was heard in the rear of these casemates, followed by the blaze of a large building, which continued to burn during the greater part of Christmas night.

My "impression with regard to the defensibility of the post (battered as it was) against a combined attack of the army and navy" is, that it could have been carried by assault on either of the evenings of the twenty-fourth or twentyfifth instant.

I do not suppose that it was deemed possible entirely to demolish a casemated earthwork like Fort Fisher, but I am satisfied that everything was done that could be done on the part of the navy to render it untenable, the enemy having been again and again driven from their guns (some of which, it appears, were dismounted by our fire), and compelled to seek refuge in the sand-holes.

The shoalness of the water for a mile seaward of the forts constituted their only safety against total destruction, or, at least, the dismounting of every gun, such was the heavy and concentrated

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient
Commodore, Commanding 1st Division, N. A. Squadron.

Rear-Admiral DAVID D. PORTER,

Commanding N. A. Squadron, Beaufort, N. C.



OFF BEAUFORT, N. C., January 1, 1865. ADMIRAL-Your General Order, No. 75 did not reach me until this morning, owing to its being sent on board the Colorado. In reply to that part of it requiring me to make a report of the part I took in the actions of the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth ultimo, I have to state that at twenty minutes past one P. M. on the twenty-fourth, I took my position in the line, as directed by you, with a kedge upon my port quarter acting as a spring, letting go my port anchor with twenty-five (25) fathoms of chain, which brought my starboard broadside to bear upon the forts. I immediately opened a vigorous fire upon the batteries, paying espe cial attention to Fort Fisher with my eleveninch gun, and to the Mound with my two (2) one-hundred-pounder Parrotts, and with my nine-inch guns to the batteries more immediately abreast of us. It is reported and believed on board this ship that one of the shells from our eleven-inch, which exploded in Fort Fisher, set fire to it. At 2:45 P. M., finding that some of my nine-inch shell fell short, and that the Brooklyn, being under way, occasionally interfered with my line of sight, I got under way, continuing the action, and stood into four and a half (4%) fathoms water, from which position every shot told with great effect. From this time the action was continued under way. At 3:10 P. M. the end of our spanker gaff was shot away, and our flag came down with it; hoisted it immediately at the mizzen. About the same time the rebel flag on Fort Fisher was shot away, and was not raised again during the action. At 3:45 P. M. the flag-staff on the Mound was shot away, which shot is claimed by our pivot rifle. At 5:20 P. M. the signal was made to discontinue the action. Hauled off, having sustained no loss of life or injury to the ship.

During this day's action we fired two hundred and thirty-six (236) nine-inch shell, fifty-four (54) eleven-inch shell, and eighty-two (82) one hundred-pounder rifle shell. Not a shell was wasted from the eleven-inch and rifles, and only a few in the early part of the action from the nine-inch guns. The starboard battery only was used in action, viz.: eight (8) nine-inch guns, two (2) one-hundred-pounder Parrott rifles, and one (1) eleven-inch pivot gun.

On the twenty-fifth I took my position as before, although nearer the batteries and further

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