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[429] the large magazine, and by traverses, behind which they stubbornly resisted our advance. Hand-to-hand fighting of the most desperate character ensued, the huge traverses of the land-face being used successively by the enemy as breastworks, over the tops of which the contending parties fired in each other's faces. Nine of these were carried one after the other by our men.

When Bell's brigade was ordered into action I foresaw that more troops would probably be needed, and sent an order for Abbott's brigade to move down from the north line, at the same time requesting Captain Breese to replace them with his sailors and marines. I also directed General Paine to send me one of the strongest regiments of his own division; these troops arrived at dusk and reported to General Ames. At six o'clock Abbott's brigade went into the fort; the regiment from Paine's division — the Twenty-seventh United states colored troops, Brevet Brigadier-General A. M. Blackman commanding — was brought up to the rear of the work, where it remained under fire for some time, and was then withdrawn. Until six o'clock the fire of the navy continued upon that portion of the work not occupied by us; after that time it was directed on the beach, to prevent the coming up of reinforcements, which it was thought might possibly be thrown over from the right bank of the river to Battery Buchanan. The fighting for the traverses continued till nearly nine o'clock, two more of them being carried; then a portion of Abbott's brigade drove the enemy from their last remaining strongholds, and the occupation of the work was completed.

The same brigade, with General Blackman's regiment, were immediately pushed down the Point to Battery Buchanan, whither many of the garrison had fled. On reaching the battery all of the enemy who had not been previously captured were made prisoners. Among them were Major-General Whiting, and Colonel Lamb, the commandant of the fort.

About four o'clock in the afternoon Hoke advanced against our north line, apparently with the design of attacking it; but if such was his intention he abandoned it after a skirmish with our pickets.

During the day Brevet Brigadier-General H. L. Abbott, Chief of Artillery, was busily engaged in landing artillery and ammunition, so that if the assault failed, siege operations might at once be commenced.

Consequent to the fall of Fisher, the enemy, during the nights of the sixteenth and seventeenth, blew up Fort Caswell, and abandoned both it and their very extensive works on Smith's island, at Smithville and Reeve's Point, thus placing in our hands all the works erected to defend the mouth of the Cape Fear river.

In all the works were found one hundred and sixty-nine pieces of artillery, nearly all of which are heavy; over two thousand stands of small arms; considerable quantities of commissary stores, and full supplies of ammunition. Our prisoners numbered one hundred and twelve commissioned officers and one thousand nine hundred and seventy-one enlisted men.

I have no words to do justice to the behavior of both officers and men on this occasion; all that men could do they did. Better soldiers never fought. Of General Ames I have already spoken in a letter recommending his promotion. He commanded all the troops engaged, and was constantly under fire. His great coolness, good judgment, and skill were never more conspicuous than on this assault. Brigadier-General Curtis and Colonels Pennypacker, Bell and Abbott--the brigade commanders — led them with the utmost gallantry. Curtis was wounded, after fighting in the front rank, rifle in hand; Pennypacker, while carrying the standard of one of the regiments, the first man in a charge over the traverse. Bell was mortally wounded near the palisades.

Brigadier-General Paine deserves high praise for the zeal and energy displayed by him in constructing our defensive line, a work absolutely essential to our success.

Brevet Brigadier-General Blackman deserves mention for the prompt manner in which he brought his regiment up to the work, and afterward followed up the retreating enemy.

To Brevet Brigadier-General C. B. Comstock, aid-de-camp on the staff of the Lieutenant-General, I am under the deepest obligations. At every step of our progress I received from him the most valuable assistance. For the final success of our part of the operations the country is more indebted to him than to me.

Colonel George S. Dodge, Chief Quartermaster of the Army of the James, accompanied me as Chief Quartermaster of the forces under my command. His able and energetic performance of his multifarious duties was all that could be wished for, and reflected the highest honor upon him.

Surgeon Norman S. Barnes, United States Volunteers, Medical Director, and Surgeon A. J. H. Buzzell, Third New Hampshire volunteers, Medical Inspector of the expedition, discharged their laborious duties on the field and in the hospital in a manner most creditable to their ability and humanity. I desire to express my high appreciation of the services of these officers.

I shall have the honor to submit a supplemental report in reference to those subordinate officers and enlisted men who distinguished themselves on the occasion.

I should signally fail to do my duty were I to omit to speak in terms of the highest admiration of the part borne by the navy in our operations. In all ranks, from Admiral Porter to his seamen, there was the utmost desire not only to do their proper work, but to facilitate in every possible manner the operations of the land forces. To him and to the untiring efforts of

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