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[715] its chief magazine exploded; killing about 200 of our men, and wounding perhaps 100 more. It was sunk deeply in the earth in the center of the parade, and well protected from casualty, but not from carelessness, to which its destruction is generally attributed.

Gen. Schofield, whom we left1 at Clifton, on the Tennessee, under orders to embark his 23d corps ( Army of Tennessee ) for Eastport, Miss., while preparing to obey, received2 an order from Gen. Grant to report forthwith at Annapolis, Md.; whither he proceeded next day: moving by steamboats to Cincinnati, thence by rail to Alexandria, Va.; where he was for some time detained by the freezing of the Potomac: being thence dispatched by steamboats to the coast of North Carolina, landing3 near Fort Fisher. He found here Gen. Terry, with 8,000 men, holding his original line across the Peninsula, two miles above the fort, but too weak to advance: the Rebels, under Hoke, holding Fort Anderson, across Cape Fear river, with a line across the peninsula confronting ours; and Admiral Porter, with his great fleet, unable to force a passage up to Wilmington, in part because of the shallowness of the river. But Schofield's arrival raised our land force to not less than 20,000; and he at once pushed4 forward Terry, supported by Cox's division; driving in the enemy's pickets, and intrenching close to his line, so as to compel him to hold it in force. He now attempted, by the aid of navy boats and pontoons, to throw a heavy force to Hoke's rear by his left, or along the beach; but, being baffled by a storm, with high winds and sea, he determined to flank the enemy's rigit. To this end, Cox's and Ames's divisions were thrown across the Cape Fear to Smithville, where they were joined by Moore's brigade of Couch's division, just debarked, and directed to envelop Fort Anderson. The enemy, detecting this movement, hastily abandoned5 that fort and his lines facing ours, leaving to us 10 heavy guns and much ammunition, and fell back behind Town creek, where he had intrenched; and where he was assailed6 next day by Gen. Terry: Gen. Cox, crossing the creek in a flat-boat, striking him in flank and rear, and routing him; capturing 375 men and 2 guns. Cox now rebuilt the bridge which Hoke had burned, drew over his guns, and started next morning for Wilmington; crossing, on Rebel pontoons, the Brunswick to Eagle island; thence threatening to cross the Cape Fear above the city.

Gen. Terry, still on the peninsula, had hitherto been unable to advance over Hoke's defenses; but Cox's flanking menace was decisive. Hoke retreated; burning the steamers (including the privateers Chickamauga and Tallahassee), cotton, naval and military stores, &c., in Wilmington; and our army marched in unopposed next morning.7 Schofield's total loss in taking it had been about 200: the enemy's was not less than 1,000, beside 65 guns and much ammunition.

Schofield, lacking wagons and animals, was unable to pursue directly; but he had already dispatched 5,000 men to Morehead city to impel or strengthen an advance from

1 Jan. 8.

2 Jan. 14.

3 Feb. 9.

4 Feb. 11.

5 Feb. 19.

6 Feb. 20.

7 Feb. 22.

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