HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES,
Fort Fisher, N. C., January 21, 1865.
Pursuant to the foregoing order, the court assembled, and, all the members being present, was dully organized.
The prescribed oath was administered to the court by the recorder, and the recorder was sworn by the president.
Lieutenant Colonel SAMUEL M. ZENT, Thirteenth Indiana Volunteers, being duly sworn, deposed as follows:
I do not know of my own knowledge, but was told by Private Elisha. Powers, Company C, Thirteenth Indiana Volunteers, that just previous to the explosion men were seen going into the magazine. As soon as the fort was captured I was ordered by Colonel Alden, One hundred and sixty-ninth New York Volunteers, commanding Third Brigade, to guard all the magazines; but this one, being inside, escaped my notice, and had no guard from my regiment.
By the COURT:
Question. Where was you regiment stationed?
Answer. On the north face of the fort, between the parapet and palisade.
Question. Where was the entrance of the magazine at which these men went in?
Answer. I understood there were two entrances; I do not know which the men were seen to enter.
Question. Were you near when the explosion took place?
Answer. I was; I was making the rounds.
Question. Can you form any opinion as to where the explosion commenced?
Answer. I cannot.
Question. Were there several detached magazines?
Answer. There were not; it was one guard explosion.
Question. Did you have any of the magazines guarded?
Answer. I did; also except this one, which I had not yet discovered.
Question. Where were the guarded magazines situated?
Answer. Under the traverses or mounds connected with the bomb-proofs.
Question. How many guards were placed to these magazines?
Answer. Three to each; there were thirty-one contrances.
Question. Did the explosion of the main magazine communicate into any service magazine?
Answer. It did into.
Question. At what hour did the explosion occur?
Answer. About 9 a. m.; possibly later.
Question. Were there fires in the interior of the fort between the magazine and bomb-proof?
Answer. There were not; the fires were outside, south of the magazine.
Question. How near were the fires to the magazine?
Answer. I should judge about 100 yards.