War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 1021 Chapter LIV. OPERATIONS AGAINST FORT FISHER, N.C.

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Sugar Loaf. I rode in advance and reached this place at 1 p.m. My brigade, much jaded, arrived at 4.30 p.m. I found Colonel Connally, with 1,200 men of the Junior and Senior Reserves; Lieutenant-Colonel Read, of the artillery, with Southerland's battery, a Whitworth of Paris' battery, and a 32-pounder gun in position at Battery Gatlin. I assumed command of the whole. I rode to the beach and found a large fleet of heavy steam frigates, corvettes, gun-boats, iron-clads, and transports in line of battle stretching from opposite Gatlin to Fisher. Shortly after the enemy opened heavily upon Fisher and commenced shelling the beach and woods along their front. Colonel Connally had posted a company in the works near Gatlin to support the section of artillery near Burris' house and a corporal with gun detachment to work the 32-pounder in Gatlin. When the troops of my brigade came up I made the following dispositions: Major Davis, with 100 men of the Sixty-sixth North Carolina Regiment, I sent to the works near Gatlin and Burris' house to prevent a landing there. I put the Forty-second North Carolina Regiment in position on a prolongation of the sea front of the Sugar Loaf works and directed Colonel Brown to intrench himself and if possible to stretch his line to Burris' to connect with Major Davis. Captain Koonts, with Company A, Forty-second North Carolina (about eighty men), I sent to Battery Anderson with orders to repel the enemy if they attempted to land there. Lieutenant-Colonel Sharp, with the Seventeenth North Carolina Regiment, was directed to go down the road toward Fisher and Anderson and support Koonts. Shorlty after Sharp was posted I received an order from Major-General Whiting to sent the Junior Reserves and 500 men of my brigade into Fort Fisher. I sent the former and the Seventeenth Regiment. During the night all of Connally's men were ordered off. The night passed quietly.

Early on the morning of the 25th I rode to the beach near Gatlin and discovered the fleet again forming line. The appearance of the transports off that point and the fact that several ships came to anchor convinced me that a landing would be attempted at Gatlin. I directed Lieutenant-Colonel Read to put his guns in position and annoy them as much as he could. A furious bombardment against Fisher and along the beach from that fort to Gatlin was now commenced. Remaining there several hours and finding they did not lower any boats opposite to that point I thought proper to gallop down to Anderson and see how matters were going there. When I had passed half the distance I heard a deafening cheer from the fleet and in a moment after a courier dashed up and informed me the enemy had suddenly dropped their launches opposite Anderson, pulled to the shore, firing shrapnel from their boat howitzers as they came, landed, and captured Captain Koonts and his company. This occurred, as well as I remember, about 1 p.m. I immediately moved down the military road with the Seventeenth Regiment (Lieutenant-Colonel Sharp), which had returned from Fort Fisher about 10 a.m. Arriving near the battery, I caused Captain T. J. Norman's company (G) to be deployed as skirmishers, and directed Colonel Sharp to follow with the main body and attack the enemy, but a closer reconnaissance showed me the enemy in line on the beach far overlapping both my flanks, so I had no alternative but to deploy the whole regiment regiments as skirmishers. Even with this extended order of battle there was an interval of at least a mile between the Seventeenth and Forty-second Regiments. As well as I could judge, I considered the force now on the beach at least three brigades, and others landing all the while. As soon as Sharp's line was deployed I ordered the advance. Norman's company being in front soon encountered