War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 1004 OPERATIONS IN SE.VA. AND N.C. Chapter LIV.

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the other ships followed as they took their position on left, front, and right of the fort, enfilading both land and sea faces. About fifty vessels of the fleet, including one double-turreted and two single-turreted monitors, joined in the engagement, and kept up an incessant fire until dark (5.30 p.m.). The enemy directed the warmest fire at the flag-staff at headquarters until they had cut the flag and staff down and knocked headquarters into a mass of ruins. They fired projectiles of every description, from a 3-inch rifle shell to a 15-inch round shell. They destroyed about one-half of the quarters, disabled 3 gun carriages, tore up large quantities of the earth-works, splintered some of the revetments, but did not injure a single bomb-proof or endanger any magazine. The greatest penetration noticed was not over five feet perpendicularly.

Our casualties were: Wounded, mortally, 1; seriously, 3; slightly, 19. Total, 23. Commissioned officers - Lieutenant Matthew Washington Pridgen, Company H, Thirty-sixth North Carolina Regiment, and Passed Midshipman Clarence Cary, C. S. Navy, both slightly. (For particulars I respectfully refer to surgeon's report.*)

As not attempt was made by the enemy to cross the bar, the fort fired slowly and deliberately, expending only 672 projectiles. The day was so calm that the smoke hung around our batteries and the enemy's ships, and prevented our gunners, generally, from seeing the effects of their shots, but enough were seen to strike the enemy to know that their casualties must very far exceed ours. A number of vessels were withdrawn, and some were seen being towed off. The frigate Wabash, apparently bearing the admirals' pennant, was driven from her position late in the afternoon, and withdrew, stern foremost, as if afraid to expose her broadsides. At dark the enemy withdrew, Fort Fisher firing the last gun. Everything remained quiet during the night. At about 10 a.m. next morning, December 25 (Christmas, the anniversary of the Prince of Peace), the fleet advanced again in single line toward the fort, led by the Ironsides. At 10.30 a.m. the fleet, with the addition of another monitor (single-turreted) and some wooden steamers, recommenced an incessant bombardment, if possible more noisy and furious than that of the preceding day, which they kept up until after dark (nearly 6 p.m.). During the day a few more quarters were burnt, more of the earth-work were displaced, but more seriously damaged, and five guns were disabled by the enemy.

About 2 p.m. the flag-ship and other frigates came closer to the bar and lowered boats, which approached to sound the bar. The Brooke gun battery opened upon them, with other guns, and drove them out. The Armstrong gun, which had been held in reserve during the fight, was pointedlate in the afternoon on the flag-ship lying off the bar, and one steel shot amidships caused the admiral's pennant again to withdraw. At 3.30 p.m. twelve of the enemy's barges came on the Carolina Shoals, about one mile to the right of the mound, apparently to sound a passage for barges. It was a bold act, but the enemy pad for their temerity. A few shots from Battery Buchanan, the naval command under Lieutenant Chapman, first cut the flag from a barge and then cut the barge in two, causing the whole to retreat rapidly. The enemy made o attempt to pass the bar, and the firing was even slower and more deliberate than on the previous day, only 600 shots being expended. Occasionally the fire of the or sea face was directed on a single ship, and it never failed to drive her out, at least for a while. One frigate, more stubborn than the rest, received six large Blakely rifle


*See p.1008.