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HDQRS. DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, No. 17. Wilmington, December 29, 1864. The commanding general desires to congratulate the officers and men engaged in the recent operations near this place on their successful termination. One of the most formidable expeditions yet organized by the enemy-an imposing force of veteran troops supported by a fleet carrying over 500 guns-has accomplished no other object than a fruitless landing on a barren coast, followed in forty-eight hours by a hasty re-embarkation. This auspicious result is due, under a merciful Providence, to the skill of Major-General Whiting, who planned the defenses at the mouth of the Cape Fear; to the gallantry and endurance of Colonel Lamb, and the brave garrison of Fort Fisher under his immediate command, worthily seconded by Lieutenant Chapman, of the Navy, and his devoted seamen, serving Battery Buchanan, and the steady coolness with which Brigadier-General Kirkland, with a part of his brigade, checked the advance of vastly superior numbers of the enemy. Thus another gigantic effort of a powerful enemy has come to naught, but not without affording us profitable lessons. The successful defense of Fort Fisher against one of the most formidable naval armaments of modern times proves that the superiority of land batteries over ships of war, at one time threatened by the improvements in artillery and ship armor, has been re-established by the genius of the engineer; and the weaker party on the defensive may still defy the greater numbers and mechanical resources of an arrogant invader. Let us hope that the check which the enemy has received at the mouth of the Cape Fear may prove the harbinger of a renewed series of Confederate victories.

By order of General Bragg:

Assistant Adjutant-General.

January 1, 1865.

Major-General WHITING, Comdg. Third District, Wilmington: GENERAL: On page 5 of your report appears the following sentence: Early in the afternoon (26th) we received the welcome message from Major-General Hoke announcing his arrival at Sugar Loaf; that communication would shortly be restored, and that he would support.

This is a slight error, which will conflict with the report of the commanding general, and he desires to recall the facts to your mind. Major-General Hoke reached Sugar Loaf about 8 p. m., nearly twelve hours after Brigadier-General Kirkland had ordered the movement which opened communication with you, and the message received by you was sent by the commanding general.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Lieut. Col. A. ANDERSON,

A. ANDERSON, Assistant Adjutant-General.


Wilmington, January 1, 1865.

Asst. Adjt. Gen., Hdqrs. Department of North Carolina COLONEL: If the general commanding will return my report for a few moments I will make the desired correction. As I myself received


no written message (intelligence alluded to having been repeated to me verbally), I presume the error arose in the repeating or on the part of the officer receiving. Colonel Lamb has requested me to correct some few verbal errors of slight importance he has pointed out. Please also to return that for correction.

Very respectfully,




Wilmington, January 1, 1865.

Lieut. Col. A. ANDERSON, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Hdqrs. Department of North Carolina: COLONEL: I return the report herewith, with the correction and my thanks for indicating the error. I have also taken occasion to change the figures one and one-quarter to one in the estimate of the distance of the monitors on the second day. This solely from examination of sketches, with soundings, which shows they might have come that near. I am endeavoring to locate the fleet on the sketch, and if the general desires will have a sketch made to accompany the report, showing the point of landing, &c.

Very respectfully,


No. 10.

Report of Brig. Gen. Louis Hébert, C. S. Army, commanding Defenses Mouth of Cape Fear River.


Smithville, January 3, 1865.

MAJOR: I have the honor to transmit the report of Col. William Lamb of the attack of the enemy on Fort Fisher and Confederate Point, commencing on the 24th of December, and terminating by the withdrawal of the enemy during the night of the 26th to 27th of December, 1864.

Although the point attacked is within my command, I was compelled to remain at my headquarters by the order of Maj. Gen. W. H. C. Whiting, who himself repaired and remained at Fort Fisher. My absence from the fort makes it sufficient for me to merely forward Colonel Lamb's report with but few remarks.

Between the 21st and 26th of December, by direction of the general and major-general commanding, I sent from my other posts ammunition and troops as rapidly as transportation would allow. I was finally reduced to two companies on Smith's Island, four on Oak Island, one at Smithville, all small companies. Fortunately, the enemy confined themselves to the attack on Confederate Point.

