Admiral Du Pont were not finished until morning, so that I did not arrive at Fortress Monroe until 7.30 in the morning of the 13th ultimo. Finding the fleet of transports gone, I followed in the course directed at the rate of eleven knots per hour until I met the fleet a few miles below Mathias Point at dusk of the same day. Thence forward I followed the written instructions and kept close up [with] the rest of the transport fleet, without any occurrence of note until ordered into Beaufort for coal on the evening of the 20th ultimo. On the morning of the 21st ultimo, arrived off Beaufort Harbor and were prevented from entering by a severe gale until noon of the 22nd ultimo. Saturday, the 24th ultimo, Colonel J. W. Ames, commanding the Second Brigade, transferred his headquarters on board the Admiral Du Pont and took command. On the morning of the 25th ultimo I received orders off Half-Moon Battery, to hold my command in readiness to disembark. No man, however, left the ship. On the 29th ultimo, arrived off Fort Monroe. The ship was ordered to Norfolk for a pilot, where it was obliged to stay over night. Two men escaped from the vessel during the night and were left at Norfolk. AT 8 in the evening of the 30th ultimo the regiment arrived at its old camp.
The following is the number of officers and men of the regiment who were with the expedition: Officers 16; enlisted men, 329.
The number of enlisted men disabled by sickness, 5; by frost bite, 3; by sprain, 1; total 9. Enlisted men lost by desertion, 2.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CLARK E. ROYCE,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.
Captain S. A. CARTER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, First Division, 25th Army Corps.
Numbers 7. Report of Major Thomas Lincoln Casey, Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army.
WASHINGTON, D. C., December 29, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to your instructions of the 8th, I joined, on the 10th instant, the North Atlantic Squadron, under command of Rear Admiral D. D. Porter, then lying in Hampton Roads, and was assigned by him to the U. S. steamer Rhode Island, Captain S. D. Trenchard, U. S. Navy. This fleet was concentrated for an attack upon the rebel defenses of the New Inlet to Cape Fear River, covering one of the approaches to the city of Wilmington, N. C. The point of attack selected was Fort Fisher, and one of the means of attack decided upon as first to be projected against this work was the explosion of a large mass of gunpowder, placed as near to its parapets as it could be carried in a vessel in the hopes that the effects produced would be the great injury, if not destruction, of the fortifications, its armament, and garrison. The least effect expected was that the garrison should be so paralyzed and stunned as to offer small resistance to subsequent assaults. The vessel selected to carry the powder was the U. S. (purchased) propeller Louisiana, of 295 tons measurement, having an iron hull. It was decided to disguise her to resemble as much as possible a blockade-runner, and to endeavor to place her in the desired position without being discovered by the enemy.