front, 400 marines and 1,600 sailors on the east end. After three hours of heavy navy fire the assault was made at 3 p. m. on the 15th. Curtis' brigade led, and, as soon as it got on the west end of the land front, was followed by Pennypacker's and latter by Bell's. After desperate fighting, gaining foot by foot, and severe loss, at 5 p. m. we had possession of about half the land front. Abbott's brigade was then taken from the line facing Wilmington and put into Fort Fisher, and pushing it forward at 10 p. m. it took the rest of the work with but little resistance, the garrison falling back to the extreme point of the peninsula, where they were followed and captured-among others General Whiting and Colonel Lamb, both wounded.
I think we have quite 1,000 prisoners. I hope our own loss may not exceed 500, but it is impossible to judge in the night. Among the wounded are the commanders of the three leading brigades, General Curtis being wounded, not severely, but Colonels Pennypacker and Bell dangerously. The land front was a formidable one, the parapet in placed fifteen or twenty feet high; but the men went at it nobly, under a severe musketry fire. The marines and sailors went up gallantly, but the musketry fire from the east end of land front was so severe that they did not succeed in entering the work. The navy fire on the work, judging from the holes, must have been terrific. Many of the guns were injured. How many there wee on the point I cannot say; perhaps thirty or forty.
C. B. COMSTOCK,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Aide-de-Camp, and Chief of Engineers.
HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES,
Fort Fisher, N. C., January 27, 1865.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of engineer operations in connection with the capture of Fort Fisher, together with a sketch of that work and another of the country in its vicinity:*
Fort Fisher is situated on the peninsula between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean, about a mile and a half northeast of Federal Point. For five miles north of Federal Point this peninsula is sandy and low, not rising more than fifteen feet above high tide, the interior abounding in fresh-water swamps, often wooded and almost impassable, while much of the dry land, till one gets within half a mile of Fort Fisher, is covered with wood or low undergrowth, except a strip about 300 yards wide along the seashore. The landing of the troops composing the expedition was effected on the sea each, about fire miles north of Fort Fisher, on January 12 , and Paine's division was at once pushed across to the Cape Fear River, with instructions to take up a line to beheld against any attack from the direction of Wilmington. This line, on the morning of January 13 , was already defensible and was further strengthened during the day, while on the 14th a second line was laid out and begun, under charge of Lieutenant T. H. Price, in rear of its left. Pioneer companies were organized in Ames' and Paine's divisions, and as during the 14th the fire of the rebel gun-boat Chickamauga killed and wounded a number of our men, Lieutenant O'Keefe, with his company of the Fifteenth Regiment New York Volunteer Engineers, was directed to build a battery for two 30-pounder Parrotts on
*See Plate LXXV, Maps 1 and 2 of the Atlas.