I have made a thorough inspection of Fort Fisher. Everything indicates that the bombardment was probably the most terrific the world ever saw, and yet the fort is as fit to fight now as before. A few guns, a few carriages, a patching up of sods, and Fort Fisher will not show signs that it was attacked. The result is that it is now known that earth-works can resist the powerful U. S. Navy.

Everybody present commends the conduct of officers and men. I necessarily cannot call attention to individuals. This is left to others who were witnesses of the fight. I will only name Colonel Lamb, who has been the immediate constructor of the fort, who has for many months been preparing it for the awful trial. No one doubted that he would fight his fort with intelligence, with gallantry, and to the last. He has not disappointed any one.

I accompany this with a list of the casualties.

I am, major, respectfully, your obedient servant,

Maj. J. H. HILL,


A. A. G., Third Mil. Dist., Dept. North Carolina, Wilmington.


List of casualties at Fort Fisher in the action of December 24 and 25, 1864.

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Report of Maj. William J. Saunders, C. S. Artillery, Chief of Artillery.


OFFICE CHIEF OF ARTILLERY, Smithville, N. C., December 27, 1864. CAPTAIN: I have the honor very respectfully to report that in compliance with the order of the brigadier-general commanding on the morning of the 24th instant I proceeded to Fort Fisher, then menaced with an attack from a fleet of the enemy, which since the morning of the 20th instant had been gathering and maneuvering off the New Inlet of this harbor, the enemy's fleet being drawn up in two columns on the left, front, and right of the fort. They numbered, all told, fifty-two vessels, mounting, as per newspaper reports, 578 guns of all calibers. After inspecting the guns at the Mound Battery I proceeded down the line toward the left or land face of the fort and reported to the commandant, who requested that I would take my place as chief of artillery of the command. The enemy's fire seemed principally directed toward the redan battery, mounting an 8-inch columbiad and 8-inch Blakely rifle gun, but their fire was by no means confined to this point. The positions of the vessels of the fleet were as follows: The Ironsides occupying a position opposite to and a mile from the center of the sea face of the fort; one double turreted monitor and two single turreted monitors a fourth of a mile in rear, and an eighth to a fourth of a mile nearer to the fort, extending in a line up the beach, so as to enfilade and confront the land face of the fort. A large frigate was beyond the line of the leading monitor and immediately opposite the Mound Battery, occupying a position three-fourths to one mile farther out. Two other frigates of the same class occupied positions in the same juxtaposition to the sea face of the fort and in a line extending up the beach. The other vessels of the fleet appeared to be in no positive position. The effect of their


fire, beyond the burning of the quarters and the knocking down of a brick building used as headquarters of the fort, was productive of little injury. One 8-inch columbiad, No. 17, entirely, and one other 8-inch columbiad, No. 16, and a 10-inch columbiad, No. 19, carriages partially injured, were the results of this day's firing. Two guns, one 8-inch columbiad, No. 25, and a 10-inch columbiad, No. 20, were dismounted by their own action.

The action was reported to me as having commenced at 12.40 p. m. and closed at 5.30 p. m. A careful inspection of the guns of the seaface batteries during the attack exhibited a practice on the part of the officers and men of the detachments in charge not exceeded by veteran troops. As there was no ordnance officer in the fort I took charge of and directed the work of the very efficient ordnance corps.

I cannot speak too highly of the services of these men, as evidenced in the remounting of guns and filling and distribution of ordnance stores and general repair of damages to the carriages during the night of the 24th instant. I would particularly mention Ordnance-Sergeant Long and Sergeant Jones, of the Thirty-sixth Regiment.

The guns of the fort were fired with great deliberation, 672 projectiles of all classes being expended. The effects of their fire, as far as observed, was injurious to the enemy, several vessels being seen to withdraw out of range and unquestionably from injuries inflicted, among these a frigate bearing a flag at the fore.

