Appomattox River. Early the next morning it moved to Bermuda Hundred, where it embarked on ocean transports. The First Brigade, commanded by Bvt. Brigadier General N. M. Curtis, was put on board steamers C. Thomas and Weybosset; the Second Brigade, commanded by Colonel G. Pennypacker, on board steamers Perit, S. Moore, and Idahoe; and the Third Brigade, commanded by Colonel L. Bell, on board the Baltic and Haze, and the Sixteenth New York Battery, Captain Lee, on steamer Starlight. At 3 o'clock on the morning of the 13th the transport fleet sailed from Fortress Monroe for Mathias Point. Arriving at this point about dark, it turned about and directed its course for Cape Henry. Before getting to sea it was intercepted and ordered to anchor near the eastern shore. It remained here till about midday, when it got under way and went to sea. We arrived at the rendezvous, twenty miles east of Masonborough Inlet, N. C., on the evening of the 15th. Here we remained until the evening of the 20th, when a storm commenced which caused the most of the transports to put into Beaufort, N. C., for safety. On the morning of the 24th the fleet, under Admiral Porter, moved in toward New Inlet. Hearing the navy was to open fire on Fort Fisher, I reported to Admiral Porter that I had with me about 1,000 or 1,200 men, and was ready and anxious to co-operate with him.
On the morning of the 25th all of our vessels anchored near the shore, about two miles and a half north of Fort Fisher, and immediately began preparations for landing. Brevet Brigadier-General Curtis and 500 of his brigade were the first to land. During the landing of my second brigade I went ashore. Shortly after my arrival the enemy opened a slight infantry fire; this was quickly suppressed by our own skirmishers. Soon after a deserter came in and reported that Kirkland's brigade, of Hoke's division, was in our front. This man I sent at once to the major-general commanding the department. As soon as Colonel Bell's brigade had landed I moved with it along the shore, to the support of Brevet Brigadier-General Curtis, leaving to the troops then ashore and those rapidly coming the task of repulsing any attack the enemy might make. Reports indicated a heavy force of the enemy near at hand. It was dusk when I reached the front. I there heard that the First Brigade was to remain where it was till further orders, and that if an attack was made on the fort the responsibility would rest with the officer in immediate command. At this time I did not know that it had been decided not to attack the fort, and that the troops were to re-embark. Upon the report of Brevet Brigadier-General Curtis that he could take the fort I sent his brigade forward to make the attempt. By the time he reached his position it was dark, and the navy had almost entirely ceased its fire. The troops, which during the day had to seek shelter, now boldly manned their guns. Had the attack been made it would have failed. It was not made. An order reached me at this time to return and re-embark. All returned to the transports except a part of the First Brigade, which, owing to the surf, was forced to remain on shore till the 27th, when the sea had sufficiently subsided to allow its re-embarkation.
I cannot speak in too high terms of the conduct of the officers and men, not only while uncomfortably crowded on shipboard, but when on shore in contact with the enemy. Lieutenant W. H. Walling, of the One hundred and forty-second New York Volunteers, took from the parapet of Fort Fisher its flag; he deserves some adequate reward. General Curtis recommends that Lieutenant Walling be brevetted major; I heartily approve it. Colonel Daggett, commanding One hundred and seventeenth New York Volunteers, captured some 220 prisoners.