War of the Rebellion: Serial 088 Page 0732 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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SEPTEMBER 10, 1864.

Respectfully forwarded to Lieutenant-General Grant.


Major-General and Chief of Staff.


NEW YORK, September 6, 1864.

Project for effectually closing the port of Wilmington, N. C., To blockade-runners.

There are two ship channels into Cape Fear River, viz, the southern entrance between Oak and Smith's Islands, and New Inlet Channel between Zeeks' Island and Federal Point. The southern entrance is defended by Fort Caswell and a powerful unclosed battery at A on nearly completed at C on Smith's Island. At Fort Caswell the armament has been placed on the glaces, which has been raised to protect the masonry of the work. The work at A is about one mile from Fort One channel runs very near A, as well as to Fort Caswell; another passes near Bald Head Point, connecting with the first abreast of Fort Oak Island is separated from the mainland by a marsh which affords a good defense. The island is not occupied by the enemy, so far as we know, west of A. It is heavily covered with live oak and undergrowth the island west of A. Lockwood's Folly Inlet, at the west and, formerly had five to six feet of water in the channel defense looking toward Fort Caswell and others toward the sea, all overlooked by works were not completed, although in progress one month ago. Guns are probably in position there now.

No batteries have ever been seen between Bald Head and Cape Fear except field pieces, which are sometimes run out upon the beach to cover one mile this beach is obstructed by trees. The remaining three mile to Cape Fear is hard, smooth, and open, and in sill weather or even during the prevalence of easterly, northeasterly, northerly, and westerly winds, is well sheltered and affords a good and safe place to disembark troops. The south end of Smith's Island for about one mile in width along the shore is covered with dense wood and undergrowth. The balance of the island to the north as far as Zeeks' Island is merely a narrow strip of sand fronting on the ocean and separated from the channel of Cape Fear River by impracticable [sic] and marshes. Troops could be disembarked on the east or sea front of Smith's Island during the prevalence of south westerly or westerly winds. At low dry, or so nearly so that the two islands are practicably one.

The New Inlet entrance is defended by several batteries on Federal Point and by a small work on Zeek's Island. The Federal Point works comprise Fort Fisher, which is a strong inclosed work with five of six