There exists, I think, much misapprehension in the public mind concerning the first attack on Fort Fisher
, at the mouth of the Cape Fear
by National land and naval forces, late in December, 1864.
I was an eye and ear witness of that event, and several months afterwards I visited the ruined for with a citizen of Wilmington
, who was familiar with the facts on the Confederate
, on the Cape Fear river
, almost thirty miles from the sea, was, for a long time, the chief goal of the British blockade-runners, which brought supplies for the Confederates
These were swift-moving steam-vessels, of medium size, with raking smoke-stacks, and painted a pale gray, or fog-color.
They were almost invisible, even in a slight mist on the ocean, and they continually eluded the vigilance and the power of the active and watchful blockading squadron on the coast of North Carolina
To protect these supply-ships, and to prevent National vessels from entering the Cape Fear river
, forts and batteries had been constructed by the Confederates
on the borders of the sea, at the mouth of that stream.
The chief of these defenses was Fort Fisher
, a formidable earthwork of an irregular quadrilateral trace, with exterior sides, of an average of about two hundred and fifty yards. Its northeastern angle, which was nearest the sea, approached high-water mark within one hundred yards. From that salient to the water was a strong stockade, or wooden palisade.
The land-face of the fort occupied the whole width of the cape, known as Federal Point
It mounted twenty-six guns, nineteen of which were in a position