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[347] arms all night, ready to move to the attack or towards the fort if the enemy did so. My knowledge of the ground was good, as I knew General Hoke's to be, both of us having been over it. I fully approved his dispositions. We stayed in our camp under the heavy shelling of the enemy's fleet for the night. No report of any movement having been made, we moved out early to reconnoitre, Hoke towards the fort and I to our left. I found the enemy in strong force in front of our left, as well as could be seen across the swamp. But to our great surprise Hoke found him extended beyond our right and entirely across the peninsula between us and Fort Fisher, and strongly entrenched, having, no doubt, been there most of the night. Not a word had been heard from our cavalry, and they had evidently withdrawn from their position in the night and did not themselves know what had occurred, for they fired on Hoke and his staff, who got in front of them in reconnoitring. On learning this I put the command in motion and ordered the enemy dislodged, if it was at at all practicable. General Hoke and his brigadiers made a close reconnoissance and expressed to me the opinion that their troops were unequal to the task. I moved forward with them and made a close examination, confirmed their opinion, and after a conference decided not to attack. An attack and failure would have ensured the fall of the fort and would also have opened the whole State. We could not have succeeded without defeating double our numbers behind entrenchments, whilst at the same time exposed to a raking fire from their fleet, plainly in sight and within good range, the sea as smooth as glass. But I did not feel the slightest apprehension for the fort. The enemy had landed without artillery and not even a general officer brought a horse. Prisoners captured and deserters coming in concurred in one report, that if repulsed once they would immediately retreat (re-embark) the work being considered too strong for them. Believing my-self that Grant's army could not storm and carry the fort, if it was defended, I felt perfect confidence that the enemy had assumed a most precarious position, from which he would escape with great difficulty. I accordingly ordered Hoke to entrench immediately in his front, and push his lines close on him, so as to keep him engaged and closely observed. Whilst this was going on I started one thousand of our best men, who had defended forts at Charleston, to reinforce Fisher, and, as I considered the garrison there already as sufficient, being 2,000 strong, I ordered about 600 less reliable troops to come out, considering it an unnecessary exposure of life to keep them there. This order, however, was rescinded on Whiting's appeal, and he was allowed to keep the

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