War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0969 Chapter LIV. OPERATIONS AGAINST FORT FISHER, N. C.

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superintending the preparations for this fire of the navy ceased. Instantly the guns of the fort were fully manned, and a sharp fire of musketry, grape, and canister swept the plain over which the column must have advanced and the skirmish line was returning. Working with what diligence we could, it was impossible to get the troops again on board before the sea ran so high as to render further re-embarkation, or even the sending of supplies ashore, impossible.

I lay by the shore until 11 o'clock the next day, Monday, the 26th, when, having made all proper dispositions for getting the troops on board, I gave orders to the transport fleet, as fast as they were ready, to sail for Fortress Monroe, in obedience to my instructions from the lieutenant-general. I learned from deserters and prisoners captured that the supposition upon which the lieutenant-general directed the expedition - that Wilmington had been denuded of troops to oppose General Sherman - was correct; that at the time when the army arrived off Wilmington there was less that 400 men in the garrison of Fort Fisher and less that 1,000 within twenty miles. But the delay of three days of good weather (the 16th, 17th, and 18th), waiting for the arrival of the navy, and the further delay from the terrible storm of the 21st, 22nd, and 23rd, gave time for troops to be brought from Richmond, three divisions of which were either there or on the road. The instructions of the lieutenant-general to me did not contemplate a siege. I had neither siege trains or supplies for such a contingency. The exigency of possible delay, for which the foresight of the commander of the armies had provided, had arisen, to wit, the large re-enforcement of the garrison. This, together with the fact that the navy had exhausted their supply of ammunition in the bombardment, left me with no alternative but to return with my troops to the Army of the James. The loss of the opportunity of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (the 16th, 17th, and 18th) was the immediate cause of the failure of the expedition. It is not my province even to suggest blame to the navy for their delay of four days at Beaufort. I know none of the reasons which do or do not justify it. It is to be presumed they are sufficient.

I am happy to bring to the attention of the lieutenant-general the excellent behavior of the troops, both officers and men, which was all that could be desired. I am under special obligations to Captain Glisson, of the Santiago de Cuba, for the able and efficient manner in which he covered our landing; to Captain Alden, of the Brooklyn, for his prompt assistance and the excellent gunnery with which the Brooklyn cleaned the shores of all opposes at the moment of debarkation. Lieutenant Farquhar, of the Navy, having in charge the navy boats which assisted in the landing, deserves great credit for the energy and skill with which he managed the boats through the rolling surf. Especial commendation is due to Brigadier-General Graham and the officers and men of his naval brigade for the organization of his boats and crews for landing and the untiring energy and industry with which they all labored in re-embarking the troops during the stormy night of the 25th and the days following. For this and other meritorious services during the campaign since the 1st of May, which have heretofore been brought to the notice of the lieutenant-general in my official reports, I would respectfully but earnestly recommend General Graham for promotion.

The number of prisoners captured by us was 300, including 12 officers, 2 heavy rifled guns, 2 light guns, and 6 caissons.

The loss of the army was 1 man drowned, 2 men killed, 1 officer captured, who accidentally wandered through our pickets, and 10 men wounded while upon the picket-line by the shells of the navy.