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[257]

The flagship “Malvern

In this vivid portrait group of Admiral Porter and his staff, taken in December, 1864, appear the men selected by him to aid in accomplishing the fall of Fort Fisher and the conclusion of the navy's most important remaining tasks in the war. At the extreme left stands the young and indomitable Lieutenant W. B. Cushing, fresh from his famous exploit of blowing up the Confederate ram “Albemarle” ; fifth from the left, with his arms folded, is Lieutenant-Commander K. R. Breese, another young officer scarcely less daring than Cushing and now Porter's flect-captain. Lieutenant-Commander Henry A. Adams, Jr., stands on Porter's right. A number of volunteer officers are in the group. Porter was ever quick to recognize the bravery of the volunteers and their value to the service. From the decks of the “Malvern” (shown below) were directed the final operations at sea of the North Atlantic squadron in the war. Fort Fisher by 1864 had become the most formidable line of works in the Confederacy, and it was evident to the navy that this position at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, North Carolina, would have to be reduced if blockade-running into Wilmington was to be broken up. The first attack on Fort Fisher, December 24-25, 1864, was unsuccessful, owing to an unfortunate division in military authority in which General Benjamin F. Butler played an overweening part. After the second attack, January 13-15th, Admiral Porter, from the deck of the “Malvern,” witnessed the gallant onslaught of General Terry's troops upon the land side of the fortifications, while 1,600 of his own sailors and 400 marines with pistol and cutlass tried to board the sea face. Amid the cheers of both army and navy, the news of the surrender of the garrison was received very soon afterward.

Picked men in the navy — Porter and his staff, December, 1864

The flagship “Malvern” at Norfolk


 

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