anything to do with the troops from General Lee's army. I consequently repaired to Fort Fisher as the place where my own sense of duty called me.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. H. C. WHITING,
Major-General (prisoner of war).
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding Armies Confederate States.
HOSPITAL, FORT COLUMBUS, GOVERNOR'S ISLAND,
New York Harbor, February 19, 1865.
The above is an exact copy of the dispatch dictated to Major-General in the hospital at Fort Fisher (and preserved in his note book) on the 18th of January, 1865, and which I intended to have endeavored to forward at that time by flag of truce, and accordingly made a request of General Terry. On his reply that it would be necessary to refer it to Lieutenant-General Grant, I concluded to postpone the report. I wish to add a few remarks upon the difference between the two attacks, and also give some information which I have acquired. Had the enemy assaulted the work on the first attack, he could have been beaten off with great slaughter. The fire of the fleet on that occasion, though very severe and formidable, was very diffuse and scattered, seemingly more designated to render a naval entrance secure than a land attack, consequently our defense was but slightly damaged. We had nineteen guns bearing on the assault, and above all, the palisade was almost as good as new. Moreover, the fleet, during the first bombardment, hauled off at night, leaving the garrison time for rest, cooking, and refreshment. It is remarkable that during the first bombardment no gun's crew was ever driven from its guns; but on the 13th and 14th of January the fleet stationed itself with the definite object of destroying the land defense by direct and enfilade fire, the latter a few d'enfilement to knock down the traverses, destroying all guns, and pound the northeast salient into a practicable slope for the assaulting column. By 12 m. Sunday not a gun remained on the land front. The palisade was entirely swept away, the mines in advance, so deeply did the enemy's shot plough, were isolated from the wires and could not be used. Not a man could show his head i that infernal storm, and I could only keep a lookout in the safest position to inform me of the movements of the enemy. Contrary to previous practice, the fleet kept up the fire all night. Cooking was impracticable. The men, in great part, in Fisher at the second attack were not those of the first, and were much more demoralized. the casualties were greater, with but one ration for three days. Such was the condition when the parapets were manned on the enemy's ceasing firing for assault.
As soon as a lodgment was made at Shepherd's battery, on the left, the engineers at once threw up a strong covering work in rear of Fisher, and no effort of ours against overwhelming numbers could dislodge them.
Then was the time for the supporting force, which was idly looking on only three miles off, which could see the columns on the beach, to have made an attack upon the rear of the assaulting columns; at any rate, to have tried to save Fort Fisher, while the garrison had hurled one assaulting column, crippled, back, and were engaged for six hours with 5,000 men vigorously assaulting it.