War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0993 Chapter LIV. OPERATIONS AGAINST FORT FISHER, N. C.

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During the siege of Almeida, in Spain, a magazine containing 150,000 pounds (French) of powder exploded, within a radius only of some 250 yards were the buildings destroyed and blown down.

In October, 1864, on the south bank of the Thames, between Eltham and Woolwich, two powder magazines and two barges loaded with powder were exploded. The total quantity of powder set off was some 104,000 pounds. Upon the immediate point of explosion great destruction ensued, but beyond the boundaries of the twenty-acre lot upon which the magazine stood no other damage was inflicted, beyond the breaking of some panes of glass and doors.

In 1807, at Leyden, a vessel loaded with 10,000 pounds of powder exploded and caused the destruction of a number of buildings in one particular quarter of the city and close to the exploded vessel. The destruction was not, however, widespread.

All these accounts go to show that the distance to which the destructive effects of the exploded gases of powder extend are not very great and that the atmosphere is not put in such violent motion as at any considerable distance to cause a destruction of life and property.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major, Corps of Engineers.

Brigadier General RICHARD DELAFIELD,

Chief Engineer, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

Numbers 8. Reports of General Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army, commanding Army of Northern Virginia.

[For Lee's dispatches of December 24, 25, and 27, see p. 856.]

Numbers 9. Reports of Major General William H. C. Whiting, C. S. Army, commanding Third Military District, Department of North Carolina.


Wilmington, December 30, 1864.

COLONEL: This account of the failure for the present of the very formidable combined attack of the enemy by sea and land upon Confederate Point is written for the information of the general commanding and for the War Department, to which I request it may be sent.

The fleet under Admiral Porter, of the sailing of which for Wilmington I received notice on the 18th instant, as communicated also by telegraph to General Lee, made its appearance on the 20th and 21st, and remained in the offing about seven miles from New Inlet during Wednesday and Thursday. The weather was quite heavy and the sea fortunately very rough.

On the 24th it cleared off bright and smooth. Colonel Lamb, commanding Fort Fisher, telegraphed at 12 m the approach of the fleet to attack. At 12.40 p. m. the Ironsides, as we supposed, leading, opened fire, the other vessels rapidly following as they came into position. Their line of battle was formed apparently in a crescent, the right being opposite Howard's Hill, as near the beach as the depth of the water would allow, the center opposite the bar, and the left extending well on