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[361]

“Now for statements made by the enemy when meeting us under flag of truce. They assert that they walked into the fort without resistance, not a shot being fired at them, our men all being in the bomb-proofs; that after they got in a small force was rallied and fought them very gallantry, inflicting a heavy loss, but they soon overcame them and captured most of our officers and men, without arms, under cover of the bomb-proofs, and with the exception of Colonel Lamb, all the officers of any rank and many men were too drunk for duty.”

For General Bragg to repeat the slanders, circulated, we presume, by some gossiping subalterns, was adding insult to injury. My whole command which, previous to the attacks, had extended from New Inlet to Masonboroa, some twenty miles, had been noted for its sobriety. I had been sent to Fort Fisher to discipline the garrison against the temptations incident to blockade running. My first act on taking command, July 4, 1862, was to suspend an officer for being intoxicated, and I had him cashiered. The officers and men were not allowed the use of intoxicating liquors. I was among them all during both engagements, and I never saw them drink liquor, or show any evidence of its use. It is possible that some of the last reinforcements may have brought some with them, but I doubt it. Captain Munn, who was near me, and to whom I transferred the command of the force with me when I fell, was an officer of the strictest sobriety. As to the gallant Whiting and his staff, I desire once for all to repel the infamous charge that they indulged in liquor, or were under its influence while in Fort Fisher, and I beg all who know me, or who cherish the memory of that heroic officer, to denounce as false, upon my authority, this malicious slander.

When all of the heavy guns on the land face, save one, were disabled, I required a full detachment to stand by the remaining Columbiad, and ordered all the men belonging to the other batteries to remain in the galleries and bomb-proofs in their immediate rear, except so many sharp-shooters, who were to watch and annoy the enemy on shore, as could be measurably protected from the fire of the fleet by the heavy traverses. I also required a detachment to man the Napoleon in the rear of the left salient at all hazards, and the two Napoleons to be run out and used in front of the centry sally-port whenever the fire of the fleet rendered it practicable. I had placed the portions of the Twenty-first and Twenty-fifth South Carolina regiments, which reported just previous to the assault in a bomb-proof, about one hundred feet in the rear and to the left of the central sally-port. As soon as the enemy threw their sharpshooters forward, I manned the parapets with strong

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July 4th, 1862 AD (1)
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