On the [morning] of the 25th instant at 9.10 the fleet was again in motion and bearing down to the scene of the previous day's conflict. Their relative position was the same, with the difference that the larger number took position so as to fire on the land face of the fort, their lines of approach being (if the term and figure may be correctly used) in echelon, the Ironsides leading. The position of a double-turreted monitor immediately off the redan enabled us to bring a 10-inch columbiad, No. 27, and an 8-inch columbiad, No. 25, on her, but we could not be said to have affected her fire in any way. During this day's fight the guns of the fort were fired with even greater deliberation than the day previous, 602 projectiles being fired, but the effect of the enemy's fire upon the armament of the fort was more severe.

For particulars of both days' injuries I beg to refer to my regular monthly report, as also for the effect of our practice on the enemy to my report of artillery firing for the month.

I cannot speak too highly of the skill displayed in working of the guns and the coolness of the officers and detachments serving them under this furious bombardment of the enemy, particularly as they (the enemy) at no time threw other projectiles than shells, and in numbers ranging, from accurate observation, from twenty-two to fifty-seven per minute.

If not out of place in this report, I would beg particularly to call attention to the able management of the armament of his fort by the colonel commanding, as also to the skill displayed by that splendid artillerist, Maj. James Reilly, of Tenth Regiment North Carolina Troops.

I would also mention the service of a light piece at the sally-port against the attempted assault of the enemy on the evening of the 25th instant by Capt. John M. Sutton, of the Third Battalion North Carolina Troops. The ready gallantry of this officer was of inestimable service in repelling the attack.

To Captain Hunter and his officers of the Thirty-sixth Regiment North Carolina Troops, and Captain Walsh, of the Tenth Regiment

North Carolina Troops, great praise is due in the service of the guns of their batteries, exhibiting the skill of artillerists and the coolness and deliberation so essential to effect in artillery practice.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. J. SAUNDERS, Major and Chief of Artillery.

Capt. W. D. HARDEMAN, Assistant Adjutant-General.

No. 12.

Reports of Col. William Lamb, Thirty-sixth North Carolina Regiment (Second North Carolina Artillery), commanding Fort Fisher.


Fort Fisher, N. C., December 24, 1864-6 p. m.

I have the honor to report, by telegraph, that the enemy's fleet, consisting of over fifty vessels, including two monitors, several armored vessels, and a large proportion of heavily-armed frigates and sloops of war, commenced a furious bombardment of Fort Fisher at 12.40 p.m., which they kept up until 5.30 p. m., when they withdrew. They took position from opposite Howard's Hill to opposite the mound, thus enfilading our land face and our camp. They destroyed about one-half our quarters, including headquarters. They damaged, more or less, some of our parapets and traverses, but no part of the work was greatly injured, except in front of Blakely gun, on right of the northeast salient. They disabled one 10-inch carriage, one 8-inch carriage, and two 32-pounder carriages. The 10-inch in the pulpit and the S-inch in the left of the northeast salient were dismounted by recoil; they will be mounted to-night.

The casualties were as follows: Wounded, 1 mortally, 3 severely, and 19 slightly; total, 23; viz, 2 commissioned officers (Lieut. Matthew Washington Pridgen, Company H, Thirty-sixth Regiment, and Passed Midshipman Clarence Cary, C. S. Navy), both slightly; 3 non-commissioned officers, 16 privates, 2 seamen.

The garrison flag was shot away and the staff cut down. Battle-flags were raised as soon as possible on the mound and on the left flank. The officers, soldiers, and seamen all did their whole duty, and are entitled to the thanks of their countrymen.

As the enemy attempted no passage of the bar, and staid out at long range with the exception of their iron-clads, I fired very slowly and deliberately. I am unable to know what damage was done them, but I am certain the injury inflicted upon them far exceeds the injury their bombardment did us. Our Heavenly Father has protected my garrison this day, and I feel that He will sustain us in defending our homes from the invader.

Major HILL, Assistant Adjutant-General.

WM. LAMB, Colonel, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS CONFEDERATE POINT, Fort Fisher, N. C., December 27, 1864. Tuesday morning, December 20, a Federal fleet commenced gathering off New Inlet. Rough weather prevailed until Saturday, December 24, when the weather was beautiful and the sea as calm as a lake. At noon the fleet weighed anchor and advanced in one line toward the fort, the Ironsides leading. At 12.40 p. m. the Ironsides opened and

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