number of prisoners, then pushing forward to their left, the two brigades together drove the enemy from about one-quarter of the land face. Ames then brought up Bell's brigade and moved it between the work and the river. On this side there was no regular parapet, but there was abundance of cover afforded to the enemy by cavities from which sand had been taken for the parapet, the ruins of barracks and storehouses, the large magazine, and by traverses behind which they stubbornly resisted our advance. Hand-to-hand fighting of the most desperate character ensued, the huge traverse of the land face being used successively by the enemy as breast-works, over the tops of which the contending parties fired in each other's faces. Nine of these were carried, one after the other, by our men.
When Bell's brigade was ordered into action I foresaw that more troops would probably be needed, and sent an order for Abbott's brigade to move down from the north line, at the same time requesting Captain Breese to replace them with his sailors and marines. I also directed General Paine to send me one of the strongest regiments of his own division; these troops arrived at dusk and reported to General Ames. At 6 o'clock Abbott's brigade went into the fort, the regiment from Paine's division, the Twenty-seventh U. S. Colored Troops, Bvt. Brigadier General A. M. Blackman commanding, was brought up to the rear of the work, where it remained under fire for some time and was then withdrawn. Until 6 o'clock the fire of the navy continued upon that portion of the work not occupied by us. After that time it was directed on the beach, to prevent the coming up of re-enforcement which it was thought might possibly be thrown over from the right bank of the river to Battery Buchanan. The fighting for the traverses continued till nearly 9 o'clock, two more of them being carried; then a portion of Abbott's brigade drove the enemy from their last remaining strongholds, and the occupation of the work was completed. The same brigade, with General Blackman's regiment, were immediately pushed down the point to Battery Buchanan, whither many of the garrison had fled. On reaching the battery all of the enemy who had not been previously captured were made prisoners; among them were Major-General Whiting, and Colonel Lamb, the commandant of the fort.
At about 4 o'clock in the afternoon Hoke advanced against our north line, apparently with the design of attacking it, but if such was his intention, he abandoned it after a skirmish with our pickets. During the day Bvt. Brigadier General H. L. Abbott, chief of artillery, was busily engaged in landing artillery and ammunition, so that if the assault failed siege operations might at once be commenced. Consequent to the fall of Fisher the enemy, during the night of the 16th and 17th, blew up Fort Caswell, and abandoned both it and their very extensive works on Smith's Island, at Smithville and Reeves' Point, thus placing in our hands all the works erected to defend the month of the Cape Fear River.
In all works were found 169 pieces of artillery, nearly all of which are heavy, over 200 stand of small-arms, considerable quantities of commissary stores, and full supplies of ammunition. Our prisoners numbered 112 commissioned officers and 1,971 enlisted men.
I have no words to do justice to the behavior of both officers and men on this occasion; all that men could do, they did. Better soldiers never fought. Of General Ames I have already spoken in a letter recommending his promotion. He commanded all the troops engaged, and wa constantly under fire. His great coolness, good judgment, and skill were never more conspicuous than in this assault. Brigadier-