a southeasterly direction to an impenetrable swamp in the direction of "Flag Pond Battery" on the right, and pickets were thrown out, connecting with the picket of Brevet Brigadier-General Curtis' brigade on the right. About 11 o'clock I received orders to withdraw my command and take up a new line, which was accomplished by moving the Second Brigade down the ocean beach and the Third Brigade down the river beach to the point designated, the original picket remaining in its position until the new line was partially completed.
On the 14th a small party was sent down the river beach to reconnoiter, and succeeded in capturing a small steamer with a barge in town, ladened with forage and ammunition for Fort Fisher. The prisoners captured were forwarded same day to headquarters. On the 15th, while the assault upon Fort Fisher was in progress, after Colonel Abbott's brigade had moved down from the north line, I received orders to send another regiment, and sent the Twenty-seventh Regiment, Brevet Brigadier-General Blackman commanding. Subsequently, pursuant to orders from headquarters, the remainder of the Third Brigade of this division, Colonel Wright commanding. Subsequently, pursuant to orders from headquarters, the remainder of the Third Brigade of this division, Colonel Wright commanding,was withdrawn from this line and ordered to report at Fort Fisher, leaving the Second Brigade and some marines and seamen to hold this line. About the time the assault upon Fort Fisher commenced the enemy advanced a strong skirmish line at the double-quick along my entire front, evidently with a view to carry the picket-line and create a diversion in favor of the garrison of Fisher. He succeeded in driving back two or three posts held by the white troops toward my right, and occupied their pits for a time. The pickets of my division held their ground resolutely. The original exception of the Twenty-seventh Regiment, reported back to me about midnight, and was placed in its original position on the line.
On the 16th Brevet Brigadier-General Abbott's brigade resumed its position on my right, relieving the detachment of marines.
January 18 Colonel J. W. Ames, with the Fourth, Sixth, and Thirtieth Regiments of his brigade (the Second) and the division sharpshooters, made a reconnaissance in my front toward Wilmington. He drove in the enemy's pickets and obtained a view of the enemy's main line on the left, but did not succeed in developing their line on the right. He returned with the loss of 1 man killed and 1 wounded.
On the 19th Colonel Ames, with his entire brigade and the division sharpshooters, made a second reconnaissance on center and left. Brevet Brigadier-General Abbott, with a portion of his brigade, moved from the right on the beach in search of the enemy's left and rear. He succeeded in developing the entire line of the enemy, and returned with the loss of 1 man killed and 2 officers and 10 men wounded from my division. Brevet Brigadier-General Abbott captured 2 officers and 51 men, and returned with a loss of 2 officers and 9 men wounded and 2 missing.
The enemy's line was found to be quite a strong infantry breast-work, defended from approach by abatis in places; swamps elsewhere, running apparently from Sugar Loaf half a mile to a mile down the river bank; thence easterly toward Myrtle Sound; thence northeast along the sound; well manned; no artillery was discovered. What fortifications there are on Sugar Loaf could not be ascertained.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHAS. J. PAINE,
Captain A. TERRY,