The work at A is just 1 mile distant from Fort Caswell. Consists essentially of a bastion front crossing the island, and of a channel battery; thee large traverses on the channel front; work nearly completed; heavy guns mounted, some of which are Whitworks. This work seems much like Fort Wagner, and is doubtless inclosed, and is places exactly in the prolongation of the axis of the channel.
Oak Island is otherwise unoccupied; nothing visible at Lockwood's, Folly Inlet, and no men are ever seen on the beach, which is high with bluffs, quite up to the fort at A. Island is heavily wooded, principally live oak and undergrowth.
Neither our vessels nor our small boats have gone into Lockwood's Inlet.
The work at B is well commenced, and is progressing rapidly. No guns were observed. It consists essentially of a battery looking toward Caswell, and another looking seaward, and this last is extending toward Bald Bluff. Work is probably not yet inclosed; six large traverses; other s unfinished. Is entirely commanded by
Badd Bluff, which is about 30 fleet high, and is yet unoccupied. the southern end of Smith's Island is about 4 miles long and 1 mile wide, heavy with live oak and undergrowth, much like Folly Island. No work at Cape Fear, but field guns are brought out sometimes to protect blockade runners. For about 1 miles from Bald Head Point beach is obstructed by trees at high tide and by bluffs, but the other 3 miles is fine beach, smooth and open.
Good anchorage is found by the Cape Fear Shoals, which extend south several miles, giving shelter from northerly and easterly storms, but open to southeast and south. This is the only anchorage, and the beach of Cape Fear the only sure ground for disembarking troops. As yet both are unoccupied by the enemy.
North of the woods, at Cape Fear, Smith's Island is but a narrow strip of sand or beach terminating in Zeek's Island, at New Inlet, nd 5 miles in length, its character precisely like Folly Island between the signal tower and the north extremity, but apparently higher.
The northern entrance (New Inlet) is defended by a large fort (Fisher) on the side of the old light-house, and by six other batteries, extending toward Federal Point, and by a small battery on Zeek's Island.
The Zeek's Island battery contains tow or three guns and looks towards Federal Point; it seems uninclosed and perfectly accessible from the rear. There are several small houses on the island, which is but little above high water; garrison, it is reported, of from 50 to 100 men. Two small breaks between Zeek's and Smith's Islands are protected by breakwaters at low tide. These islands are continuous. The mound battery at C is a landmark as well as a battery; carries three guns, is 60 feet high nd in the direct prolongation of the channel.
At D is a battery of two Hoxo casemates. The other four works carry from two to four or five guns each, and do not appear to be inclosed.
Fort fisher seems very strong; it has five Hoxo casemates, but no guns are visible elsewhere. Parapets of the same relief throughout. A large work is just commenced in rear of Fort Fisher, upon the river side.
Colonel Lamb commands at Fort Fisher about 4,000 men, kept usually about Wilmington.