to sweep the narrow, sandy cape, on which it stood.
These being exposed to an enfilading fire from ships on the sea, were heavily traversed with sand; the tops of the traverses rising full six feet above the general line of the interior crests, and affording bombproof shelters for the garrison.
At a distance, these traverses had the appearance of a series of mounds.
The slopes of the parapet were well secured by blocks of thick marsh-sods.
The quarters of the men were wooden shanties, just outside the works, and to the north of it. All along the land-front of the fort, and across the cape from the ocean to the river, was a stockade, and on the beach, along the sea-front, were the wrecks of several blockade-runners.
Many torpedoes were planted near each front of the fort.
Near the end of Federal Point
was an artificial hill of sand, about fifty feet in height, called Mound Battery.
On this two heavy columbiads were mounted.
Between Fort Fisher
and this lofty battery was a line of intrenchments, on which were mounted sixteen heavy guns.
These intrenchments ran parallel with the beach.
Back of these, and extending across to the Cape Fear river
, was a line of rifle-pits; and on the shore of the stream, across from Mound Battery, was another artificial sand-hill, thirty feet in height, with four cannon upon it, and named Battery Buchanan.
These constituted the defenses on Federal Point
, and commanded the entrance to the Cape Fear river
by New Inlet
About seven miles southwest from Fort Fisher
, at Smithville
, on the right of the old entrance to the Cape Fear
, was Fort Johnson
; and about a mile south of that was Fort Caswell
The latter and Fort Fisher
were the principal guardians of the port of Wilmington
At Baldhead Point, on Smith's Island
, was Battery Holmes.
These were the works which the government proposed to turn or assail after Farragut
had effectually closed the port of Mobile
, in August, 1864.
was then the only refuge for blockade-runners on the Atlantic
and Gulf coasts.
The National Government considered several plans for capturing and holding the city of Wilmington
. One, submitted by Frederic Kidder
, of Boston
, seemed most promising of success.
proposed to have a fleet of flat-bottomed steamers rendezvous at Beaufort
, fifty or sixty miles up the coast, on which should be placed about twelve thousand soldiers under a competent commander.
These were to be suddenly landed on the main at Masonboroa Inlet and marched directly upon Wilmington
At the same time a strong cavalry force should move rapidly from Newbern
, tear up the railway between Wilmington
and Goldsboroa, and, if possible, destroy the bridge over the Cape