War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0983 Chapter LIV. OPERATIONS AGAINST FORT FISHER, N. C.

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to within about seventy-five paces of the fort, and succeeded in completely silencing the guns in their front, and continued to do so until dark. Soon after the arrival of the skirmish line at the fort Lieutenant Simpson, of my staff, succeeded in cutting the telegraph wire running out of the fort toward the city. About this time Lieutenant W. H. Walling, of the One hundred and forty-second New York Volunteers, performed one of the most gallant exploits of the war in entering in front by the sally-port and possessing himself of the principal flag of the place, together with some twelve feet of the staff, which had been cut down by a shell from the gun-boats, and which he succeeded in bearing safely to our lines. Seeing the skirmishers in this advantageous position, I sent back to my reserve for 200 men with which to possess the fort, but my messenger was there informed that orders from the department commander bade me retire, which orders I afterward discovered had been sent to me at the front, but had failed to reach their destination, consequently, on receiving these orders, I withdrew my line of skirmishers to the outwork, some one-third of a mile from the fort, the enemy firing sharply after us with musketry and canister. On my arrival at that point I received orders from General Ames to return and re-establish my lines as they were and, if possible, to occupy the fort, and I at once ordered my skirmishers forward,,supported by detachments from the One hundred and forty-second New York Volunteers and the Third New York Volunteers, with the One hundred and seventeenth New York Volunteers. On arriving with the reserves at the outworks of the fort I ordered the One hundred and seventeenth New York Volunteers to proceed toward the Wilmington road and hold it against any re-enforcements that might be sent against me from the city. In this expedition Colonel Daggett, commanding the One hundred and seventeenth New York Volunteers, succeeded in capturing a light battery of two guns and six caissons that had been abandoned by the enemy on the road toward the city (but was unable to draw them off without the aid of horses), and surprised and captured a detachment of the Eighth North Carolina Junior Reserves, consisting of a major, 1 captain, 5 lieutenants, and 230 privates, also an orderly with dispatches, which were turned over to Captain De Kay, of the commanding general's staff. These prisoners were made to retain and carry their arms and accouterments on board the transports. The enemy, having the cover of the darkness, opened on the skirmishers as they advanced on the fort with musketry and canister, but did not prevent their establishing the line in its former position, with the reserves in close proximity. Having established my forces in the position ordered, I sent back to report the fact to the general commanding, when orders were sent to me to retire at once to the place of embarkation with all dispatch, which I did under a heavy fire, but without loss, and arrived on the beach at about 8.30 p. m., where troops were being re-embarked. I succeeded in getting only a part of my command off that night, owing to the roughness of the sea, and with the remainder remained on shore until about 2 p. m. on the 27th instant, when, through the exertions of the navy, I succeeded in re-embarking the whole of my command.

I would here mention that a dock, with a quantity of forage and some meal, was discovered by my scouts on the river, but owing to their having no matches they were unable to destroy it. A large number of entrenching tools, however, which were found at the new work, about a mile from the landing, I caused to be buried, as they could not be removed.