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Com'r Rhind, at 10 1/2 P. M. of the 23d; exploding her at 1 3/4 next morning, but to very little purpose — the miraculous power which gave efficacy to the assault with rams'-horns on Jericho not leaving been vouchsafed. Rhind and his crew did their work: following in (unperceived) a block-ader whose signals of amity were respected and answered by the fort. When all was ready, they escaped in a tender which had accompanied them on their perilous errand, and which, having attained a considerable distance, was scarcely harmed by the explosion. The fort and its defenders seem. to have been nowise disturbed by it--Col. Lamb supposing it to be merely the bursting. of one of the great guns of our fleet.

Porter had 33 war vessels, several of them iron-clad, beside a reserve of 17 small ones. At 11 1/2 A. M., he followed up the abortive explosion by an order to advance and bombard the fort: the Ironsides leading, closely followed by the Monadnock, Canonicus, Mahopac, Minnesota, and nearly all his larger ships; and so terrible was their concentrated fire that the fort was completely silenced by it in 75 minutes; having been set on fire in several places and two of its magazines exploded. The bombardment was continued till sun-set, when Gen. Butler arrived in his flagship; his transports being still absent. Corn. Porter now drew off for the night.

At 7 A. M. next day, the transports and troops having arrived, the bombardment was renewed, and was continued for seven hours: the Rebels responding for a while with two guns only. Some of our vessels drew off before the rest, because out of ammunition. The iron-clads were ordered to continue their fire throughout the night.

Our land forces had meantime commenced debarking, under the immediate command of Gen. Weitzel, who headed the first or reconnoitering party of 500 men; going himself to within 800 yards of the fort, pushing up a skirmish-line to within 150 yards, and capturing a little outwork called Flag-pond Hill battery, with 65 men.

Weitzel's observations convinced him that the work was exceedingly strong, and that its defensive power had not been essentially injured by Porter's fire. He soon returned, as directed, to Butler, and reported that it would be murder to assault such a fort with our 6,000 men. Butler, disappointed, now ran close up in his vessel, reconnoitered for himself, and reluctantly acquiesced in Weitzel's decision. Our men, of whom about half had been landed, were thereupon reembarked;1 and Gen. Butler returned with the land force to the James, leaving the fleet still off Wilmington.

Our loss in this bombardment was about fifty killed and wounded--nearly or quite all by the bursting of six of our heavy Parrott guns — the enemy inflicting no injury, because he could not work his guns under our fire. His loss was 3 killed and 55 wounded. Butler reports that we took 300 prisoners.

Grant was profoundly dissatisfied. In the first place, he had not intended that Gen. Butler should go, and had at length plainly intimated this; though, as Fort Fisher was in

1 Dec. 26-7.

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