Ames; the same number from the Third Division of the Twenty-fifth Army Corps, under command of Brigadier General Charles J. Paine; 1,400 men from the Second Brigade of the First Division of the Twenty-fourth Army Corps, under Colonel (now brevet brigadier-general) J. C. Abbott, Seventh New Hampshire Volunteers; the Sixteenth New York Independent Battery, with four 3-inch guns, and Light Battery E, Third U. S. Artillery, with six light 12-pounder guns. I was instructed to move them from their positions in the lines on the north side of the James River to Bermuda Landing in time to commence their embarkation on transport vessels at sunrise on the 4th instant. In obedience to these orders the movement commenced at noon of the 3rd instant. The troops arrived at the landing at sunset, and there bivouacked for the night. The transports did not arrive as soon as they were expected. The first of them made its appearance late in the afternoon of the 4th. One of them, the Atlantic, was of too heavy draught to come up the James. Curtis' brigade, of Ames' division, was, therefore, placed on river steamboats and sent down the river to be transferred to her.
The embarkation of the remainder of the force commenced at sunset of the 4th, and was completed at noon of the 5th instant. Each vessel, as soon as it was loaded, was sent to Fort Monroe, and at 9 p.m. of the 5th the whole fleet was collected in Hampton Roads. The troops were all in heavy marching order, with four days' rations, from the morning of the 4th, in their haversacks, and forty rounds of ammunition in their boxes. No horses, wagons, or ambulances were taken; the caissons of the artillery were left behind but, in addition to the ammunition in the limber chests, 150 rounds per gun in packing boxes were embarked. I went down the river personally with the lieutenant-general, and on the way received from him additional instructions and the information that orders had been given for the embarkation of a siege train, to consist of twenty 30-pounder Parrott guns, four 100-pounder Parrotts, and twenty Coehorn mortars, with a detail of artillerists and a company of engineers, so that in case siege operations should become necessary the men and material for it might be at hand. These troops, under the command of Bvt. Brigadier General H. L. Abbott, were to follow me to Beaufort, N. C., and await orders. It was not until this time that I was informed that Fort Fisher was the point against which we were to operate.
During the evening of the 5th orders were given for the transports to proceed to sea at 4 o'clock the next morning, and accompanying these orders were sealed letters to be opened when off Cape Henry, directing them to rendezvous, in case of separation from the flag-ship, at a point twenty-five miles off Beaufort, N. C. The vessels sailed at the appointed hour.
During the 6th instant a severe storm arose, which so much impeded our progress that it was not until the morning of the 8th that my own vessel arrived at the rendezvous; all the others, excepting the flag-ship of General Paine, were still behind. Leaving Brigadier-General Paine to assemble the other vessels as they should arrive, I went into Beaufort Harbor to communicate with Rear-Admiral Porter, commanding the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, with whose fleet the forces under my command were destined to co-operate.
During the 8th nearly all of the vessels arrived at the rendezvous; some of them required repairs to their hulls damaged by the gale; some repairs to their machinery; others needed coal or water. These vessels were brought into the harbor or to the outer anchorage where their wants were supplied; all the others remained, until the final sailing of