Hoke and took the command just at night on Friday.
Cavalry was on our extended right towards Fort Fisher, and occupying ground entirely to the sea, placing us between the enemy and the fort for observation.
These were to report any movement, and the troops lay upon their 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 staid in our camp under the heavy shelling of the enemy's fleet for the night.
How did he expect the enemy to move from under his shipping?
At night, however, the shipping could not cover him, and he did move towards the fort, but General Bragg
did not follow.
Cavalry on the beach at night to watch the enemy!
A reconnoissance that an officer could have made on foot within an hour.
To those familiar with the Carolina sea
coast at night, and how a man on horseback looms up like a dromedary in the desert, it will not be surprising that these horse-marines, not wishing to become targets for the Federal
sharpshooters, followed the example of General Bragg
and his army, and retired for the night.
The General proceeds:
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Not a word had been heard from our cavalry, and they had evidently withdrawn from their position in the night, and did not themselves know what had occurred, for they fired on Hoke and his staff, who got in front of them in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.
While General Bragg
and his army slumbered, the industrious Federals coolly and deliberately, after much marching and countermarching, chose a line about two miles from the fort, and by 8 o'clock the next morning had thrown up a line of entrenchments from the sea to the river.
, in his official report, says:
The first object which I had in view, after landing, was to throw a strong defensive line across the peninsula from Cape Fear river to the sea, facing Wilmington, so as to protect our rear from attack while we should be engaged in operating against Fisher. * * * Shortly before 5 o'clock, leaving Abbott's brigade to cover our stores, the troops were put in motion.
On arriving at it, the ‘pond’ was found to be a sand-flat, sometimes covered with water, giving no assistance to the