War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 1302 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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powers will be exerted to their fullest extent. I fear but little will be received from sea, such reports having gone out from Charleston as will deter vessels from making the attempt. Wind off land, with a calm sea this morning. The fleet still in position and no disposition evinced to attack on the land. One brigade arrived last night. One of the enemy's vessels in a bold pursuit, last night, was grounded abandoned, and blown up.

BRAXTON BRAGG.

(Copy sent to the President.)

WILMINGTON, N. C., December 24, 1864 - 10 p. m.

Lieutenant Colonel W. H. TAYLOR,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

The bombardment of Fort Fisher was kept up by some fifty vessels, including two monitors, until after sunset, when the enemy withdrew. Our casualties were twenty-three wounded, including two officers. Damage to works and armament slight.

BRAXTON BRAGG.

DECEMBER 24, 1864.

SECRETARY OF WAR:

I send you this as commander department for information. From Charlotte to West bar, 622, effective; this includes Caswell and Campbell, on Oak Island; each ought to be 800. Smith's Island, 725; Pender's, 40; Smithville, 144 reserves; Fisher, including Gatlin, 942; lines twenty-three miles west, 58; city, 510; Masonborough, 618 reserves. Please refer to Colonel Harris, who knows position and development of works. All these, except city and Masonborough, are far apart and cannot aid each other. During last ten days 140 reserves have come in. Fisher alone should have 2,200. Supporting force, nothing.

BRAXTON BRAGG,

General.

HEADQUARTERS THIRD MILITARY DISTRICT,

December 24, 1864.

General BRAGG,

Commanding:

Flag-Officer Pinckney goes up this evening in the Chickamauga. Both he and I consider it essential that the Rips be obstructed and at once. I gave orders to-day before I left to the engineer to send down at once what obstructions we have. I depended on placing a steamer. The Arctic is given to us for that purpose, though by no means so effective as what I desired. Please to give every authority in your power to send the Arctic by to-morrow morning, to be placed on the Rips as an obstruction. I send this by the courtesy of Flag-Officer Pinckney. If they do not attack us to-night we will be well. I have directed Connally's force and 500 men from Kirkland as supports to-night. Very little damage done, although fire very heavy.

Very respectfully,

W. H. C. WHITING,

Major-General.