possible for 6,000 men without artillery to have held out there, without being captured or overwhelmed, from the 26th of December to the 15th of January?
Twenty-second. Please state, as specially as you may be able, the differences in the condition of the fort from the fire of the navy at the time of the first and second attack. Please state the effect of the fire.
Twenty-third. Please state whether or not the fire of the navy at the time of the second attack was unlike the time of the first attack (continuous), and, if so, for how long, and what number of guns were dismounted by it; also whether the garrison at the time of the second attack had any time to rest, or recruit, or even to repair damages.
Twenty-fourth. Would you have deemed it the part of wisdom on the part of the commander of the Federal forces to have exposed his troops in the situation referred to in question twenty-first?
Yours, very respectfully,
BENJ. F. BUTLER.
Answers (numbered) to questions propounded by Benjamin F. Butler.
1. Five companies of the Thirty-sixth North Carolina and Adams' battery of light artillery, amounting to 667 aggregate, was the number of the garrison at Fort Fisher on the 16th, 17th, and 18th of December last.
2. Five companies of the Thirty-sixth Regiment North Carolina (half of regiment had been sent south).
3. About 800 reserves at Sugar Loaf, five miles from the fort.
4. The advance of Hoke's division arrived in Wilmington on the 22nd of December, and pushed to Sugar Loaf, and continued arriving until the close of the attack.
5. On Tuesday, 20th, twenty-five vessels, including several frigates, were reported to me in the offing; all vessels of war.
6. Answered in Numbers 4.
7. Between 1,200 and 1,500 yards, not nearer.
8. I was not.
9. Powder-boat was observed and reported at midnight aground or set on fire; explosion reported at 12.45; no effect at all on the fort; explosion heard plainly in Wilmington. When I telegraphed Colonel Lamb to know what it was he replied, "Enemy's gun-boat blown up."
10. Answered in Numbers 1.
11. Casualties, first day, wounded, 1 mortally, 3 severely, and 19 slightly; total, 23.
12. Five gun carriages disabled.
13. Second day, killed, 3; wounded, 9 mortally, 6 severely, and 28 slightly; total, 46. Damage but very slight. One 10-inch, two 32-pounders, and one 8-inch carriages disabled, and one 10-inch gun disabled. Damage repaired at night. Enemy's fire formidable and sustained, but diffuse, un concentrated; apparent design of the fleet to silence the channel batteries in order to force an entrance with his vessels and not to attack by land. The garrison was in no instance drawn from its guns, and fired in return according to orders, slowly and deliberately, 662 shot and shell.
14. We were able to do both.
15. Assembling at Sugar Loaf as fast as Hoke's people arrived.