the expedition, from twenty to twenty five miles off the land. The weather continued so unfavorable as to afford no prospect that we would be able to make a landing on the open beach of Federal Point until Wednesday, the 11th. On that day Admiral Porter proposed to start, but at high water there was still so much surf on the bar that the iron-clads and other vessels of heavy draught could not be gotten over it; our departure was, therefore, delayed till the next day.
On the morning tide of the 12th the vessels in the harbor passed out and the whole fleet of naval vessels and transports got under way for this place. As we were leaving, the vessels containing Abbott's command came in sight; orders were sent to them to follow us. We did not arrive off Federal Point until nearly night-fall, consequently, and in accordance with the decision of the admiral, the disembarkation of the troops was not commenced until the next morning. Our subsequent experience fully justified the delay; it would have been extremely difficult to land the men at night.
At 4 a.m. of the 13th the inshore division of naval vessels stood in close to the beach to cover the landing; the transports, followed them, and took positions as nearly as possible in a line parallel to and about 200 yards outside of them. The iron-clads moved down to within range of the fort and opened fire upon it; another division was placed to the northward of the landing-place, so as to protect our men from any attack from the direction of Masonborough Inlet. At 8 o'clock nearly 200 boats, besides steam tugs, were sent from the navy to the transports, and the disembarkation of men, provisions, tools, and ammunition simultaneously commenced.
At 3 p.m. nearly 8,000 men, with three days' rations in their haversacks and forty rounds of ammunition in their boxes, six days' supply of hard bread in bulk, 300,000 additional rounds of small-arm ammunition, and a sufficient number of intrenching tools, had been safely landed. The surf on the beach was still quite high, notwithstanding that the weather had become very pleasant, and owing to it some of the men had their rations and ammunition ruined by water. With this exception, no accident of any kind occurred.
As soon as the troops had commenced landing pickets were thrown out. They immediately encountered outposts of the enemy, and shots were exchanged with them, but no serious engagement occurred. A few prisoners were taken, from whom I learned that Hoke's rebel division, which it was supposed had been sent farther south, was still here, and that it was his outposts which we were meeting.
The first object which I had in view after landing was to throw a strong defensive line across the peninsula, from the Cape Fear River to the sea, facing Wilmington, so as to protect our rear from attack while we should be engaged in operating against Fisher. Our maps indicated that a good position for such a line would be found a short distance above the head of Myrtle Sound, which is a long, shallow piece of water separated from the ocean by a sand spit of about 100 yards in width, and communicates with it by Masonborough Inlet. It was supposed that the right flank of a line at that point would be protected by the sound, and being above its head that we should by it control the beach as far up as the inlet, and thus in case of need be able to land supplies in quiet water there. Our landing place was selected with reference to this idea. An examination made after we landed showed that the sound for a long distance above its head was so shallow as to offer no obstacle to the passage of troops at low tide, and as