War of the Rebellion: Serial 095 Page 0418 N. AND SE. VA., N. C., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LVIII.

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Numbers 12. Report of Colonel Rufus Daggett, One hundred and seventeenth New York Infantry, commanding First Brigade, on operations January 13-15.


Near Fort Fisher, N. C., January 17, 1865.

SIR: In obedience to orders, I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by this brigade in the storming of Fort Fisher:

This brigade, under command of Brevet Brigadier-General Curtis, landed about 9.30 a. m. on the 13th instant, at a point about five miles north of Fort Fisher, and at 3.30 p. m., advanced up the beach and formed in rear of Flag Pond Battery, facing Wilmington, and on the right of General Paine's division, where it remained until about 11 p. m., when, by order of General Terry, it followed General Paine's division to a point some three-quarters of a mile nearer Fort Fisher and entrenched in rear of Half Moon Battery, where it remained until about 3 p. m. the following day. At that hour the brigade was ordered under arms, and proceeded toward Fort Fisher, following the coast for some half a mile and then striking across the point to the river side. When about half way from Half Moon Battery to Pilotsville the brigade was halted, and the One hundred and seventeenth New York Volunteers, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Meyer, was ordered forward as skirmishers, and moved to Pilotsville, where it halted, and vedettes were thrown forward as far as the outwork in front of Fort Fisher. In the meantime the brigade, being exposed to a galling fire from a rebel gun-boat stationed in the river opposite Pilotsville, by which 1 officer and 5 men were wounded, was retired behind the sand hills and moved up by squads under cover of the woods. At sundown the whole command was massed in rear of Pilotsville, and commenced at once to intrench themselves against the fire from the fort and gun-boat, which, although well directed, failed to injure a single man in the command. During the night the One hundred and forty-second New York Volunteers were pushed forward as far as outwork, and ordered to intrench themselves and dig a rifle-pit from the work toward the coast, and at the same time the skirmishers were advanced to within 150 yards of the sallyport of Fort Fisher. Soon after daylight the enemy opened on the skirmishers with musketry, but without much effect, and did not prevent them from establishing a line of pits completely covering the land face of the fort. The troops lay in this position until about 10 p. m., continually enlarging and advancing the line of pits for the purpose of covering the assaulting column. At that hour the troops were got under arms and advanced to the rear line of pits in the following order: The one hundred and seventeenth New York Volunteers, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Meyer, on the right; Third New York Volunteers, under Lieutenant Behan, joining them on the left; the One hundred and twelfth New York Volunteers, under command of Colonel J. F. Smith, on the extreme left, and the One hundred and forty-second New York Volunteers, under Lieutenant Colonel A. M. Barley, between the Third and One hundred and twelfth New York Volunteers.

At about 3 p. m.(General Curtis having received orders to that effect from General Ames, through Captain Lawrence) the brigade advanced to the charge, obliquining to the right, so as to strike the sally port (that having been deemed the only vulnerable point of the work), and after a desperate struggle the advance of the brigade reached the parapet of the fort and scalled it to the first traverse, where the guidon of the