War of the Rebellion: Serial 088 Page 0733 Chapter LIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

guns in Haxo casemates; an inclosed work at D, with two guns in Haxo casemates; the Mound Battery, sixty feet high, with three or four guns, also inclosed, and four other batteries between Fisher and the Mound, mounting form three to five guns each. These four batteries, at latest reports, were not inclosed; they are probably so located as to be protected by Fisher, the Mound, and the battery at D. Field guns are sometimes brought out upon the beach north of Fort Fisher to protect blockade-runners. North of Fort Fisher the seashore is quite bold, and troops can be disembarked thee in still weather without great difficulty, and under cover of men-of-war, within 150 or 200 yards from the shore. There are known to be obstructions in Cape Fear Fiver at one point above Fort Caswell, protected by a battery on the west bank. This bank, indeed, favors the establishment of batteries for the defense of the channel.

The foregoing is simply an outline of the most important items of information with regard to the water-defenses of Wilmington down to a period quite recent. numerous interesting details, of greater or less importance, have been omitted. It is believed by naval officers, recently from the Wilmington blockade, that the depth of water in the New Inlet Channel is amply sufficient for the passage of the monitors now off Charleston.


First plan-to be executed with 6,000 men: Capture Zeeks' Island by a surprise at daybreak, and land simultaneously, or soon after daybreak, a force on Smith's Island to hold its narrow sea-front. At the same time, or, at farthest, before the enemy's gun-boats could be brought down the river against Zeeks' Island, the monitors should run by the Federal Point batteries, while the rest of the fleet engaged them. With Zeeks' Island and the narrow part of Smith's Island securely in our possession, and a monitor force in the river, the blockade would be perfect. During the daytime the monitors hold lie near Zeeks' Island, as far off as possible from the west bank of Cape Fear River and the Federal Point batteries-say about 3,000 yards distant form each. At night they could take up such position in the channel as could effectually close it. Should the attempt to capture Zeeks' Island by surprise fail, it still might be taken by siege, provided the monitors got in. But should they fail to enter, Zeeks' Island might not be tenable against the Gun-boats of the enemy, unopposed by any naval force. A knowledge, which we do not now possess, of the interior arrangement of the work there could alone settle this point. As not more than 1,200 or 1,500 men would be necessary to test the practicability or carrying Zeeks' Island by surprise, this latter should be attempted simultaneously with the second plan, leaving a choice between the two to be made at the proper time, if it should be found necessary to abandon either. Indeed, the first plan should be tried if only as a feint in favor of the second. The difficulty of supplying the troops upon an open beach is matter of detail that has been duly considered.

Second plan-to be executed with 12,000 men; part of these to be used against Zeeks' and Smith's Islands in accordance with the first plan: Land the troops on the open beach above Fort Fisher, and at once establish a strongly intrenched line across the peninsula to Cape Fear River. This line would be about three-quarters of a mile long, running through a dense wood. While the troops are landing, the iron-clads should run