lodge him, though we forced him to take down his flag the fire from our most distant guns, our own traverses protecting him from such fire. From this [time] it was a succession of fighting from traverse to traverse, and from line to line, until 9 o'clock at night, when we were overpowered and all resistance ceased.
The fall both of the general and the colonel commanding the fort, one about 4 and the other about 4.30 p. m., had a perceptible effect upon the men, and no doubt hastened greatly the result; but we were overpowered, and no skill or gallantry could have saved the place, after he effected a lodgment, except attack in the rear.
The enemy's loss was very heavy, and so, also, our own. Of the latter, as a prisoner, I have not been able to ascertain.
At 9 p. m. the gallant Major Reilly, who had fought the fort after the fall of his superiors, reported the enemy in possession of the sally-port. The brave Captain Van Benthuysen, of the marines, though himself badly wounded, with a squad of his men picked up the general and colonel and endeavored to make way to Battery Buchanan, followed by the Reily with the remnant of the force. On reaching there it was found to be evacuated; by whose order, or what authority, I know not. No boats were there. The garrison of Fort Fisher had been coolly abandoned to its fate. Nothing was left but to await the approach of the enemy, who took us about 10 p m. Thus fell Fort Fisher after three days' battle, unparalleled in the history of the war. The fleet surpassed its tremendous effort upon the previous attack.
The fort has fallen in precisely the manner indicated so often by myself, and to which your attention has been so frequently called, and in the presence of the ample force provided by you to meet the contingency. The fleet never attempted to enter until after the land force had done its work, and, of course, unless the supporting force played its part, Fort Fisher must have fallen. Making every allowance for the extraordinary vigor and force of the enemy's assault, and the terrific effect of the fire of the fleet upon the garrison, and the continual and incessant enfilanding of the whole point from Battery Buchanan to the fort, thereby preventing to a great extent the movement of my troops, I think that the result might have been avoided, and Fort Fisher still held,if the commanding general had have done his duty. I charge him with is loss; with neglect of duty in this, that he either refused or neglected to carry out every suggestion made to him official communications by me for the disposition of the troops, and especially that he, failing to appreciate the lesson to be derived from previous attempt of Butler, instead of keeping his troops in the position to attack the enemy on his appearance, he moves them twenty miles from the point of landing in spite of repeated warnings. He might have learned from his failure to interrupt either the landing or the embarking of Butler for two days with his troops, though disgraceful enough, would indicate to the enemy that the could have the same security for any future expedition. The previous failure was due to Fort Fisher alone, and future expedition. The previous failure was due to Fort Fisher alone, and not to any of the supporting troops. I charge him further with making no efforts whatever to create a diversion in favor of the beleaguered garrison during the three days' battle, by attacking the enemy, though that was to be expected, since his delay and false disposition allowed the enemy to secure his rear by works, but works of no strength. I desire that a full investigation be had of this matter and these charges which I make; they will be fully borne out by the official records. I have only to add that the commanding general, on learning the approach of the enemy, would give me no orders whatever, and persistently refused from the beginning to allow me to have